School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

MSc Planning

Do you want to pursue a professional career in planning? As the UK’s newest planning school, our programme 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.

Duration
1 year
Course type
Full-time, Part-time route available
Location
Plymouth

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.
  • Deepen your understanding through our programme’s specialist options on urban coastal, marine planning, rural planning or sustainable transport issues.
  • 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 combined programme, 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: marine and coastal planning, rural planning and sustainable development. 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
    • PLG504 Development Management and Delivery

      This module evaluates the delivery of development through the planning system, with a focus on the development management system, planning law, urban design and development economics.

    • PLG503 Environmental knowledge: from field to stakeholder

      This module reviews research methods relevant to professional and academic investigations in the field of policy-making, planning, management and consultancy in the built and natural environments. It encompasses the complete lifecycle of research (design, planning, data collection, knowledge dissemination and application), including stakeholder engagement across these stages.

    • PLG501 Issues and Values in Planning Practice

      This module provides an understanding of the history and development of planning with a focus on the underlying theories and associated skills.

    • PLG502 Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development

      The purpose of this module is to provide a strategic understanding of the role of planning in delivering sustainable development and mitigating and adapting to the challenge of climate change.

    • PLG505 Urban Design: theories, methodologies and practice

      The aim of this module is to understand the way in which different qualities of the urban space affect how it is experienced and inhabited and how this understanding can be utilised in the formulation of urban design initiatives, place-making and planning policy at the wider urban scale.

    Optional modules
    • PLG508 Coastal Urban Regeneration

      This module examines planning processes in coastal settlement regeneration in a number of contrasting urban environments: namely coastal and market towns, seaside resorts and post-defence and port sites.

    • PLG510 Dissertation (full-time route)

      The dissertation project is an opportunity for candidates to undertake an original research investigation within the field of spatial planning. The topic must relate to their chosen specialist options. Students will be advised by an academic member of staff and are asked to submit a Master's thesis of up to 15,000 words.

    • PLG511 Dissertation (part-time route)

      The dissertation project is an opportunity for candidates to undertake an original research investigation within the field of spatial planning. The topic must relate to their chosen specialist options. Students will be advised by an academic member of staff and are asked to submit a Master¿s thesis of up to 15,000 words.

    • PLG509 Marine Planning

      This module evaluates the emergence and practice of marine planning in UK waters. It will explore the techniques available for developing marine plans and demonstrate the role which may be played by geographic information systems and other tools. Through lectures, field visits and case studies, it will also develop the learner¿s knowledge of the marine environment as required for marine planning.

    • PLG512 Minerals Planning

      This module examines the statutory minerals planning framework in the UK exploring the technical, economic, environmental and social factors involved in preparing Minerals Plans and decision-making processes involved in determining applications for the exploration, and winning and working of resources.

    • PLG506 Rural Planning

      This module examines rural planning, using theoretical perspectives from geography, sociology and planning. It considers how planning policies reflect and affect rural economy, environment and society. Rural governance and decision-making are critically evaluated. The module is supported with local, national and international examples.

    • PLG507 Sustainable Transport Governance: Policy and Practice

      In this module, a broad framework of understanding of how sustainable transport policy is translated into practice is introduced, and specific examples of sustainable transport policy and practice are analysed.

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, sociology or environmental science).

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 & funding

For all information about tuition fees, please visit our fees and funding pages.

International students

Scholarships are available for international students.

How to apply

Applying for postgraduate taught study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Postgraduate Admissions and Enquiries team are 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 have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

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

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

 

Applying for postgraduate research study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. The Graduate School are available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.  If  you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk

If you would like any further information please contact the Graduate School:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 587460

Email: graduateschool@plymouth.ac.uk


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

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Download prospectus

Applying for postgraduate study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Information team are on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. The Graduate School are also available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office.

If you would like to speak to one of our course information advisors, please contact us:

Telephone: +44 1752 585858

Email: prospectus@plymouth.ac.uk

Documents for downloading

Open days

A number of open day events are held each year, welcoming you to the campus to find out more about the University, accommodation, facilities and study opportunities.

Find out more from our open days section.

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 course was challenging, but varied and enjoyable. Completing it has given me more confidence in my employment. I will be recommending this course to colleagues.

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

Read more about our MSc Planning students

Professor Christopher Balch

Professor Balch is a chartered town planner and chartered surveyor with experience as a consultant in urban planning, regeneration and development. He has advised on policies and programmes and has worked on the planning and funding of major projects.

Professor Balch has developed strategies and plans for the transformation of underperforming places, including major cities and coastal towns.

Learn more about Professor Balch

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

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