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Course content

The Certificate is an access route to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)-accredited MSc in Spatial Planning course.

This certificate provides an access route to the Department of Planning's RTPI and RICS-accredited MSc in Spatial Planning for students who do not have the usual educational qualifications necessary for entry onto the course.

It is a one-year part-time (one day per week) undergraduate-level course.

The overall aims and objectives of the course are to provide you with a general, yet critical, understanding of the planning process and some of the key issues and themes in contemporary spatial planning.

Why choose this course?

  • Oxford Brookes' Department of Planning performs a leading role in research and consultancy, with clients and projects covering subjects from local concerns to multinational organisations, government and industry. 
  • Our research feeds directly into the teaching of the Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies and the department's students have the opportunity to learn directly from the most current areas of practice.
  • The Certificate in Spatial Planning studies is a part time course and Oxford, with its excellent transport links to all regions of the UK, is a particularly convenient place to study for part-time students on day release from work.

Professional accreditation

The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies provides an entry qualification for the MSc in Spatial Planning which is accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This means that following graduation from the MSc in Spatial Planning and the RTPI and RICS Assessment of Profession Competence requirements, graduates can become full members of both professional bodies.

This course in detail

The course comprises four modules.

In Semester 1 you would complete Introduction to Spatial Planning and Transport and Society.

In Semester 2 you would complete Environmental Sustainability and an Independent Study in Planning.

These modules have been carefully chosen to provide a balance of basic and advanced modules, and to offer you the opportunity to study basic themes in spatial planning as well as some specific areas such as transport and community planning.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from the ones shown here

Introduction to Spatial Planning provides an overall introduction to the discipline of planning. In the course you learn the main purposes of land use planning in general and the characteristics of the UK planning system in particular. The module provides the overall context and overall framework in which planning takes place.

Transport and Society is an opportunity to study this key issue in contemporary planning and provides students with a critical understanding of the economic, social and political contribution of transport in the UK and Europe. The module explores the development of transport policy from a historical perspective and explores the concept of accessibility and the importance of travel behaviour.

Environmental Sustainability explores the key planning function of facilitating sustainable development. The module introduces students to the concept of sustainable development, and examines how issues of sustainability affect the UK's built and natural environment through arrangements for infrastructure and resource use.

Independent Study in Planning allows you to research and report on an area of planning that is of most interest to you. Through directed research and study you will produce an extended essay or report that will deal in depth with the chosen topic. The detailed content and focus of this work will be agreed in advance with a personal supervisor. The Independent Study in Planning allows you to develop skills in independent learning in preparation for similar work that you will be doing on the MSc in Spatial Planning course.

In order to progress to the MSc Spatial Planning course you are required to complete these four undergraduate modules at a standard of 50 per cent pass mark (the normal undergraduate pass grade is 40 per cent).

Students will also need to cover the costs of printing for submissions and presentations associated with assessment.

Teaching and learning

Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. 

Oxford Brookes' courses are broken down into equal-sized units of study called modules, self-contained in teaching, learning and assessment. 

The course is made up of four single-credit modules. Each requires about 150 hours of study over the 15 weeks - including around 36 hours of staff contact time. Formal teaching takes place over the first 12 weeks, with the last weeks available for examinations if these are part of the module assessment.

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

Some modules may have Field Trips (day or half day) associated with them. Where these form a compulsory element of the module the transport costs are included in the Fee.


Visit the PGCert Spatial Planning page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

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