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MSc/PGDip/PGCert Urban Planning: Developing and Transitional Regions

Course content

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) accredited

The MSc in Urban Planning: Developing and Transitional Regions is concerned with the theory and practice of urban planning in societies undergoing rapid economic, social, technological, environmental and spatial change.

The emphasis of the course is on institutional aspects of planning and management interventions in the urban sector and the scope of various policy instruments and planning modes to manage the emerging spatial patterns, impacts and processes of urban growth.

The MSc is RICS- and RTPI-accredited.

Why choose this course?

  • It is a fully accredited RTPI and RICS course which is viewed as the first choice for urban and development planning training by a range of employers throughout the world - especially governments, local authorities, development and planning consultancies.
  • Benefit from the success of our courses in delivering highly skilled professionals. Our graduates get employment in the private and public sector, international development institutions, NGOs, research institutions and consultancy.
  • Engage with and benefit from teaching staff who are active in research and practice; drawn primarily from the Department of Planning but with some contributions from the wider university community. In REF 2014 69% of our research was rated as either world leading or internationally excellent.
  • Visiting speakers from business and industry, local government, and consultancies and research bodies provide a major contribution to the teaching programme.
  • Study in our newly redeveloped Headington campus, ultra modern spaces and facilities in Abercrombie building and John Henry Brookes building; access to top of the range studios, IT suites and computer programs, library and 24/7 online databases.
  • As well as being one of the world's most famous centres for learning, Oxford is a city with a great urban heritage and is within easy reach of London and other urban centres. Its excellent transport links make it a convenient place to take up a day release part-time course.

Professional accreditation

The MSc Urban Planning: Developing and Transitional Regions is fully accredited by:

  • the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
  • the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This means that on successful completion of the MSc, graduates can register for the Assessment of Professional Competence procedures of RICS and RTPI and work towards becoming full members.

This course in detail

The course is offered as a master's degree (MSc), a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) or a postgraduate certificate (PGCert).

The MSc course is based on the completion of the following compulsory modules, plus elective specialisations and a 15,000-word master's dissertation.

As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown below.

Compulsory element (indicative modules):

  • Development and Urbanisation 
  • Urban Land Policy and Urban Management 
  • Globalisation: Environment and Development
  • Urban Policy in Practice: Programme and Project Implementation 
  • Research Methods 

MSc students are offered choice and flexibility in terms of specialist elective modules, of which two must be chosen from the following indicative list:

  • Armed Conflict and International Humanitarianism
  • Principles of Environmental Assessment
  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Designing the City
  • World of Refugees
  • International Transport Planning
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • GIS and Environmental Modeling
  • Designing the Neighbourhood
  • Global Institutions
  • Delivering Sustainable Futures
  • Destination and Event Development
  • Statistical Research Using SPSS
  • Independent Study.

Please note that not all electives may be available in any given year.

The PGDip course is based on the completion of the following compulsory modules as in the MSc programme:

  • Development and Urbanisation
  • Urban Land Policy and Urban Management
  • Globalisation: Environment and Development
  • Urban Policy in Practice: Programme and Project Implementation.

A similar choice of two elective modules from the same options as the MSc course is required.

The PGCert is based on the completion of the following compulsory modules as in the MSc course:

  • Development and Urbanisation
  • Urban Land Policy and Urban Management or Independent Study
  • Globalisation: Environment and Development or Independent Study.

Teaching and learning

Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Some modules include site visits and fieldwork, which provide you with direct experience of practical and current issues.

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each module involving approximately 200 hours of student input and approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally delivered through three-hour teaching blocks over a 12-week period.

Approach to assessment

Each course module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written or design work, and to some extent on verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, formal written examinations, in-class tests, project work, design and verbal presentations, workshops, simulations and practical exercises.

Field trips

Field trips include an international field trip to Europe in the autumn plus a range of national and local site and institutional visits especially to London throughout the academic year. Please note that the cost of field trips is not included in the course fees.


Visit the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Urban Planning: Developing and Transitional Regions page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

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