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Urban Planning & Development (BSc)

Why study this course

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Enhance your skills

Develop your technical and practical skills with software including GIS (Geographic Information System) & Edina digimap mapping.

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Professionally recognised

Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) (partial) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

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Field-based studies

Field visits and field study modules - local to international - applying learning to real-world contexts and developing practical skills.

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Define the future

Improve the quality of urban spaces by putting social, environmental and economic sustainability at the heart of planning.

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Placement opportunities

Develop the skills, confidence and connections to accelerate your career.

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 Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial qualification, 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, 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.

Fieldwork and experiential learning are key facets in the development of undergraduate knowledge and skills within the discipline of Planning. This programme provides a range of opportunities for students to develop this knowledge and skill set, including in-module 1 or 1/2-day field visits; group data collection and analysis assessments; and dedicated Year 2 and Final Year field study modules.

This degree carries partial (spatial) RTPI accreditation. For full RTPI accreditation, once you have completed your spatial-accredited undergraduate degree, you need to complete a RTPI specialist-accredited Master’s degree.

Accreditations

Subject area: Geography (human) and planning

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

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

ABB-BBB

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ 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.


We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Where a grade range is advertised this reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range. Where there is no grade range advertised you will usually receive additional points in the selection process. Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects.

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Other qualifications from inside the UK

BTEC

DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism. We will consider BTECs in alternative subjects alongside other academic qualifications and any relevant work or volunteer experience.

T level

M in T Level Design, surveying and planning for construction.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

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

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 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.

You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
- GCSE Maths grade C/4 or equivalent qualification (subject and grade). If you are taking A-level Maths (or equivalent), GCSE Maths is not required. Core Maths may also be accepted in place of GCSE Maths.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

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.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2023 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 £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 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 undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £20,700 None
Year two £20,700 None
Year three £20,700 None

Learn more about our tuition fees

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

The year 2 residential field study experience is fully subsidised.

The final year field-study visits are currently subsidised (approximately two thirds of the cost) by the School, but you will be responsible for the remaining 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.

Living costs

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

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 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

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 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.

You can also choose to participate in an optional and subsidised field study visit.

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

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?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • interpret and evaluate the role of the planning system in managing change in the built environment and natural environment in both the short and longer term with reference to the planning policies of central government, local government and other institutions.
  • Interpret and evaluate the political, legal, institutional and organisational context of planning practice by making recommendations on how organisations may improve effectiveness in addressing an identified planning issue.
  • Identify, select, and use practical project-based skills, design and financial appraisal skills from an urban design perspective.
  • Accurately define a practical issue or problem for investigation, study or research and devise a strategy for collecting, assessing, analysing and presenting relevant data and information.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to interpret and evaluate practical and theoretical understandings with regard to:

  • notions of equality of opportunity, social and cultural diversity, and the sustainable use of natural and human resources
  • individual and collective rights that may be represented through and impacted upon by planning systems and decisions
  • the role of government and public participation in a democratic society and in the balancing of individual and collective rights and interests
  •  ‘subject skills’, including creativity, problem-solving, forecasting, and monitoring.
  • the protection of personal health and safety at work and the health and safety of others.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Practical and theoretical understandings of being a reflective practitioner, identifying the skills and knowledge they are acquiring in the classroom.
  • Ability to take responsibility for the development of a self-critical and challenging approach to their own planning practice.
  • Interpretation and evaluation of the concept of rights and the legal and practical implications of representing these rights in the planning decision making process

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Show key skills in listening, arguing, leadership, advocacy, and problem solving Identify, select and use key skills to communicate spatial and planning-related information to different audiences by presenting information to colleagues and other professionals
  • Take responsibility for engaging successfully in collaborative and multidisciplinary working through working as part of a team, responding appropriately to colleagues’ requests and making clear one’s own demands on colleagues
  • Exercise autonomy and judgement for effective self-management by setting and adhering to work priorities, making effective use of time and identifying opportunities for input from colleagues, other professionals and stakeholders
  • Exercise responsibility and judgement for managing and presenting information effectively using a range of different media and through the use of information technology
  • Evaluate the principles and processes of design for creating high quality places and enhancing the public realm for the benefit of all in society
  • Evaluate different development strategies and the practical application of development finance; assess the implications for generating added value for the community

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.

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

The Geographies of Work and Employability moduleoffers you the opportunity to undertake a short-term placement to apply your learning in practice during your second year

There is also a four-year option to the full-time degree programme.

Each academic year also 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 and three, you can opt for a residential field study visit. These often encompass UK and overseas destinations. Please see the ‘additional costs’ section for more information.

Fieldwork

The Geographies of Work and Employability module offers you the opportunity to undertake a short-term placement to apply your learning in practice during your second year

There is also a four-year option to the full-time degree programme.

Each academic year also 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 and three, you can opt for a residential field study visit. These often encompass UK and overseas destinations. Please see the ‘additional costs’ section for more information.

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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.