Town Planning



Course overview

This intensive course is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for professional practice in town and country planning. It has been designed in response to the national shortage of professional planners - so graduates should be particularly well-placed to find exciting employment opportunities.

Course content focuses on the evolving planning system, the sustainability agenda, skills for planning practice, and the role of planners in the development of space and place. The eastern region offers a fascinating laboratory for new approaches to planning, including sustainable communities, environmental challenges, new house-building provision and proximity to mainland Europe. The exploration and examination of these contemporary issues will help to develop not only your professional knowledge, but also your ability to analyse complex issues, make sound judgements, solve problems and communicate and act autonomously.

This course will:
  • equip you for employment through a rigorous course of study
  • provide you with a qualification which meets the requirements of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
  • enable you to become a reflective town and country planning practitioner
  • provide you with a supportive study environment.

Additional course information

It is professionally accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and provides you with the knowledge and skills needed for professional practice in town and country planning. Once you have successfully completed the course and undertaken two years' practical work experience in planning, you will be eligible to apply for membership of the RTPI, which is highly regarded, both in Britain and overseas.

Your organisation can be confident that you have followed a course of study which is recognised by the RTPI for equipping students with the range of specialist professional and generic skills required to work in this challenging, creative and fast-changing profession.
On successful completion of this course you will be able to:
  • understand the different historical, legal, economic, social, political, conceptual and environmental contexts that affect planning activity
  • debate underlying current developments in Town Planning
  • appreciate the interrelationship between theory and practice in planning decisions
  • demonstrate a specialised study area of planning: urban design, housing or environmental planning
  • effectively utilise systematic, creative and flexible skills to carry out the totality of planning activity
  • collect, critically evaluate and communicate information from a variety of planning resource materials
  • demonstrate initiative and originality in developing responses to spatial planning needs
  • work effectively both in a group and individually, demonstrating self-direction and autonomy in planning and implementing tasks at professional and postgraduate level.

Module guide

Core modules
  • Planning: Principles and Concepts

    This module introduces the central concepts which define contemporary practice and research in spatial planning, encouraging the development of a conceptual framework to underpin the purposes and nature of spatial planning. The social, economic, political and environmental contexts for planning, including their theoretical approaches, are studied through a series of cross-cutting concepts drawing on the multi-disciplinary foundations; this is developed into an exploration of theories of planning and the nature of planning as a process and as a profession.

  • Plan making and Policy

    The module is designed to introduce the core aspects of planning activity and assist in the development of a critical and practical understanding of the contextual and conceptual framework within which spatial planning operates in urban and rural contexts. The purpose and nature of spatial planning is debated, including its origins in the European Community, contemporary changes, and its application across and within the UK and abroad.

  • Planning Implementation

    This module explores ways in which strategic plans and development frameworks can be transformed into a sustainable reality. The module develops an understanding of the legal, regulatory and policy framework governing land and property development in the UK, development management and appeals, environmental assessment, financial appraisal, regeneration practices, partnerships, community empowerment, equality and diversity objectives.

  • Planning and Society

    The focus of this module is the social and political context for planning in the UK, including planning as a construct of the prevailing social, economic and governmental extant policies that define planning; the module unpacks the relationship between planning and society. Social and political contexts are discussed in detail and their impact upon the nature of planning as a process and as a profession is explored.

  • Site Studies and Urban Design

    The module has been designed to develop an understanding of the inseparable nature of the place and its context - a 'sense of place', and how this affects the design for new buildings and placemaking that contribute to the built environment. It examines the influences of the primary elements that form the physical environment in its historic, present and future context, and the relative legal and planning constraints that affect the built environment.

  • Sustainability and Environmental Management

    The Module aims to develop an understanding of the history and current position with regard to the environment and sustainability and to explore the interaction between society, construction and the environment. The module will establish the historical context of sustainable development and discuss future developments. Students will develop a systematic understanding of environmental issues and concepts of sustainable development in relation to the construction industry. A broad understanding of the pressures facing companies to address environmental and sustainable development issues will be discussed, together with an overview of the strategies and practices needed to address environmental and sustainable development.

  • Research Design and Methodology

    This module provides an in-depth understanding of the theories and methods of research and research design, to provide a theoretical and practical foundation for the Major Project/Dissertation.

  • Major Project/Dissertation for MSc Built Environment

    This module provides the opportunity for students to identify and pursue a topic relevant to town planning that is of interest and/or will develop your specialist subject and in which you can develop a significant level of expertise.


Our assessment methods are diverse and are designed to enable you to demonstrate your deepening knowledge and understanding of your subject. They will also enable you to gain confidence and experience in different methods of presentation of planning material. Our assessment methods include coursework and oral presentation, which may be either individually prepared or undertaken through group work or by formal examination.

Special features

The MSc Town Planning has been designed to provide a rigorous understanding of the theoretical and conceptual debates, processes and practices involved in town planning.
The course focuses closely on the core aspects of spatial planning practice, summed up by Royal Town Planning Institute as the mediation of space and making of place.

There is an emphasis throughout the course on the practical application of knowledge and skills. The course is designed to encourage each student to develop their own particular approach to provide the basis for the life-long development of their skills and career.

The modules are delivered by a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars.

Links with industry and professional recognition

This course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Associated careers

This course is designed for those who wish to follow a career in spatial planning or an associated discipline.

Main requirements:
  • A second class honours degree or above in a subject that is cognate within the built environment fields. Examples include Town Planning, Environmental Studies, Architecture, Landscape Design, Urban Studies, Geography and Building Surveying. Part-time students will benefit from being in relevant employment. Full-time students will benefit from recent experience in a relevant field of study or work. Those with the required degree classification in a non-cognate subject may need to attend and interview and an urban design 'Summer School' prior to commencing the course.
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements listed are for September 2015/January 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

International and EU applicants

We welcome applications from International and EU students. Please select one of the links below for English language and country-specific entry requirement information.
If you do not meet the above requirements, then there is an alternative. Consider entry to the course via an integrated foundation year at Cambridge Ruskin International College, an associate college of Anglia Ruskin, which is located on our Cambridge campus.

How to apply



September starts:
12 months

January starts:
15 months

Teaching times*

Tuesdays & Wednesdays 9am - 4pm

Available starts

September, January

Fees & funding

Open Day

25 April, Chelmsford and Cambridge
Postgraduate Open Day

Advice & support



Science & Technology


Engineering and the Built Environment

Contact us

UK and EU applicants:International applicants:


* Teaching days are subject to change each academic year. Timings are also dependent on any optional modules you chose and are for guidance, so we advise all applicants to wait until they are in receipt of their timetable before making arrangements around course times.

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