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Professional Doctorate in Town Planning - MSc

About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description

Our Town Planning MSc gives you the academic and professional core knowledge, understanding and skills to enable you to practise professionally as a town and country planner.

Planning is about understanding places and place making. This ensures that we can achieve the best social, economic and environmental outcomes. We offer a friendly and supportive environment for you to make the transition towards a career in:
-Wider built environment professions

Through our high quality research and teaching we provide you with a complete planning education:
-Academic core knowledge

This equips you to embark on your professional planning career. You will be able to apply your planning knowledge and deal with the rapidly changing context of real world planning and the problem solving this requires.

The course is a conversion degree so you do not need to have studied planning before. It is for anyone with an interest in planning - thinking about how people, places and the environment interact. The course attracts students from a range of backgrounds and nationalities.


Leading planning academics teach our modules. They are members of planning teaching staff in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. Their world-leading research informs the teaching programme.

We teach the course on our Newcastle campus. You can study full time over 12 months or part time over two years.

If you study full time you are usually expected to attend 12 hours of taught contact time per week. You will need to allow around 28 hours of independent study per week. Contact hours and independent study times will vary depending on modules.

Part time study consists of the same modules and options as the full time programme. If you study part time, we timetable teaching for day release (one full day per week).

The majority of the course consists of a series of compulsory modules. They will introduce you to the core values and principles of planning. You will build on these throughout the rest of your studies and professional life. The main focus of these modules is the UK system complemented by international examples.

You will also have a choice of optional modules. These help you to develop a specialisation in planning practice informed by the latest research.

We deliver knowledge and skills through a series of lecture based modules in semester one and two. We also deliver teaching through:
-Optional international field trips (depending on the module)

A member of planning staff will mentor you through your individual dissertation research study.


This course is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The RTPI is the UK's leading planning body for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning. It is the largest planning institute in Europe with over 23,000 members.

The course is also accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and offers a RICS-accredited route to gain Chartered Surveyors status. You can apply for RICS student membership through the RICS website.

Visit the Town Planning - MSc page on the Newcastle University website for more details!

Related VideosVideos
(Student Profile)


I really enjoyed the planning course and although at times it was demanding I wish I could experience it all again. The staff were extremely supportive and because of Newcastle’s planning school reputation, we were taught by some of the finest in the field.

A Facebook group was set up for our course and it proved a great support tool throughout the year where we could air issues regarding assignments, or if any of us were struggling with a topic there was always someone there to answer. We used the discussion board to great extent to discuss field trips, assignments and information regarding planning events in the region as well as organise social events.

I spent most of my free time in the library when not in lectures. There are many different facilities on offer and even at peak times when no computers are available within the library building, there are always free computers elsewhere on campus. It was also useful to have the option of renting a laptop in the library to use in one of the quieter areas.

Since completing the course I have started work at Aberdeenshire Council in Stonehaven as a Planning Technician. I’m currently applying for licentiate membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and will hopefully begin working towards my APC.

(Student Profile)


Why did you choose Town Planning at Newcastle University?

I chose Town Planning because I enjoyed sociology and geography at A Level and was struck that planning officers had powers beyond their ostensibly bureaucratic role to improve society. I was attracted to Newcastle by its city centre campus, compact city living and reputation for nightlife, probably because I had previously lived in the suburbs while many of my friends lived more centrally.

What was the best thing about being a student at Newcastle?

At Newcastle the city, when combined with the large student population and independent Students' Union, offered a diverse range of opportunities within which to explore different activities outside of education. In second and third years, the relatively cheap accommodation and gym facilities, and good access to computing resources and support all made studying a more enjoyable experience.

What did you like most about the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape?

The staff are friendly and helpful and taught modules are critical and thought provoking.

What did you think of our academic facilities?

The computing and library facilities were excellent.

What did you think of our social facilities?

The Students' Union ran a range of nights with different types of music provided a far better offer than that available in competing institutions. There were a number of clubs such as canoeing, windsurfing and rock climbing taking advantage of the nearby countryside as well as more social conscious activities such as student community action and student action for refugees.

What is it like living in Newcastle?

Cost of living is cheap unless you choose to live in the expensive areas and there is good public transport to the coast and good rail connections to Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh. Everywhere is within easy cycling distance if you don't mind the odd rainy day!

What are you doing now?

I entered a job at Newcastle City Council before I had finished my Diploma year and progressed to Planning Officer position, where I worked on regeneration initiatives and an area action plan. My dissertation project was directly relevant to this work and provided me with strong expertise in community involvement that was to be essential in my future employment. I have since returned to the University to undertake a PhD and to reflect on my involvement in practice.

(Student Profile)


The BA Town Planning programme is ideal for anyone wishing to become a planner. The course allows for an exploration of the theoretical framework behind the planning system, with an opportunity to participate in research, within a chosen field. The Certificate in Planning Practice, post degree allows for the practice of skills within a planning organisation and is the first step towards chartered RTPI membership. The year in practice retains an academic focus with the opportunity to undertake research for the planning body in that field of work. It does additionally place emphasis on professional development with the submission of log-sheets and development plans, important skills for planners when working towards membership of the RTPI.

Newcastle's reputation as a member of the Russell Group of universities, makes it an ideal choice for studying at a prestigious, ‘red brick’ university. I attended a visit day at the university before my degree and felt inspired after listening to the town planning presentation. Planning is the ideal course if you are passionate about making positive changes to the built environment. Newcastle University is one of only a select few schools that offer Royal Town Planning Institute accredited qualifications along with opportunities to work and study abroad and a supported transition into employment as part of the Certificate in Planning Practice. The opportunities to get involved, in running the Planning Society and representing students through the Staff Student Committee are in abundance.

The facilities at the school include one base within Claremont Tower and the Planning Studio which can be used when not booked for teaching by all members of the school, a flexible space that can be adapted to suit students’ needs. The library with its charter mark status is open to an abundance of material with over 1 million materials, available either in hard copy or electronically. The main Robinson library offers a lot of support and has lengthy opening hours, with many resources available. ISS the computing service offer a campus wide network of machines in clusters around the university. Some including the library are open access and there is also a 24 hour cluster on campus, perfect for those finishing last minute assignments! Clusters are also located all around campus in many of the high use buildings and in halls of residences. Wi-Fi is also available campus wide.


PGT Excellence Awards 2012 - 20+ Awards

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape is pleased to offer 20 PGT Excellence Awards for Sept 2012 entry. The awards will be worth £2000.00 which will be deducted from your tuition fees.Full details about the awards scheme and how to apply are available here: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/apl/assets/documents/Excellence%20Awards%202012.pdfClosing Date: Monday 23rd April 2012

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible to apply for an Excellence Award you must meet the following criteria:
 Be a Home/EU student
 Hold an offer to study one of the Full Time programmes listed below starting in Sept 2012
 Have a 2:1 or above at UG level
 Be self funding*Conditional offer holders may be selected for an award subject to meeting the requirements of their offer.
Please note this offer is not available in conjunction with any other awards or scholarship scheme.

Application Procedure

Please see: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/apl/assets/documents/Excellence%20Awards%202012.pdf
Where an application question has been set, answers must be sent to [email protected] by the closing date.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A 2:2 honours degree. International students need a qualification equal to a 2:1 honours degree. Your degree can be in any subject, but preference is given to graduates of a related discipline such as: planning; geography; urban studies; sociology; history; politics; economics; architecture; law; modern languages. Applicants who demonstrate significant knowledge and professional experience in UK town planning are welcome. We will consider your application if you have lower or non-standard qualifications and demonstrate aptitude for further study.

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Recipient: Newcastle University

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