Urban and Regional Development (MSc)

Understand more about spatial development theory and practice - and help meet the policy challenge.

The MSc in Urban and Regional Development provides students with the opportunity to understand socio-economic change in towns, cities, regions and city-regions – issues which are of increasing significance globally across different regions and nations. The focus is on developing knowledge of the key theoretical tools to understand the nature and source of this socio-economic change and its uneven impact on different social groups and different places around the world.

Drawing on leading-edge theoretical debates about uneven spatial development, this programme provides students with the key skills required to shape local and regional development in the worlds of policy and practice. These skills include data analysis and research skills, problem-solving skills through project-based teamwork, and skills in engaging and working across different sectors and organisations, including public, private and third sector organisations. The programme also enables students to focus in more depth on understanding the specific challenges of uneven development at particular spatial scales - from the broader regional and city-regional scale to the more localised community and neighbourhood scale.

The programme also addresses a state-of-the-art public policy agenda to enable students to understand, research and then apply their knowledge and skills to the practical challenge of designing strategies to help cities and regions to become more innovative and resilient places in which to live and work.

Throughout the MSc programme, students will examine issues in urban and regional development within the unique (yet highly relevant) context of the South Wales city-region. One of the first regions in the world to experience de-industrialisation, South Wales was one of the areas – the “special areas” as they were called – where the world’s first regional policy was designed in the 1920s and 1930s. This regional experience presents an excellent ‘living laboratory’ for studying not only the causes and consequences of urban and regional change, but also for distilling the policy lessons which are of relevance to the wider world. Students on the programme will thus have the opportunity to study the theory, policy and practice of urban and regional development in one of the world’s leading academic schools, located in a region with the longest experience of regional policy in the world.

Course Recognition

This MSc is recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a 'specialist' masters, allowing those who have completed a three year RTPI recognised undergraduate spatial planning degree to complete the RTPI's educational requirements for membership. For further details visit the Royal Town Planning Institute website.

It is also accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), allowing completion of the educational requirement for RICS membership. For further details visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.

Course Structure

The MSc Urban and Regional Development is offered as a one year full-time or a two year part-time course.

It is divided into two parts:
Part 1 comprises a teaching programme of core and option modules over two semesters (or four semesters for the part-time course). Options are available in the Masters Graduate School of City and Regional Planning and the School of Social Sciences
Part 2 comprises an individual dissertation on a topic selected by each student in consultation with members of staff. Whilst there are few constraints on the choice of topic, it must address at least one of the core course themes of the Urban and Regional Development programme.

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

Core Modules

Option Modules

The modules are assessed through continuous assessment using a variety of seminars, essays, project work and practical exercises. Where required 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 are a number of study visits offered which are linked to option modules. These may range from one day visits to UK towns and cities to longer international visits. Generally travel costs associated with one day visits are met by the School but the costs associated with longer trips will be additional to course fees and will need to be met by students.


The course offers the knowledge and expertise to enable students to work within a large number of urban and regional development related careers. These can range from research, policy development and implementation, planning roles within the public and private sectors to agencies and businesses involved in new and re-development projects.
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, architecture, engineering 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 urban and regional development.

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.

See this course on the University's Coursefinder website.