Urban Studies BA
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Explore this course:
You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry.
Are you interested in cities and how they are developed? Do you like to think creatively about how urban spaces might work better for people? Are you concerned about social problems in cities and how we tackle the injustices that come with city life?
Our BA Urban Studies programme is a three year honours degree that gives you the opportunity to study the urban and built environment using cutting-edge theories and practices in politics, economics, design, sociology and geography. You'll develop a deep critical awareness of how cities work - and when they don't - and how the fortunes of city dwellers around the world can depend on the actions of global financiers, national politicians, and community activists.
We teach you key analytical and practical skills to prepare you for the workplace. We also allow you to specialise in the aspects of the subject that most interest you.
We also offer the flexibility to transfer between BA Urban Studies and MPlan Urban Studies and Planning, a year or more into your studies.
You can also spend part of your course in another country such as the USA, Denmark, France or Italy.
A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.
Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:
UCAS code: L722
Years: 2022, 2023
- Information and Communication Skills
The skills needed to be able to find, evaluate, summarise and critically evaluate information are all vital to success in an undergraduate degree programme, and are also key transferable skills. This module provides basic knowledge of a range of methods for information-gathering and forms of communication. The teaching is delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials and seminars, with students expected to take more responsibility for their own learning as the module progresses. Lectures provide basic knowledge on method for information gathering and forms of communication, whilst seminars, tutorials and a range of exercises are used to develop these skills10 credits
- Contemporary urban challenges
This module will address the range of challenges contained within the Sustainable Development Goals for cities attempting to transition towards sustainable urban development. You will be introduced to sustainability challenges and the planning and urban professional response to these in a range of specific cities. You will then conduct your own research on one of these case study cities to evaluate its response, and the wider lessons to be learned from it about transitions towards sustainable development.10 credits
- Cities, Places and People
The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to Sheffield with a particular focus on place, people, the local economy and urban change. You will be introduced to some of the theories, techniques and data that planners use in their efforts to understand and create better places and the module will develop your skills of analysis for assessing the social, economic and environmental qualities of urban places. Through a series of site visits, students will gain an understanding of several different areas in Sheffield so that they develop a broader appreciation of the city's strengths and some of the contemporary challenges that it faces.10 credits
- The Making of Urban Places
This module will introduce you to cities and urbanisation, from the very first settlements to contemporary metropolises, using examples from across the world. The module focuses on thinking about the role of cities within societies and civilisations throughout history. The first half, on the history of urbanisation and urban settlement, looks at how various forces have shaped cities, and the outcomes of urbanisation for cities and their populations. The second half, on contemporary global urbanisation challenges, examines some of the major global challenges facing cities today. Throughout, we will explore influential ideas which have changed our thinking about cities, and look at how urban governments and planners have sought to respond to the challenges of urbanisation.20 credits
- Climate Action
Humans are altering the climate, with significant impacts on livelihoods, wellbeing, equality, and the environment across the globe. While international organisations and governments are crucial in mitigating and adapting to these threats, individual and small group collective action are also essential in creatively exploring how the necessary changes can be realistically and equitably implemented.10 credits
This module uses the community linked to the University as a Living Lab. Focusing on one aspect of daily life in which there is potential for more mitigation or better adaptation, you will identify and plan an investigation or intervention (a 'project') to take a step towards more or better climate action. You will need to justify your choices by elaborating what you would consider success, how you would deliver it, as well as assessing the impact of its wider implementation.
- Urban Economics
This module provides an introduction to economic concepts and theories and to the way in which they are applied to the analysis of selected markets and policy challenges. The module seeks to offer an economic perspective on planning issues by focusing on land market and urban development. The overall aim of the module is to develop students' understanding of the economic environment within which planners and other urban professions operate and to enhance understanding of economic theory and the property market in general.10 credits
- Cities, space and urban design
The module will explore the fundamentals in the mediation and analysis of space. This module introduces the core principles of reading, representing, and interpreting the physical organisation of space in cities, and examines the core components of the spatial environment and how they can be analysed. The module will equip students with basic orthographic projection drawing (a means of representing a three-dimensional object in two dimensions) and analytical skills to explore and make sense of spatial data. Students will also learn the fundamentals of visual communication via posters. Teaching will draw on practical examples, using workshops, lectures, context-based study and student-led site visits to develop skills in analysis of spaces and their design.10 credits
- Development, Planning and the State
The module provides an introduction to spatial planning in theory and practice, exploring arguments for and against spatial planning and the rationale for state intervention into land and property development. The first part of the module covers key debates on the purposes of planning, the historical development of planning as a state activity and the current structure of national, regional and local government. The central part of the module introduces key aspects of the English planning system and key debates about its role and purpose. The final third of the module explores how spatial planning responds to major societal challenges.20 credits
- Professional Skills Development (L1)
* A foundation to articulate the skills-based nature of study in USP.
* An opportunity to recognise the importance of, and your responsibility for, the development of key professional and employability-related skills.
* A series of support sessions to help you get the most out of your learning experience and prepare you for professional employment at the end of your studies.
This module seeks to deliver a range of professional and employability-related skills over the academic year, tailored to each student cohort, to introduce skills development and to tailor support towards the final stages of study.
Optional modules (20 credits from a range of modules including):
- Housing and Home
Issues relating to housing, homes, streets and neighbourhoods that we live in are in the news every day. Whether this is over concerns about housing shortages, affordability, housing bubbles, 'generation rent', social housing, housing evictions, Covid lockdown, city-centre housing, DIY and 'grand designs', or debates about the domestic sphere, 'home as a haven', 'benefit streets', flooding and shack settlements, housing is often at the centre of social science research. This module aims to introduce students to this broad and diverse subject by drawing on the expertise of staff who research across these multiple themes. The module focuses on contemporary concerns, while maintaining an appreciation of the impact of historical trends (e.g. the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/8). The module will make use of cases from the UK and abroad to illustrate trends, arguments and challenges. The module introduced students to various concepts and debates relating to housing, as well as indicating the linkages to housing and urban policy.10 credits
- Cities and Inequality
The main aim of Cities and Inequality is to introduce you to our urban condition in a global context, with particular attention to the multiple forms of inequality that pervade urban life. Drawing on a wide range of expertise within the Department, we will introduce you to a range of key issues in contemporary urban studies and help you to understand more about the roots of urban problems and questions of social differentiation and injustice in a range of global urban contexts. The course also aims to develop students' capacity for comparative urban analysis10 credits
- Living with Environmental Change
This module will introduce students to a wide range of critical environmental issues facing the world today from physical science and social science perspectives. Using a range of environmental problems evident in the Global North and Global South (such as climate change, habit loss, water resources, land-use change, agriculture), the physical and social processes implicated will be examined. Drawing on a range of examples, students will critically explore the causes, consequences, management and solutions to environmental issues and learn how to question assumptions about environmental processes.20 credits
- Why Geography Matters
Geography helps us plan for the future by investigating social and physical processes as they interconnect from the past through to the present. Geographers actively contribute to contemporary debates across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. We address some of the most pressing issues facing the modern world, from climate change to food security, informing policy and practice. The module provides a challenging but accessible insight into the origins of the discipline and how these translate into the cutting edge of contemporary geographical research, and how this helps us understand our changing world. Serving as a bridge between the general introductory modules, and the more specialist modules taught at levels 2 and 3, this module provides an opportunity for students to engage with topical issues in contemporary human and physical geography led by academics actively engaged in cutting edge research on those subjects. Because you will be exposed to a wide range of topical areas and multiple approaches to these you will have the opportunity to enhance your understanding of the contexts and perspectives that inform decision making and how those decisions can result in greater or lesser social justice. You will also be able to develop your ability to apply knowledge to real world examples.20 credits
