PhD Planning, Property and Environmental Management / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

Programme description

PhD Planning, Property and Environmental Management provides a vibrant and nurturing research environment for those who are interested in pursuing research in:

  • urban and regional planning;
  • future cities and data analysis;
  • environmental planning and management;
  • environmental impact assessment;
  • green infrastructure, urban design and regeneration;
  • housing and property development.

Our planning, property and environmental management research focuses primarily around the making of future cities - embracing issues such as spatial analysis, urban governance and sustainability.

We aspire to create better cities by critically analysing and helping shape better policies for promoting equitable and sustainable cities for future generations.

Our research focuses on the UK, Europe and other international arenas such as China and Latin America.

Staff members and research students are also active in engaging with the  Manchester Urban Institute , particularly via the  Spatial Policy and Analysis Laboratory , and the Global Urban Futures .

Postgraduate research students are regarded as an integral part of our research culture, and we recruit high-calibre students from all over the world to join our diverse, multidisciplinary, and international team.

Special features

Manchester is a city where planning has been taught and researched for more than 50 years, and urban development and environmental impacts are right on your doorstep.

We have one of the longest established and largest professionally recognised planning departments in the UK.

Our research addresses the urgent challenges that cities face.

Over recent years we have broadened our work beyond Planning, Property and Environmental Management, towards the themes of real estate and urban design.

Planning, Property and Environmental Management is part of the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the disciplines of Architecture, Education, Geography, International Development, and Planning, Property and Environmental Management.

What unites us is a shared commitment to highlight and address the uneven relationships between societies, economies and the environment.

We want to understand better the world in which we live, and to offer solutions to the problems within it.

We acknowledge that a complex and interconnected world presents many challenges for analysts, but researchers in SEED are pioneering new evidence, measures, concepts and theories in order to address these challenges in practice.

SEED's world-leading research is rooted in everyday life but international in relevance and scope, addressing social, economic and environmental concerns across the globe.

Our PhD and professional doctorate research community, grouped around a range of dynamic centres and themes, is central to the SEED research agenda across all our disciplines.

Additional programme information

Humanities Doctoral Academy

Our Humanities Doctoral Academy combines the strengths of our four schools to bring expertise, knowledge, support and high-quality services for postgraduate researchers.

We are a community of academic leaders and postgraduate researchers across all levels in the Faculty of Humanities. The Doctoral Academy Hub houses our specialist professional service teams who support postgraduate researchers throughout the programme journey. This includes admissions, registration, student experience, progression, examination, and graduation. We collaborate closely with other University directorates including Manchester Doctoral College, Researcher Development team, and the corresponding Doctoral Academies in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. Together we provide the best experience and support for your studies and research.


Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities.

We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Teaching and learning

We provide excellent doctoral research training on research methodology and substantive content.

Based on an individual skills audit, you may take course units on planning theory, research design process, and quantitative and qualitative methodologies, together with course units that support your specific research specialism.

Our students are proactive in an interdisciplinary forum where PhD students share their work and hosting their own PhD seminar series as well as participating in the department's own academic seminars.

PhD students also can work as Teaching Assistants, following a training session accredited by the Higher Education Academy.

When you become a postgraduate researcher, you'll join a diverse and vibrant community of doctoral students from nearly 100 different countries, all studying within the Faculty of Humanities.

You'll be assigned to a specific research grouping that complements your research interests and have access to a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes.

Our working environments are often spacious and open plan, giving you plenty of opportunities to communicate with colleagues and staff within the School, and you will have your own desk space as well as access to our fantastic range of libraries on campus.

All our academic supervisors are research active and will support you to work on challenging research problems and develop rigorous, creative and original research.

You can expect to meet with your supervisor at least once a month to discuss progress on your project.

You will have access to a large and diverse community of internationally recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development. We provide additional financial support for several activities related to your PhD, including:

  • presenting at international conferences;
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.

REF 2021

In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) Architecture was assessed as part of The University of Manchester's 'Architecture, built environment and planning' submission.

The University of Manchester was ranked in the top 5 in the UK in terms (by grade point average) among the 38 departments assessed under Unit of Assessment 13.

93% of our research was judged to be in the highest two categories (4*) 'world-leading' or (3*) 'internationally excellent'.

Our research environment was also judged to be strong, with 100% judged to be (4*) 'world-leading' or (3*) 'internationally excellent'.

Find out more about our Planning, Property, and Environmental Management research at Manchester.

What our students say

Discover what it's really like to conduct postgraduate research at The University of Manchester on our student spotlights page.

Find out more about what it's like to undertake a postgraduate research degree at Manchester on our Humanities PGR blog


You can develop your practical skills in our project studio, model-making workshop, and computer suites with specialist design and spatial analysis software.

For more information, see Facilities.

The University of Manchester Library

Manchester is home to one of the UK's five National Research Libraries - one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK and widely recognised as one of the world's greatest research libraries.

Find out more about libraries and study spaces for postgraduate research students at Manchester. 

Disability support

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

For more information, email: