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Sustainable Planning (MSc)

Course Description

About the course

The breadth of material covered in our MSc in Sustainable Planning gives students the skills they need in order to meet contemporary sustainability challenges in planning. Planning has a key role to play in improving the condition of life in our towns, cities and rural areas. Towns and cities themselves impact on global sustainability and can play a very influential role in tackling global environmental, social and economic problems. Equally, implementing sustainability principles within urban and rural areas is essential for the well-being of the local residents and improvement of the local environment. Creating more sustainable towns and cities will be central to the future of society and the planet. The planning system is so important because it provides one of the most sophisticated mechanisms for regulating environmental change. Recent policy changes have made planning in neighbourhoods and in communities even more important.

Increasingly planners are being required to facilitate the creation of more sustainable urban environments. This requires expertise and skills in a diverse range of disciplines and nationally there is a shortage of relevant skills. This course offers both personal opportunities for students to gain valuable skills that make them highly employable, and allows them to contribute to a much needed and fast changing professional area.

See the website http://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/sustainable-planning

Why choose this course?

This exciting new course is specifically aimed at people wishing to gain expertise in contemporary sustainability issues. It provides graduates with excellent career opportunities in planning, environmental management, urban design, community development, regeneration, transport management, climate change mitigation and other planning related careers.

The course is suitable for:
- Students who have work experience in planning or related discipline and require a postgraduate qualification and subsequent professional accreditation to develop their career further.

- New graduates starting their career in planning with a first degree in geography, environmental science, conservation, sociology, architecture and urban studies.

- Students from other disciplines who have developed an interest in planning from voluntary work, work experience or project work.

Key Features:

- A combination of stimulating academic study and strong career orientation

- Focus on the role of planning in addressing key sustainability concerns: climate change; urban sprawl; social cohesion; and demands for personal mobility

- Using the latest techniques including GIS; urban design tools and community design engagement techniques such as charettes

- Practical problem based approach to learning that uses real planning issues and case studies

- Flexibility of study based on a programme of short courses scheduled over two or three days at weekends

- UK field trips including visits to the start of town planning nearby at Letchworth and the first New Towns

- International study visit to look at European best practice in France and Germany.

This course is available both full and part-time. Full time study in Semester A takes 1 year. Full time study beginning in Semester B will take 15 months. Part time study options typically take two years but students are given a maximum of five years to complete.


When you graduate from this course you will have excellent career opportunities in planning, environmental management, urban design and urbanism, community development and regeneration, transport management, climate change mitigation and adaptation and other planning related careers - all with a special focus on maximizing your sustainability expertise. Prospective employers include: local government; private sector planning consultancies; specialist consultancies in environmental management, urban design, transport planning; public involvement bodies; national government agencies; third sector employers including charities with an urban and rural focus; and professional bodies.

Teaching methods

The MSc Sustainable Planning course structure is based on a series of two to three day short courses and tutorials that usually run Friday and Saturday, though some modules may require a Thursday as well.

For full time students the modules run approximately twice a month which means that you will be attending classes on four weekdays and two Saturdays.

Part-time students attend the MSc Sustainable Planning short courses over two years. This makes the course easy to attend and fit around a busy workload schedule.

The modules that you study include:
- Urban Design and Conservation
- Urban Regeneration
- Planning law, policy and practice
- Spatial Analysis for Planning
- Sustainable Communities and Environment
- Place-making and Spatial Mediation
- Spatial Planning: Theories and Strategies
- Travel Planning and energy management
- Transport Planning and Urban Mobility
- Spatial Planning: theories and strategies
- Transport Analysis for Planning
- Community Engagement and the Planning Process
- Planning for Rural Communities

Pathways through the MSc allow students to specialise in transport or aspects of environmental management such as water resources and environmental policy and governance.

All these modules can be studied individually as a stand-alone course for your personal development or CPD training, so please enquire for further details.

The course integrates a blended learning approach combining face-to-face teaching and tutorials with online learning materials, easy contact with tutors and online submission of assignments. It includes workshops, field work, class exercises, investigations and group work. The costs of UK and European field visits are included in the course fee.

All of the modules are assessed through coursework. The nature of the coursework will vary but will include experience in report writing, practical urban design work (no drawing or architecture background is required), oral presentations and negotiation skills.

Students also carry out an extended individual project. This is an opportunity to follow a particular interest in depth and do primary research. We encourage and support students to link with external organisations such as local government, voluntary sector organisations or planning consultancies to produce a piece of primary research that is both academically challenging and of practical benefit.

Find out how to apply here http://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/sustainable-planning#how-to-apply

Find information on Scholarships here http://www.herts.ac.uk/apply/fees-and-funding/scholarships/postgraduate

Visit the Sustainable Planning (MSc) page on the University of Hertfordshire website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An Honours degree or equivalent. Applicants with other qualifications and relevant experience will be considered individually by the programme tutor. If English is not your first language, you will need a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent.

Course Fees

UK/EU Students: Full time £5,770; International Students: Full time £12,000

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Recipient: University of Hertfordshire
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