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Town Planning (MA/PGDip)

Course Description

At the centre of towns and cities regeneration, it is the duty of planners to take into account the views of business and local communities. It is a broad area of work that can require many different skills and others the option of specialisation – be it protecting the historical environment or urban design.

PgDip/MA Town Planning programmes are accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute. The courses enhance student's employability in planning, property development and research roles in the public and private sectors. This is through focusing not only on the planning system but on broader themes that influence the economic, environmental and social contexts in which we live.

The course enables you to study an area of spatial planning in some depth as many of modules are within a specialist area (urban design, urban regeneration or environmental planning).


It includes a compulsory one week residential European field study visit, recent destinations have been Venice and Germany. For all new entrants field study visit fees are included in the tuition fees.

Town Planning PgDip

You can also choose to study the PgDip for six modules; Full-time (10 months) or part-time (15 months).

See the website http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/town-planning-ma


Year 1:
- Planning history and theory
This module examines the history of planning and the evolution of the theories and ideas that have underpinned the various attempts to intervene in the natural and built environment through the institution of state-led planning systems. It stresses the concept of theory as understanding, the interlinked nature of history and theory and the importance for the development of planning practice.

- Sustainable places (with EU field study visit)
This module examines sustainability issues and challenges and the initiatives and responses from spatial planning and related agencies, institutions and organisations in the context of a European field study visit. The module will provide you with a detailed knowledge and understanding of the different forces at work within a region or city context. You'll develop your understanding of sustainability issues and the impact of climate change; recognise the processes of change and identify issues and mechanisms that allow an area to develop to fulfil its potential as well as respond to environmental and related challenges.

- Planning in London
You'll examine the planning context of London as a World City, as a centre for financial industries and as a home to millions of people. You'll find it particularly useful as an introduction to town planning in the UK and for understanding how a major city functions.

- Planning practice project
You'll have the opportunity to develop an individual project based on your chosen specialist area of study. The project must link together both theoretical and practice debates within the area of specialism (where required) and must be practice focused. You'll be able to relate the subject content contained in the specialist area of study to practical problems that may be encountered in a work situation. You'll be encouraged to explore the links between planning education and practice through a particular practice relevant project. In addition, the module will prepare you for your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

- Elective
Students are required to take an elective module, on offer from the Masters Level modules within the Department. This may be an additional specialism module if desired.

Plus one specialist option from:
- Urban design project (urban design specialism)
This project based module provides you with the opportunity to extend and develop your urban design skills in a practical context in relation to the planning process and the urban context for design. You'll also review theories and approaches to urban design in the context of real projects and places in use as well as your own work. Whenever possible the module will be linked to 'live' projects and areas and cases of current interest.

- Urban regeneration strategies and projects (urban regeneration specialism)
The module focuses on contemporary regeneration practice, which in recent years has taken place within an increasingly competitive context including declining public finance. This will be explored in the context of a specific 'major' project and the regeneration strategy that provides a framework for development in the wider area.

- Environment and resource management, or, Transport, society and planning (environment specialism)
You'll focus on a number of key themes in the context of environmental management and planning, and explore them in the context of current policy, law and practice. You'll also be introduced to environmental assessment, sustainability appraisal and environmental management techniques and processes.

Plus the Dissertation (MA only)
Part-time taught one day per week, with one or two modules being taught in each semester.

X6 modules = PgDip
X6 modules + dissertation = Masters


- Town Planner as a career
Currently there is a national shortage of qualified town and environmental planners in the UK so the demand for our postgraduate courses is particularly high.

The natural career path for graduates is to work as a town planner – this can be for a local authority, as private consultants or for planning government agencies.

- Role and responsibilities
General activities for town planners range from developing creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties, to writing often complex reports which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations, to conducting research and analysis to help determine strategic developments.

Most jobs will be largely office-based, but visits to meet clients and attend external meetings are not uncommon. There are opportunities available throughout the country, as every local authority employs planners.

- Career progression
Graduates from the programme will emerge with a range of knowledge and skills of value to potential employers and to career progression opportunities. Employment prospects are excellent with demand exceeding supply. Successful planning students are likely to find jobs with local authorities, private consultants in property and planning government agencies.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

- direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
- Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
- mentoring and work shadowing schemes.

Teaching and learning

Study hours:
Year one class contact time for full-time students is typically 9 hours per week supplemented by study visits, tutorials and independent study.

Brief assessment outline:
Modules are assessed by a range of coursework, design and practice-based projects, presentations and a dissertation. There are no exams on this programme.

Visit the Town Planning (MA/PGDip) page on the London South Bank University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

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