MPlan Planning with Professional Placement / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The 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 fully accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The curriculum of Years 1, 2and 4 are the same as our BSc (Hons) 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 your third year, you will normally embark on a paid work placement with an organisation in the UK working in the field of planning or real estate. Excitingly, you could be enhancing your employability by working for a private consultancy delivering large-scale developments or in local government helping to create more liveable communities. You also have the option to switch onto the one-year professional placement before the end of your first year of your study.

The fifth year of study is at taught master's level and provides professional training in planning, serving as a fast-track to your future career. You always have the option to switch between the degree programmes with the final ‘integrated Masters' year so you can transfer on or off the five-year programme at any point during your studies.

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

Understanding and engaging with the opportunities and challenges 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, Property and Environmental Management at The University of Manchester.

The integrated Master of Planning with Professional Placement satisfies the spatial planning curricula for the RTPI and is therefore the fastest route to Licentiate Membership. The degree is also dual accredited, as it is recognised by the RICS Planning and Development and Commercial Real Estate and Valuation pathways.

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 significant implications, including three spectacular National Parks, areas of intensive farming and impressive coastlines.

Special features

Portugal field trip

This course is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on the 'Planning and Development' and ‘Commercial Property and Valuation' pathways - meaning you'll be ideally placed for a professional career in planning or real estate after you graduate.

International fieldwork

This course normally includes a field trip to a European country during your second year, where you can put what you have learnt so far into practice. You will also have the option to attend a field visit abroad in your fifth and final year.

Local fieldwork

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

Study abroad

Apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, the US, South East Asia, or Australia.

Year in practice

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

Teaching and learning

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

Practical and digital skills, such as Geographic Information System (GIS), Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator - as well as general computer skills - are taught in university computer suites.

This work is accompanied by group work in tutorials and workshops, as well as standard lectures, giving you an overall hands-on learning experience.

Project-based learning, incorporating applied 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.

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

We place strong emphasis on coursework and continuous assessment.

Coursework takes a variety of forms - from essays and reports, to posters, oral presentations and project demonstrations (sometimes to practising professionals). We also incorporate lots of opportunities for feedback on non-assessed work so that you can be confident about your progress.

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 provides a broad introduction to the fundamentals of planning, including introducing core principles and practices that underpin urban development, real estate and urban economics, placemaking and sustainable communities. You will use Manchester as your ‘living laboratory' seeing the opportunities and challenges of fast-paced development in an internationally famous, vibrant city.

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
GIS & Digital Tools for Decision Making PLAN10092 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Real Estate PLAN10201 20 Mandatory
Rural Planning PLAN10362 10 Optional
Principles of Real Estate Law PLAN10622 10 Optional
Place-making PLAN10632 10 Optional

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, you will begin to specialise your knowledge and skills. This includes understanding policies, regulations and processes that guide development, introducing core principles on urban design and understanding how to value properties.

This year also provides you with an opportunity to start tailoring your degree to your specific interests with optional course units and gaining some work experience through taking an optional short-term placement. You can also normally apply to spend one semester studying abroad at one of our exchange partners in Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia.

Year 2 also starts to develop your skills in collecting and analysing data ready for conducting independent research in your fourth year. As part of this, the course normally includes a residential field visit to a European country where you can apply your learning in a different context.

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
Applied Research for Planning and Real Estate PLAN20172 20 Mandatory
Plan Making & the Development Process PLAN20181 20 Mandatory
Policy for Cities and Regions PLAN20381 10 Mandatory
Valuation & Appraisal PLAN21012 20 Mandatory
Data Analytics for Planning & Real Estate PLAN26041 10 Mandatory
Professional Placement PLAN20090 20 Optional
Environmental Planning and Assessment PLAN20521 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

In Year 3 you will normally embark on a 12-month paid work placement with an organisation specialising in planning or real estate in the UK, allowing you to apply, in practice, the conceptual, practical, digital and communication skills you have learnt in the first two years of your degree.

You will be provided with the knowledge and skills necessary for securing work placements, including tailoring your CV and writing covering letters. You will then research potential employers and apply for individual placements with the support of academic staff including a specialist placement coordinator.

To facilitate securing a placement, staff will utilise a database of existing contacts in local and national organisations and provide advice and guidance on the application process. However, there will be an expectation that you will research and apply for potential placements yourself, identifying organisations that best fit with your career ambitions, with the placement coordinator and the University Careers Service providing additional support to obtain your chosen placement where necessary.

Course units for year 3

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 Theory PLAN30081 20 Mandatory
Housing, Planning & Development PLAN30512 20 Mandatory
Real Estate Investment & Finance PLAN36011 20 Optional
Future Cities PLAN36021 20 Optional

Course content for year 4

In Year 4 you will develop your planning specialism further. This will include learning the fundamental components of planning law, exploring specific aspects of urban development such as housing provision and acquiring specific insights into the ethical perspectives of planning, vital for your move into the profession.

In this year, you will also undertake a piece of independent research on a topic of your choice - your dissertation. To help you through this process, you will be guided by one of our internationally recognised academics specialising. in planning or real estate. Your research may be field-based, undertaking desk studies or making use of our specialist School laboratory facilities.

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
Land and Development PLAN40662 15 Mandatory
Digital Planning - Spatial and Policy Analysis PLAN40761 15 Mandatory
Environmental Impact Assessment PLAN40321 15 Optional
EIA Project PLAN40332 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN40391 15 Optional
Professional Practice and Placement PLAN40470 15 Optional
International Fieldwork PLAN40712 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
International Urban Design PLAN41081 15 Optional
Real Estate Investment and Finance PLAN41191 15 Optional
Infrastructure Planning PLAN42002 15 Optional
Design for Healthy Places PLAN44011 15 Optional
Future Cities PLAN44021 15 Optional
Digital Planning: Decision Support Systems PLAN44032 15 Optional
Advanced Real Estate Finance PLAN44042 15 Optional
Real Estate Modelling PLAN44051 15 Optional
Land Use and Transport Planning PLAN44061 15 Optional
Strategic and Sustainable Decision Making PLAN44072 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 23 course units for year 4

Course content for year 5

In Year 5 you transition into the integrated Masters, where all the content is taught at master's level. This is your professional ‘specialism' year, and is currently required by the RTPI to receive full accreditation, serving as a fast-track to your future career in planning. You can choose optional specialisms in spatial planning, environmental planning, urban design, real estate, digital planning, or international planning.

In this year, you also normally have the option to take a short, 4 week placement, giving you further opportunities to enhance your CV with hands on experience of working for organisations specialising in planning or real estate.


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

See facilities  for more information.

Disability support

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