Urban Planning and Development (BSc)

BSc Urban Planning and Development is an exciting course that focuses on why places - such as cities, towns, and the countryside - change and how they can be improved through planning.

BSc Urban Planning and Development is an exciting course that focuses on why places – such as cities, towns, and the countryside – change and how they can be improved through planning.

The course focuses on the social, economic and environmental challenges of creating better places in which to live. It is particularly suitable for those interested in the interaction between people and the built and natural environment.

This professionally-accredited degree provides the essential foundations for a career in planning and development. We offer two routes through the course. You can complete the degree in three years or choose to study the degree as a four-year course with a salaried placement year. You can switch flexibly between these pathways through the course, subject to approval, so you only need to submit one application.

The BSc Urban Planning and Development is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and provides all of the educational requirements needed for membership.  It is also recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial planning degree.

Students graduating from the BSc Urban Planning and Development can pursue one of our specialist Master’s degrees to complete the RTPI’s educational requirements for membership.

The course includes a wide range of learning opportunities, from workshops and seminars through to practical projects and field visits.  Field study visits are a key aspect of the course.  Previous destinations include Copenhagen, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Tanzania. Note that some field study visits involve additional costs to students.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • the opportunity to study in a School consistently highly rated for its research excellence
  • the involvement of internationally reputed research staff who are active in both scholarly and practitioner/policy networks
  • close links with policy  institutions in the UK, Europe and globally
  • access to a computing laboratory with high-quality printing facilities, GIS (Geographic Information System) and Edina digimap mapping facilities
  • excellent library and access to online journals and databases
  • local, European, and global destination field study visits to explore issues in real world case studies and deploy skills acquired through the degree into practice
  • the facility to undertake assessments in the Welsh language if preferred.

I have always had an interest in Planning and the course at Cardiff allowed me to further my interests as well as gaining the benefits of Cardiff as a great capital city!

Sophie Williams, former planning student

Key facts

UCAS CodeK490
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 180 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 850 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Geography & Planning admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerAAA-ABB, no set combination of subjects.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerPass Advanced Diploma with A in the core, plus AA-BB at A-level, no set combination of subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer38-34 points.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.

This is a three-year full-time degree. Year one modules are compulsory. Years two and three contain compulsory and optional modules. You will need to earn 120 credits a year. Modules are usually worth 20 credits.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Year one combines knowledge of subjects planners need to know about with an emphasis on practical and applied projects. It introduces the key building blocks of a planning and development degree.

You take six core modules, aimed at developing an understanding of the social, economic, political and natural processes at work in shaping cities, regions and the countryside. The year introduces the analytical and creative skills required in professional practice.

Fieldwork and site-based projects are an integral part of the course, providing you with an opportunity to work on ‘live’ planning issues. Experts from professional practice are also engaged in the delivery of many modules.

Although you need to earn 120 credits, year one is an introductory year and the modules do not count towards the grade of your final degree.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Society, Diversity and PlanningCP012020 credits
Places and PlansCP012120 credits
Introducing Research MethodsCP013620 credits
Introduction to Urban PlanningCP014320 credits
Urban EconomiesCP014420 credits
Property, Urban Development and RegenerationCP014520 credits

Year two

Year two builds on the core knowledge acquired in the first year and encourages you to apply your skills to a series of practical planning and development issues. There is a continuing emphasis on a mix of types of assessment, including project work and assignments that require you to produce professional solutions and outputs.

You are introduced to plans, policies and development management, environmental planning, planning and its operation in market contexts, the operation of local government, spatial analysis, research skills and the essential components of planning law.

In year two you are supported with guidance and advice on the option of completing a placement year as part of your degree, which is usually undertaken in the third year. This is a highly valuable component of the course and equips you with a wide range of practical skills and professional experience. You can apply to switch to the placement year route, subject to the approval of the School.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Planning, Markets and LandCP021020 credits
Site Planning and DevelopmentCP023120 credits
Environmental Policies and PlanningCP023220 credits
Planning Law and PracticeCP023620 credits
Developing Research MethodsCP024320 credits
Governing People and PlacesCP024420 credits

Year three

The final year of the BSc Urban Planning and Development provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the learning across the course to date, and allows you to start to develop a specialism within a specific sub-field of planning. It serves as an important component of the course in bridging the worlds of practice and academic study.

Emphasis is placed on developing the qualities of a critical, reflective practitioner and encouraging you to think carefully about the nature, instruments and impacts of planning.

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.

How will I be taught?

Our approach is based upon a commitment to provide the highest quality teaching. As far as possible, we aim to teach in small groups because we believe this encourages a more positive learning environment between staff and students and among students themselves. Typically you will study six modules per year and will receive 15 hours of guided study per week.

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team working, independent research and time management.

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in each course, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback

We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance

Coursework will be marked by your module tutor and your tutor will give you written feedback on your work. You will also have a feedback class after each assessment. Students will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios and creative assignments.

We encourage innovation and creativity in the delivery and assessment of teaching and learning, for example the use of geographical information systems, cartographic tools, digital media and field study visits. You will receive skills training from presentation of critical thinking through film-based assessments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The final-year research project provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

These include:

  • communicating ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means
  • work effectively in a team and as an individual
  • using the internet, databases, spreadsheets, word processing and graphic packages
  • effective time management and organisational skills
  • a commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of your own learning
  • problem solving, reliability, good social conduct, tact, attitude to learning and research, leadership, resilience, decision-making and reasoning. 

In 2014, 100% of our graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduating. Moreover, 80% of those in employment were in professional or managerial jobs.

Our graduates occupy key positions in national and local governments, business consultancies, sustainable energy centres, environmental agencies, housing strategy companies, construction, surveying and are active in both the public and private sectors.

There are numerous exciting and varied career opportunities for planning students. These include careers in planning, surveying, design and development, as well as fields such as transport, economic development and urban regeneration.

In particular, opportunities exist to practise in local planning authorities, central government, neighbourhood planning organisations, transport organisations, private planning consultancies, private developers and environmental organisations in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and even further afield.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Field study visits are included in your fees in year one and year two, but you will be required to subsidise trips in year three.

In year two, one field trip to a European city is included in your fees.  In year three, the global cities field study visits are subsidised by 66%. Students have previously contributed around £400 to the costs.

You should expect to cover the costs of local travel and subsistence on all field study visits.

This degree allows a four-year option with a salaried placement year in the third year. You won’t need to decide whether or not you want to explore this option until year two.

In the School of Geography and Planning we place a great emphasis on practical learning. To this end there are field study visits available in each year of the undergraduate course.

In year one, these field study visits are local to the Cardiff city region. In year two, you can opt to enjoy a residential field study visit to a European city. In your final year, you can opt for a field study visit to a global city location. Please see the ‘additional costs’ section for more information.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.