Urban Planning Courses

An urban planning degree focuses on land use and the social and economic challenges that can prevent areas of the UK from developing better places for their citizens to live. You will be equipped with knowledge that will help you to create a better environment via means of a sustainable economic development.

About Urban Planning

Types of Urban Planning Degree

An urban planning degree can be awarded as a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree due to the theoretical and practical aspects to the degree. If your course is heavily focused on design and creativity it will be awarded as a BA (Hons). Alternatively, if your course is focused on an academic and theoretical underpinning then it will be awarded as a BSc (Hons).

Urban planning degrees are very rare as a single degree in the UK and are mainly offered as a specialisation within an architecture degree. Some universities will allow students to study urban planning as part of a joint honours or double degree.

Where can I study Urban Planning?

In the UK students only have a choice of 10 universities that offer focused urban planning degrees. The top five institutions for an urban planning degree include:


Urban Planning at University of the West of England   University of the West of England, Bristol: The three year BSc (Hons) Urban Planning degree at the University of the West of England is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and has an excellent reputation for student satisfaction and graduate employability. Read More >>>
Urban Planning at Heriot Watt University   Heriot-Watt University: At Heriot-Watt University you can take a four year BSc (Hons) Urban Planning degree with a year in the industry to gain valuable real life experience. The course is accredited by both the RTPI and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Read More >>>
Urban Planning at UCL University College London: The urban planning course offered at University College London is a BSc (Hons) Urban Planning, Design and Management. This offers students the opportunity to study a broad range of topics within the built environment and specialise within their preferred area of urban planning. Read More >>>
Urban Planning at Newcastle University Newcastle University: Newcastle University offer the study of urban planning through their BA (Hons) Architecture and Urban Planning degree. This gives students the opportunity to explore key concepts of architecture whilst specialising within the discipline of urban planning. Read More >>>
Urban Planning at Cardiff University Cardiff University: At Cardiff University you can study a BSc (Hons) Urban Planning and Development degree over the course of four years with an integrated sandwich year placement. The course focuses on the social, economical and environmental challenges of urban planning. Read More >>>

Urban Planning Degree Structure

Like any academic degree program you will be required to undertake a range of modules throughout your three to four years of study. You will be taught through a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials and assessed through examinations and coursework.

You may encounter tasks that involve gathering data, planning research and presenting your findings. Most universities will also have good links within the urban planning industry which encourages students to get involved with live urban planning projects as part of their degree.

Topics Covered throughout an Urban Planning Degree

The exact topics covered in an urban planning degree depend upon the university, and each degree can be really varied. Some will be very design-focused, while others will be theory based. Some general modules that you can expect to study include:

  • History of Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • Introducing Planning Systems
  • Production of the Built Environment
  • Planning History
  • Urban Economies
  • Site Planning and Development
  • Developing Research Methods
  • Planning Theory and Practice

Your degree will be assessed in a number of ways, and you will be expected to participate in workshops and group work, while completing presentations and coursework. There will also be a dissertation in your final year.

Entry Requirements

Depending on the university that you are applying to the entry requirements may vary, however you will generally be expected to have gained the following qualifications:

  • A Level Grades: ABB - BBC
  • UCAS Points: 128 - 112

Whilst no specific subjects are required to have been taken at A Level, you will still be expected to have gained at least GCSE Grades A - C in both English language and mathematics.

You are advised to speak to the university that you are applying to for a full breakdown of their entry requirements.

Career Prospects

An urban planning degree prepares you for a career in development and planning.

Upon graduation, you can either seek full-time employment or go onto further education (or take a year out, of course!). A varied range of Master’s degrees are taught at postgraduate level, with examples including MA’s in:

  • Town Planning
  • Landscape Design
  • Country Planning
  • Architecture and Urbanism
  • Advanced Sustainable Urban Design

The undergraduate degree arms you with key transferable skills, including research, communication and teamwork, which you can use instantly if you decide to enter a career as soon as you graduate. Job areas within your domain will include:

  • Housing Officer
  • Conservation
  • Transport Planning
  • Civil Service
  • Facilities Management

As urban planning is considered as a subject that is related to architecture, town planning was one of the most employable degree in 2016. The destination of leavers from higher education survey reported that 90% of graduates were placed in further education or full time employment within 6 months of completing their degree, with an average salary of £22,500. You can find out more about the most employable degrees with our article: Top 10 Most Employable Degrees

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