MPlan Planning with Professional Placement / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

MPlan Master of Planning with Professional Placement is a five-year enhanced undergraduate degree, which gives you real-world experience and key employability skills, and is accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The curriculum of Years 1, 3 and 4 are the same as our BSc Planning and Real Estate, in which you will consider the issues faced by professionals in dealing with the planning, development and management of all aspects of our built and natural environments. 

In the third year of study, you will embark on a paid work placement with an organisation engaged with planning, environment, urban design and/or real estate to apply the conceptual, digital and communication skills you practice.  

The fifth year of study is at taught master's level and provides professional training in planning.  

However, if you change your mind about your future career, you can choose to exit the MPlan after four years and graduate instead with a BSc Planning and Real Estate degree. 

Effective planning, development and management of our towns, cities and natural environment is crucial in an age when governments and societies all over the world are struggling to deliver sustainable development.  

Big data, real estate finance, spatial analysis, policy formation, environmental sustainability and public engagement are all key to this process and form the core principles of the programme.  

Understanding and engaging with the problems facing the communities and places in which we live, work and play is at the heart of what we do in the Department of Planning and Environmental Management at The University of Manchester. 

The Master of Planning (MPlan) satisfies the spatial planning curricula for initial qualification with the RTPI and the RICS Planning and Development pathway. 

Manchester is a great place to study planning.  

It is a major UK city undergoing rapid urban change, which provides an ideal base for exploring urban development pressures and how these shape economic, social and environmental futures.  

Developing an appreciation of the interaction of people, the economy, and the politics of development are central to this process and your studies in Manchester.

The city is also ideally placed for you to learn about a wide variety of rural environments which have interesting implications, including three spectacular National Parks, areas of intensive farming and impressive coastlines. 

Special features

Portugal field trip


This course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) - meaning you'll be well set-up for a professional career in planning or real estate after you graduate. 

International fieldwork   

Take part in international fieldwork in Portugal or another European country during your second year, where you can put what you've learnt so far into practice. 

Local fieldwork   

Conduct fieldwork on a local scale, exploring the city of Manchester - and its surrounding areas - to supplement your studies and assessments. 

Year in practice   

Spend 12 months working within the dynamic world of planning, environment, urban design and real estate putting into practice the skills you learn on the degree helping you to gain your professional accreditation.

Teaching and learning

We combine traditional lecture-based teaching with tutorials, seminars and workshop sessions. 

Practical subjects, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Photoshop and SketchUp - as well as general computer skills - are taught primarily in the Humanities computer suites.  

This work is accompanied by group work and the occasional lecture session, giving you an overall hands-on learning experience. 

Project-based learning, incorporating studio-based design work, field research and study visits are integral to our MPlan course.  

These projects provide an excellent opportunity for you to integrate your knowledge and skills and apply them to real situations - exposing you to professional practice.

Coursework and assessment

We place strong emphasis on coursework and continuous assessment, and less than half of your total assessments throughout the course consist of formal written examinations in traditional essay formats. 

Coursework takes a variety of forms - from essays and reports, to posters, oral presentations, team promotions, and project demonstrations (sometimes to practising professionals).  

Your dissertation, which takes place in the fourth year, will draw together the different strands of the course and allow you to study a subject that really interests you.  

You will work with an individual supervisor to conceive, plan, execute and write up an independent and novel piece of research.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 is a broad introduction to the fundamentals of planning.

Course units for year 1

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
Designing Sustainable Futures PLAN10031 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Planning and Development PLAN10041 20 Mandatory
Applied Project PLAN10092 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Real Estate PLAN10201 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Urban and Environmental Economics PLAN10352 20 Mandatory
Rural Planning PLAN10362 10 Optional
Leases & Letting PLAN10382 10 Optional

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, you will begin to specialise.

You will spend time on fieldwork in Portugal (or equivalent) and can also apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, the US, South East Asia and Australia.

Course units for year 2

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
Sustainable Development Project PLAN20072 20 Mandatory
Environment and Development Fieldtrip PLAN20172 20 Mandatory
Plan Making & the Development Process PLAN20181 20 Mandatory
Valuation & Appraisal PLAN21012 20 Mandatory
Professional Placement PLAN20090 20 Optional
Policy for Cities and Regions PLAN20381 20 Optional
Environmental Policies and Designations PLAN20401 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

In Year 3, you will undertake a 12-month paid work placement. 

You will work in a planning, environment, urban design and/or real estate organisation to gain experience of applying the conceptual, digital and communication skills you have learned in real-world situations.  

Placements in Year 3 can only be undertaken with UK-based organisations. 

Students will research potential employers with the support of Planning staff.  

To facilitate securing a placement, staff will utilise our database of existing contacts in local and national organisations.

However, there will be an expectation that students will research potential placements themselves, with Planning staff and the University Careers Service providing additional support to obtain their chosen placement.  

Information regarding placements is currently disseminated via Programme Director emails from potential placement providers.  

Placements in Year 3 can only be undertaken with UK-based organisations. 

In addition, you will receive guidance via a non-credit bearing set of seminars/lectures in Year 2 to outline the process of obtaining a placement.  

This will be delivered in both Semester 1 and 2 with the emphasis being placed on student searches in Semester 1 and Planning guidance in Semester 2.

Course content for year 4

In Year 4, you will develop your planning specialism further.  

You will focus on career development and applying the planning concepts and skills to real-world situations. 

Course units for year 4

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
Dissertation (UG) PLAN30000 40 Mandatory
Planning & Property Law PLAN30072 20 Mandatory
Urban Theory, Planning Ethics PLAN30081 20 Mandatory
Research Methods PLAN30091 10 Mandatory
Professional Practice and Ethics PLAN30221 10 Mandatory
Housing, Planning & Development PLAN30512 20 Mandatory

Course content for year 5

In Year 5, you will continue developing your specialism and professional-related studies in spatial planning, environment, urban design, real estate, urban regeneration or international planning.

Course units for year 5

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
Land and Development PLAN40662 15 Mandatory
Applied Spatial Analysis PLAN40761 15 Mandatory
Environmental Impact Assessment PLAN40321 15 Optional
EIA Project PLAN40332 15 Optional
Strategic Environmental Assessment PLAN40341 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN40391 15 Optional
Professional Practice and Placement PLAN40470 15 Optional
Urban Design Studio PLAN40501 15 Optional
Local Economic Development PLAN40521 15 Optional
International Fieldwork PLAN40712 15 Optional
Applied Spatial Analysis PLAN40761 15 Optional
Urban Development Planning in Cities of the South: an international perspective PLAN40771 15 Optional
Neighbourhood Planning PLAN40812 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities PLAN40852 15 Optional
International Planning: Systems and Framework PLAN40861 15 Optional
Best Practice Case Studies in Urban Development Planning PLAN40972 15 Optional
Real Estate Law in Practice PLAN41002 15 Optional
Strategic Asset Management PLAN41051 15 Optional
Real Estate Investment and Finance PLAN41191 15 Optional
Infrastructure Planning PLAN42002 15 Optional
Design for Healthy Places PLAN44011 15 Optional
Decision Support Systems in Planning PLAN44032 15 Optional
Advanced Real Estate Finance PLAN44042 15 Optional
Real Estate Modelling PLAN44052 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units for year 5


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

Disability support

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