MSc Planning / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

MSc Planning will provide you with the range of skills necessary for a career in urban or environmental planning.

The course is aimed at graduates seeking a career in planning and development, either in the public or private sector.

It will provide you with the core knowledge, competencies and skills necessary to apply after graduation to become a chartered planning and development professional and a member of both the RTPI and the RICS.

You will gain a thorough understanding of planning procedures, urban theories and spatial analysis. You will study the processes that frame planning projects, from project inception, site assessment and initial design through to the planning, implementation and scheme disposal.


You will:

  • tailor the course to your professional interests by choosing from numerous optional units;
  • develop specialist knowledge for a career in planning;
  • gain an international perspective of planning

Special features

  • Develop professional skills through project work, and specialist spatial analysis.
  • This course has normally included fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad, exploring real-life issues on one-day trips, site visits, and optional overseas residential visits. Past locations include Manchester, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Toronto, Amsterdam, Belfast, Seattle, Dublin and Istanbul.
  • Have the flexibility to mix discipline units or specialise and choose from a range of optional course units.
  • Study in Manchester, a city where rapid urban development presents a series of important environmental, social and economic challenges.

Teaching and learning

This course has normally included an optional field trip. Past locations include Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Belfast, Dublin, Seattle and Toronto.

Field trips may be scheduled at any point during the course, and this may include time during University vacations.

Part-time students

Part-time students complete the course over 24 months.

There are no evening or weekend course units available; you should, therefore, discuss course requirements with the Programme Director and seek approval from your employer.

Timetabling information is usually available from late August.

You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Important notice

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) recognises the value of fieldwork. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our priority. The School will assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any significant changes to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

The ability of fieldwork and travel to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork and travel might be necessary, will remain subject to factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover;
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

All fieldwork and travel will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.

In some circumstances, it may become necessary to make changes to fieldwork or programme related travel. The University will notify you of those changes at the earliest opportunity. If any fieldwork does not go ahead as planned, then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

Please note that Countries may change their immigration and visa regulations at short notice. The School cannot guarantee that where visas are required for fieldwork, they will be granted but we will take steps so that if a visa is refused, affected students are not academically disadvantaged.

Coursework and assessment

You are continuously assessed via a range of methods, including essays and report writing, topic papers and critical reviews, project portfolios, and assessed workshop presentations.

Formative feedback is provided through the courses both orally and in written form to help you develop further key skills.

A 15,000-word dissertation on an approved topic is discussed and chosen at the beginning of the second semester and a suitable supervisor allocated.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Planning Powers and Procedures PLAN60021 15 Mandatory
Urban Theory, Planning Theory and Professional Ethics PLAN60041 15 Mandatory
Dissertation [MSc Planning] PLAN60090 60 Mandatory
Land and Development PLAN60102 15 Mandatory
Digital Planning - Spatial and Policy Analysis PLAN60761 15 Mandatory
Infrastructure Planning PLAN60872 15 Mandatory
Professional Placement PLAN60070 15 Optional
Design for Healthy Places PLAN60111 15 Optional
Property Valuation PLAN60331 15 Optional
International Urban Design PLAN60491 15 Optional
Urban and Regional Policy PLAN60712 15 Optional
Urban Design Project PLAN60722 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN60771 15 Optional
Neighbourhood Planning Project PLAN60812 15 Optional
International Fieldtrip PLAN60832 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities PLAN60852 15 Optional
International Planning: Systems and Frameworks PLAN60861 15 Optional
Digital Planning - Decision Support Systems PLAN60962 15 Optional
Future Cities PLAN62011 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure: Principles, Policies and Practice 1 PLAN64001 15 Optional
Land Use and Transport Planning PLAN64061 15 Optional
Urban Development Planning in Cities of the South: an international perspective PLAN72061 15 Optional
Best practice case studies in urban development planning in cities in the South PLAN72072 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units

What our students say

Find out how our students feel about studying at The University of Manchester by visiting our student spotlights page.


You can develop your practical skills in our computer suites with specialist design and spatial analysis software.

For more information visit our Facilities webpage .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email