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MSc Urban and Rural Planning

Course Description

Urban and rural planning plays an important role in society, and affects the way we all live. Its main concern is with managing acceptable and sustainable environmental change in a constantly changing world, and being at the forefront of shaping that world for future generations.

Key benefits

This course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the UK's leading planning body and the largest planning institute in Europe. Taken with a minimum of two years' relevant experience and the RTPI's Assessment of Professional Competence, it provides the basis for election to RTPI membership, and the title 'Chartered Town Planner'.

Course detail

The MSc Urban and Rural Planning is led by UWE Bristol and delivered by a group of four UK planning Schools and the Open University. The four planning schools are:

• Department of Geography and Environmental Management, UWE
• Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology, Leeds Beckett University
• Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, London South Bank University
• School of the Environment, Dundee University

This course has the full support of the Open University, which provides a series of options for a 30-credit specialism in the final year of study.

We welcome applications from graduates with a relevant undergraduate degree, students with a degree in an unrelated area and non-graduates. Please see entry criteria for full details.

Completing the course successfully leads to the RTPI-recognised MSc in Urban and Rural Planning, awarded by UWE. Completing a structured programme of planning experience followed by RTPI's Assessment of Professional Competence leads to full RTPI membership.


• Context and law
• Local planning Strategic planning
• Urban and sustainable design principles
• International planning
• Implementation and management
• Research techniques
• Integrated planning project
• Open University specialism option module
• Dissertation


As you learn, you not only study, but also receive vital professional experience logged by the RTPI towards your accreditation. This course presents a unique approach to professional planning education through the flexibility of how and when you study, and at what pace. You will receive web-based study support and guidance throughout.

Course materials, announcements, messages and links to other published resources are available online at our virtual learning platforms, Blackboard and Piazza so you'll need internet access to study the course. When you enrol, you receive your username and password.

It's not possible to cover everything you need to learn online, so there is some additional reading. In each of your three years of study there's an optional field trip that provides valuable opportunities for networking, group work, face-to-face learning and practical work, and provides an opportunity to meet your teaching team.


We encourage volunteer work during your studies, support students who wish to take gap years in employment, and work with consultants and expert speakers to give industry insights throughout the course.


Assessment is through a variety of coursework and the dissertation.

Careers / Further study

The course leads to practice as a Chartered Urban and Rural Planner. It also provides a broader environmental education for graduates from other disciplines. Studying the Open University specialism can help you progress towards a variety of Master's-level qualifications. Career options include joining planning companies or consultancies, working for local government, charities, housing companies or house builders or you could take a role with a pressure group or in economic regeneration, conservation or heritage, or even go into property development yourself.

How to apply

Information on applications can be found at the following link: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/study/applyingtouwebristol/postgraduateapplications.aspx


- New Postgraduate Master's loans for 2016/17 academic year –

The government are introducing a master’s loan scheme, whereby master’s students under 60 can access a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards the cost of their study. This is part of the government’s long-term commitment to enhance support for postgraduate study.

Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

More information can be found here: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/feesandfunding/fundingandscholarships/postgraduatefunding.aspx

Visit the MSc Urban and Rural Planning page on the University of the West of England, Bristol website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

Open to graduates and non-graduates, the MSc course can also be used to top up a PG Diploma to a full Masters course. As an alternative to the MSc, you can also chose to instead exit with a PG Certificate after year one or a PG Diploma after year two if you do not need the MSc qualification or the full RTPI accreditation that this carries.

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