Skip to content

Urban Planning and Development (BSc)

Entry year


Explore how planning shapes how we live, travel and interact with people and places, and learn how you can change it for the better.

Book an Open Day

Course overview

What could be more exciting than the challenge and responsibility of shaping the places in which we live, work, and play?

Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), this programme focuses on the social, economic and environmental challenges of creating better places in which to live.

Planning impacts our everyday reality in so many ways, influencing the homes in which we live and the quality and availability of opportunities which can support our health, wealth and well-being. It can affect our public and community spaces and our professional and leisure spaces, as well as how we travel and move between them. You will examine how and why places, such as cities, towns, and the countryside, change and how they can be improved through planning practice and research.

This programme opens a wide range of exciting career opportunities in planning, development and surveying. Graduates have an excellent track record securing employment in these sectors as well as transport, economic development, environment policy, and housing and urban regeneration.

With modules that involve practitioners and experts from the world of practice, you will also have the opportunity to understand how your learning applies to the real world and consider the ways in which you can develop your professional profile and employability.

Distinctive features

  • The opportunity to study in a School ranked 8th for Town and Country Planning and Landscape (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019) and consistently highly rated for its research excellence.
  • Strong links with policy institutions in the UK, Europe and globally.
  • Taught by internationally respected and research-active staff.
  • Excellent relationships and links with planning institutions, especially in Wales.
  • Engagement with experts from professional practice who are involved in the delivery of several modules.
  • Access to a laboratory with high-quality printing facilities, GIS (Geographic Information System) and Edina digimap mapping facilities.
  • A field study visit option (2019 destinations included Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Tanzania) to explore issues in real world case studies and to practically apply taught skills

Accreditations

UCAS codeK490
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 180 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 850 applications.

Ranked 8th for Town and Country Planning and Landscape (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)

Entry requirements

BBB-BBC. Please note that Critical Thinking and General Studies will not be accepted.

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM-DMM. All BTEC Extended Diplomas acceptable. Travel and Tourism preferred.

665-655 from 3 Higher Level subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Geography & Planning admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

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.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Year one places an emphasis on practical and applied projects while introducing the key building blocks of a planning and development degree.

You will 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.

You will be introduced to the analytical and creative skills required in professional practice and benefit from fieldwork and site-based projects 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.

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 assessment types, 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 to undertake 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 switch to the four-year programme, with approval.

Year three

Your final year is a valuable opportunity to reflect on your learning 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.

Learning and assessment

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. 

Careers and placements

Career prospects

We are committed to helping you achieve your professional ambitions, providing you with the skills, curiosity and confidence to make your mark in your chosen field.

Latest statistics show that 93% of our graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016/17).

There are numerous exciting and varied career opportunities open to graduates of this degree programme, and many occupy key positions in a range of public, private and third sector organisations. These include national and local governments, business consultancies, sustainable energy centres, environmental agencies, housing strategy companies, construction, surveying

Specific planning career pathways include surveying, design and development, as well as fields such as transport, economic development and urban regeneration. You could practise in local planning authorities, local and national government, neighbourhood planning organisations, transport organisations, private planning consultancies, private developers and environmental organisations in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and internationally.

Placements

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.

Fieldwork

We place a great emphasis on practical learning. Each academic year offers a subsidised field study visit which allows you to research and investigate a live issue/case study, on location.

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.

icon-academic

Next Undergraduate Open Day

Saturday 26 October

icon-international

International

icon-contact

Get in touch

icon-pen

How to apply