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Planning Practice (PgCert)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Part time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Video containing details on Postgraduate Certificate in Planning Practice. School of Geography and Planning.

Allows students with a specialised Masters degree in planning to top up their planning knowledge and gain professional membership of the RTPI.


Professionally recognised

Allows those with specialised Master’s degree in planning to top up planning knowledge and gain membership of the RTPI.


Flexible study

Taught over one or two days a week allowing you to work but still gain a qualification that can provide access to the UK planning profession.


Work on a live project

Identify a substantive planning problem with a client (a planning authority or agency) and produce a report with recommendations.


Diverse learning community

Learn alongside others doing a professional 'conversion' degree with special assistance provided to help you manage your work.

If you already have a specialised master’s degree, our part-time PGCert Planning Practice programme will provide you with the opportunity to ‘top up’ your planning skills and knowledge while satisfying the educational requirements for professional membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

You'll be taught alongside others taking a professional ‘conversion’ degree and receive bespoke support and guidance to help you manage your work and maximise your results. Engaging with both theory and practice during the programme, you'll have the opportunity to critically review and assess current planning policies and strategies before undertaking a practical project where you'll identify solutions to a substantive planning issue. This project is an excellent opportunity to apply your learning and deploy your skills in problem-definition and problem-solving; draw upon, and develop, knowledge of procedures and practice within a substantive planning topic; engage in appropriate reflection of values and ethics-related issues; and, appreciate the operational context within which the report will be delivered.

Throughout the programme, we also ensure there are opportunities to reflect and consider the kind of practitioner you are or will be, developing a robust understanding and appreciation of your core strengths and behaviours.

Where you'll study

School of Geography and Planning

Join us as we explore and tackle the social, political, economic, development and environmental challenges which affect where and how we live.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4022
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have obtained RTPI-accredited specialist masters qualification. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The programme consists of 90 credits, gained by completing four twenty credit modules and one ten credit module. All modules are compulsory.

The course can be completed in eight months with five modules, consisting of 90 credits in all, spread over two semesters, or over three years taking one module per year, one day a week, or an intermediate combination.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

A variety of teaching methods are used. There is an emphasis on interaction between students and teachers.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment is by coursework. There will be a variety of assessed tasks including reports, presentations, and posters. Most assessed work is individual; some is group work.

How will I be supported?

You will have access to a range of facilities and resources, including:

  • A dedicated 40 PC laboratory with high quality peripherals including; network account laser printing, large format colour printing, A4 colour printing.
  • GIS facilities/workstation/access to Edina digimap digital mapping facility.
  • An additional  30 PC open-access laboratory in the Glamorgan Building.
  • An excellent Planning library containing around 12,000 books, 280 journal titles and substantial annual stock expenditure.
  • Access to online international databases/computerised library facilities.
  • Access to Dyslexia resource facilities.
  • Use of Learning Central  in all modules  to provide module information and learning resources. 

You will have regular meetings with your allocated personal tutor to review your progress.

English language support will be available if your first language is not English.

Support will also be available if you are working/being assessed through the medium of Welsh.

We will support the development of your professional skills during induction week by providing training on computer use and presentation skills.


Feedback is provided informally on a weekly basis in classes, in regular meetings with personal tutors, and more formally on assessed work.

What skills will I practise and develop?

 You will be able to:

  • Develop a systematic and critical understanding of spatial planning principles, policy and practice, and understand the importance of national/regional political and socio-economic contexts in shaping specific regimes of planning.
  • Have a conceptual understanding which allows you to critically evaluate and contribute to value-debates, and the development of techniques/methodologies in the study and practice of planning.
  • Develop a range of transferable skills, including decision-making in unpredictable and complex situations, and be encouraged to explore your own creativity.
  • Appreciate the importance of reflecting systematically on your own practice and that of others, and the need for continuing professional development and life-long learning.
  • Develop an understanding of the policy role in planning and the role of planning law.
  • Develop networking skills through meeting professionals and engaging with the professional institute.

Other transferable skills developed include report-writing, time management, presentation skills, and analytical skills.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £5,350 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £11,725 £2,500

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Career prospects

Completing this course satisfies the initial professional educational requirements of the Royal Town Planning Institute and opens the door to being considered for all mainstream planning posts in the public and private sector in the UK (at an appropriate level depending upon experience).

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.