School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

MSc Planning

Do you want to pursue a professional career in planning? Our fully accredited postgraduate pathway has been designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing the formulation and delivery of spatial planning policy across the built and natural environments. You will be prepared to develop or enhance a career as a chartered town planner in a rapidly changing world. Choose to take this programme either full-time over one year or part-time over two years.

Key features

  • Develop broad-based, multidisciplinary and cross-professional approaches to place making and the planning and management of the built and physical environment for sustainable development.
  • Explore planning issues of particular relevance to South West England, set within the context of national and international experience.
  • Expand your skills through applied and experiential learning, including fieldwork, practicals, case studies, role play, debates and engagement with professional practitioners.
  • Benefit from a supportive learning environment with an emphasis on small-group teaching and high levels of staff-student interaction.
  • Fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
  • Develop the key skills and professionalism to prepare you for an effective contribution to the workplace, including lifelong learning and preparation for the RTPI’s Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Develop a comprehensive knowledge of planning, enabling critical evaluation of evidence from a range of perspectives related to the natural and built environment. As an RTPI fully accredited postgraduate pathway, core modules cover the general foundation of spatial planning (including urban design), and specialisms reflect planning issues relevant to South West England and existing strengths within the University. Our programme will enable you to develop a professional career in planning in the public, private or voluntary sector. We offer a supportive learning environment with small-group teaching and extensive interaction with our staff, emphasising the critical skills necessary for professional effectiveness in planning-related careers.
    Core modules

    • PLG501: Issues and Values in Planning Practice
    • PLG502: Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development
    • PLG503: Environmental knowledge: from field to stakeholder
    • PLG504: Development Management and Delivery
    • PLG505: Urban Design: theories, methodologies and practice

    Plus one specialism module. Your dissertation will also need to be in the subject area of this specialism module.

    • PLG510: Dissertation (full-time route)
    • PLG511: Dissertation (part-time route)

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MScPlanning Programme Specification September 2019 4023

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

UK / EU

You require the minimum of a second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (planning, geography, architecture, engineering, sociology or environmental science). Other subject areas considered.

If you have no formal qualifications, but do have relevant work experience, you may still be considered and are encouraged to enquire about your suitability.

INTERNATIONAL

If you are an overseas applicant, you can check the comparability of your qualifications with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements.

If your first language is not English, then evidence of English proficiency is required. The level of proficiency that is required can vary with the type of programme for which you are applying. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

Part-time students 

The programme is also offered as a part-time route over 2.5 years (although students in receipt of a postgraduate loan from the Student Loan Company will be required to complete within two years).

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Future Planners Bursaries 

MSc Planning at the University of Plymouth has one Royal Town Planning Institute Future Planners Bursaries worth £2,000 for students on the programme in 2018-19.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has created these bursaries for enrolled students on accredited university planning masters programmes. The University of Plymouth has been awarded one of these bursaries (worth £2,000 each). For further details, please see the RTPI website. Details of the Plymouth Future Planner bursary will be announced for enrolled students during induction week.

News

Students visited staff at the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point to witness progress with the design and construction of the new town at Cranbrook on the outskirts of Exeter.

The development is part of three urban extensions planned for Exeter to bring growth to the east of the city.

Read more of our news highlights

Tammy Burden - MSc Planning

I received fantastic support from all of the staff whilst undertaking MSc Planning. The programme was challenging, but varied and enjoyable. Completing it has given me more confidence in my employment. I will be recommending this programme to colleagues.

Tammy Burden, Development Officer, Planning, Housing & Regeneration, Cornwall Council.

Read more about our MSc Planning students

Staff profiles

Dr Stephen Essex

Dr Stephen Essex’s research has included the formulation and effectiveness of planning policy, the planning and implementation of mega events such as the Olympic Games, and the role of local authorities in sustainable tourism. Dr Essex is Associate Professor (Reader) in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences and a researcher in urban and rural planning.
Learn more about Dr Essex

Dr Olivia Wilson

Dr Olivia Wilson is a lecturer on the MSc Planning programme. She brings 13 years of practitioner experience as a planner at Plymouth City Council, together with 13 years of teaching experience in higher education at De Montfort, Kingston and Otago Universities. Her specialisms are in policy and development management, especially in relation to coastal urban regeneration and rural planning.

Find out more about Dr Olivia Wilson

Research

Our research activities encompass a broad range of work in physical and human geography. There is a substantial postgraduate community, and a lively and active research culture. All our research is underpinned by excellent facilities and support staff.

Research is organised around six themes which make up the Centre for Research in Environment and Society (CeRES).

Learn more about CeRES

People