This one-year full-time and two-year part-time MSc programme is the benchmark qualification for those wishing to enter the planning profession and is fully accredited by both the RTPI and RICS.
It takes a broad approach to the “traditional” field of city and regional or town and country planning. You will learn to integrate concerns across the board, including those of economy, climate change, and social need.
The emphasis is on developing a broad and flexible level of knowledge and understanding, enabling you to adapt to developing pressures during your career.
The course combines core planning education with the development of expertise in specialist areas. Our links with practitioners in both the private and public sectors ensures that the course remains at the cutting edge of practice.
The MSc provides full Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accreditation. The PGDip must be combined with a specialist MSc dissertation for this full accreditation.
- It is viewed as the first choice for planning training by a range of employers including local authorities, the Environment Agency and major planning consultancies.
- Frequent guest lectures from industry leaders give you the chance to make important contacts for your future career.
- Learn more about current developments from professionals and academics through our Planning seminar series.
- The department is based in the modern and well equipped Abercrombie building, part of an award-winning recent redevelopment of the campus.
- Access to top-of-the-range facilities including studios, IT suites and computer programs, as well as three libraries and 24/7 online databases which contain all the academic material you require to be successful in their postgraduate studies.
- Study in the world-famous student city of Oxford, a particularly fascinating place for those interested in cities, transport and sustainability.
The MSc in Spatial Planning is fully accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This means that on graduation you can complete the Assessment of Professional Competence programmes of these professional bodies and become a full member.
In order to attain full accreditation for both the RTPI and RICS, graduates must combine the Postgraduate Diploma in Spatial Planning with one of our specialist master's programmes. These include: an MSc in Environmental Assessment and Management, an MSc in Historic Conservation, an MSc in Urban Planning: Developing and Transitional Regions, or the MA in Urban Design.
Teaching and learning
Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Some modules include site visits and fieldwork.
Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, involving approximately 200 hours of personal study 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.
The MSc in Spatial Planning includes a compulsory overseas field trip that is part of the two semester 1 core modules. The field trip is designed to provide students with practical examples and experience of planning in another European country.
The trip usually takes place in mid-November and normally includes three to four nights away from the UK. In the past, this field trip has been to Barcelona, Amsterdam and Lyon. The teaching staff are constantly reviewing new destinations that can best contribute to students' overall planning education.
Other half or full-day field trips often form part of the individual programmes of specialist modules.
Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis. Each module involves approximately 200 hours of personal study and approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally delivered through three-hour teaching blocks over a 12-week period.
In recent years, teaching has been largely concentrated on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two modules taught on each day. Generally the first year of the part time course takes place on Thursdays, and the second year on Tuesdays, whilst the full time course has teaching on both these days.
How this course helps you develop
Our courses make much use of invited lectures from planning practice, allowing students to get a feel for the world of current nature of the planning and development industry. In addition the wide spread of backgrounds and current work positions among students on our courses gives access to much valuable experience within each planning cohort.
Not only is the MSc in Spatial Planning seen as the benchmark qualification for professional planners, it is also widely recognised as providing the transferable skills and critical knowledge necessary in many fields of work in the built and natural environment.
Local government is just one of very many career opportunities available to MSc in Spatial Planning graduates.
Today our alumni can be found in senior positions in some of the largest international planning and environmental consultancies, in government agencies, in large NGOs and campaigning organisations. They can also be found in similar positions in organisations across the globe.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are: - studying at a Brookes partner college - studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
With more than 600 students engaging a wide range of research topics in our undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree programmes, including Master's by research, the department is widely recognised as a leading educator in environment, design and development subjects.
With a complement of over 60 teaching, administrative, technical and research staff, the department performs a leading role in research and consultancy, with clients and projects covering subjects from local concerns to multinational organisations, government and industry.