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MA Planning Built and Natural Environments

Course Description

Key Facts

The Agents of Environmental Planning module is designed and delivered by Natural England, in collaboration with Birmingham City University.

The module provides a valuable, practical insight into the work of a government organisation operating in the planning sector.
The planning profession needs flexible and adaptable individuals trained to deal with complex and messy planning challenges across built and natural environments.

The course is designed as a fast track to a professional qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Successful completion of this course will lead to Professional Membership after the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). You can enter this course without any formal qualification in planning.

Course Overview

The programme is interdisciplinary, combining economic, social and environmental perspectives to address spatial planning challenges and opportunities in a more joined-up manner.

Thus the programme focuses on both built and natural environment issues and the linkages and dependencies between them. Following a grounding in core spatial planning principles students can follow specialist pathways in planning law and environmental planning reflecting staff teaching and research strengths and crucially, the future needs of the planning profession.

Thus this course equips students with the knowledge, skills and tools to start fitting the disparate pieces of the built and natural environment jigsaw together in order to improve the ways in which we plan; develop policy and make decisions.

Course Structure

The course is vocational and applied within a robust academic framework. This provides you with future-proofed professional and practical skills required by the planning profession which are underpinned by intellectual, transferable and personal skills. These are developed and enhanced through the modules that comprise the course supported by staff tutors.

The ‘Agents of Environmental Planning’ module is designed and delivered by Natural England, in collaboration with Birmingham City University. The module provides a valuable, practical insight into the work of a government organisation operating in the planning sector.

Further Study

The University has a range of research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes, details can be found at: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/postgrad


Nearly all our graduates go into employment soon after completion of the course.

Those who are already in employment are normally seeking to advance their careers by achieving the MA.

Planning-related jobs can be both well paid and challenging. You could be employed in professional practice (e.g. in an individual firm of planning consultants), commercial organisations (e.g. house builders), local authorities or central government.

Visit the MA Planning Built and Natural Environments page on the Birmingham City University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Neil Edginton

2458.jpg Recognised in Insider Media’s ‘42 under 42’ list, and Property Week’s ‘Hot 50’ and ‘Who’s Who in Britain’, Neil has played an integral role shaping the skyline of Birmingham as part of the team behind such iconic developments as Fort Dunlop, The Mailbox and The Cube. He is also a Trustee for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and a guest speaker for the West Midlands Centre for Constructing Excellence (WMCCE).

Degree in Town Planning

A keen interest in property, the built environment and spatial planning – or how towns and cities work – led Neil to study Town Planning at what was then the University of Central England. Deciding his future lay in commercial property, he secured his first job with surveyors Silk & Frazier (now Faithful+Gould, part of the WS Atkins group of companies), but later returned to the University part-time to undertake a Master’s degree in Construction Project Management.

Mailbox Project

He was approached to work in-house for Birmingham Mailbox Limited in 2000, joining the board of directors in 2003. Neil then went on to lead the business’s joint venture with Urban Splash on the Fort Dunlop project, another city landmark which had been empty for more than 20 years and was subsequently redeveloped into offices, retail space and a hotel. In 2004 he was a founder, director and shareholder of Birmingham Development Company, the company behind The Cube, adjacent to The Mailbox in the city centre.
He went on to set up and subsequently lead the team’s in-house construction company in 2007, which at its peak employed over 500 people and turned over £1 million per week, to deliver the £86 million build for The Cube. Neil then started his own company, EDG Property – a development and consultancy firm – in 2010


Entry Requirements

Good Honours Degree

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