International Planning and Development (MSc)

Meeting the challenges of change and development in an urbanising world, promoting excellence in professional practice.

The MSc International Planning and Development tackles the challenges of urbanisation in the 21st century. Since 2008, more than half the world's population has lived in cities. Cities are crucibles of culture, knowledge and innovation, but also harbour poverty and exclusion; globalisation, environmental pollution, and climate change all threaten the well-being of urban residents.

This course spans the disciplines of spatial planning and development studies, enabling students to acquire the knowledge and critical awareness to make significant contributions to the design and management of cities.

Core teaching focuses on issues of development and underdevelopment, city futures in a globalising world, and creation of space and place within different political, cultural, economic and environmental contexts. Options enable students to follow specialisms in urban design, real estate and housing – or a general route with options in planning, environment, transport, real estate, site planning, regeneration and housing. The dissertation is an opportunity for students to develop their specialist interests.

International Studies

The School has research and teaching links with countries throughout Europe and the world. Staff have experience in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, and the School has long-standing academic and professional links in countries as diverse as USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, China, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal and many other countries.

Course Recognition

The MSc is a combined planning course, accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (for RICS, specific options are required). To obtain direct membership entry after successful completion of the MSc, each institute require students to follow a period of practice and complete an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). For further details visit the Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors websites.

Course Structure

The MSc is a 1-year intensive programme starting at the end of September.

The course is divided into two parts:
Part 1 includes the taught programme of core and option modules, allowing students to develop specialist skills and knowledge to support a range of career paths. Cutting-edge techniques in planning and international development are taught where relevant.
Part 2 is the individual dissertation which allows students to develop advanced post-graduate research skills.

The following list relates to the modules for the academic year 2015/16. Please note that these may be subject to change.

Core Modules


General Route

  • The General Route includes a choice of options in planning, environment, transport, real estate, site planning, regeneration and housing.

The programme is assessed through a range of individual coursework and joint project work. Students are encouraged to bring to Cardiff material related to planning/development issues and problems in their own countries and to use this in coursework. Where appropriate there is room for flexibility in setting alternative, comparable assessments.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Study Visits

There is a compulsory UK Field Study Visit (FSV) for all students.  The School normally supports 33% of the cost of the UK FSV and students must pay the remaining 67% prior to departure; the cost to each student is approximately £120.


The course offers the knowledge and expertise for a career in academia, government and the private sector, in a wide variety of organisations including international agencies, central or local government, consultancy and NGOs.
Our Alumni collectively represent the variety of potential careers and jobs that our current (and future) students may embark on.


This MSc is suitable for graduates in planning, geography, sociology, architecture, engineering, property management, law or other relevant disciplines, or mid-career professionals working in planning, development or similar fields. The course is appropriate for both international students, and UK students interested in international planning.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class Honours degree in an appropriate subject. A minimum standard in English language of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent will be required for students whose first language is not English. The UK Border Agency requires minimum sub-scores of IELTS 5.5 across the four competencies of reading, writing, listening and speaking. The University’s English language centre offers 10 and 8-week Pre-sessional Courses and a longer Bridge Programme and provides on-going support for international students.

RTPI Future Planners Bursary

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has created a new bursary for places on accredited University planning Masters courses.  The bursary will be worth £1,000 to the successful student. It has been co-sponsored by the School of Geography and Planning and will be offered as a fee waiver.

Who is eligible?

Full details on eligibility can be found on the RTPI website:

The two eligible programmes within the School of Geography and Planning are:

  • MSc International Planning and Development
  • MSc Spatial Planning and Development

In addition to the RTPI eligibility as detailed in the link above, in order to be considered by the School you must be in receipt of an offer from one of the above courses and must make our offer firm choice by Thursday 30th June 2016.  It is not necessary to submit a separate application for the bursary, all eligible students who have made their firm choice by the 30th June will be considered.  The decision will be based on academic results and the depth of interest in a career in town planning as demonstrated by your application (personal statement and references for example).

We aim to notify the successful applicant by Friday 22nd July 2016.  If you have any queries about your application or the course itself, please email

School Contact

Name: Professor Alison Brown
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 76519

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See this course on the University's Coursefinder website.