- Exploring Human Geographies
The module provides an introduction to key principles, relations and processes that contribute to social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of human geography. It looks at spatial patterns of power, inequality and interdependence produced by economic and cultural globalisation, how those are experienced at the local scale, and how they have changed over time. It outlines key concepts and current debates shaping how human geographers approach these issues by drawing on examples from around the world and at a variety of geographical scales. It highlights the value of a geographical perspective on the world we live in.20 credits
- Education, Power and Society: Introduction to the Sociology of Education
This module explores the relationship between educational institutions/cultures/systems and social inequalities. We focus on class, gender, ethnicity and disability and look at the ways in which education systems serve to tackle or reproduce patterns of inequality and relations of power. The module also evaluates different policy frameworks and goals. For example, whether the focus of education policy should be placed on nurturing active citizenship (and what this would look like) or whether the main priority should be to serve the needs of the economy (and how this might be achieved).20 credits
- Introducing Criminology
Crime is a major social problem in virtually all societies. In this module, sociological understandings of crime are discussed, often with reference to their implications for policy. The module will introduce you to major research about crime in contemporary Britain and help you to understand the contribution of sociology to its analysis. This module will be of value to anyone thinking about a career in the criminal justice services, journalism, public service, the voluntary sector and anyone interested in understanding the significance of crime in contemporary British society10 credits
- Introduction to Media and Communication in Society
This module examines the relationship between media and society. It examines the nature of influence and persuasion, representation, ownership, and identity in contemporary media environments.10 credits
- Gender, Sexuality and Society
This unit intends to address the following questions regarding gender and sexuality and their interaction with society: What do we mean by gender and sexuality? How do we do gender and sexuality? How do we see gender and sexuality? How do we control gender and sexuality?10 credits
- Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
Whether you're a journalist writing stories for the public, or a social research analyst working in government, you need to be able to understand, use and present data. This 10 credit module aims to demystify data and encourage critical thinking on statistics; often wrongly used, and sometimes in very misleading ways. The module will equip you with the knowledge and skills you'll need to become a discerning data user, through engaging teaching, active learning and examples from the news media. The module is comprised of a mix of lectures and computer workshops and is assessed through a multiple choice exam.10 credits
- Social Psychology I
This module will provide an overview of the fundamentals of social psychology. The module will introduce and explain key theories and research, and their application, for understanding social psychological phenomena. Content is organised around two themes: How people think (Semester 1), and how people feel and behave (Semester 2). The module will include lectures that will provide opportunities to learn how to critically evaluate social psychological research and theories, as well as to describe how social psychology theory can be applied to address real world issues.20 credits
- Urban Design and Place-Making
The overall aim of the module is to improve students' understanding and critical appreciation of the ideas, practices and techniques of urban design, focusing particularly on the contemporary context for place-making.20 credits
- Spatial Analysis
The aims of the module are to provide students with a broad introduction to the basic concepts of GIS and how they can be used for the spatial analysis of a wide range of data for planning purposes. The assessments will (a) test students' individual understanding of key concepts and their ability to think about the potentials and limitations of using spatial analysis to solve planning related problems; and (b) assess students' skills in the practical application of GIS and spatial analysis to a contemporary planning-related problem.20 credits
- Urban Theory
This module aims to develop student's imaginative engagement with the nature of urban life and human settlement. Urban theory refers to writing and thinking devoted to 'seeing' and understanding urban life - ideas are critical to how we engage with the key features and problems of the urban world. Theory is also important to our understanding of how cities work in practice - how we understand and view urban life is critical to the development of cities and to efforts seeking to make them more socially just, sustainable and better places to live. Urban Theory introduces a range of ideas and key concepts in urban studies with a view to understanding how cities have developed and how they 'work' in broad terms. The module considers a range of thinkers, ideas and problems.20 credits
- Researching the city: applied skills for practice
Level Two study of urban design, urban management, social research methods and the distinctiveness of place is enhanced by learning about how to conduct research in urban context. Students taking this module will consider various topics, such as the impact of planning policy, flood management, urban ethnicity and social segregation, housing developments, or issues in the use of public space, through learning about and, circumstances permitting, conducting field investigation. They will be introduced to a range of qualitative and quantitative research skills and techniques, as well as interpretative methods.20 credits
- Professional Skills Development (L2)
This module will provide a space for you to consider, plan and reflect on your personal and professional development as you complete your degree programme. It will support you to identify and reflect on the professional and technical skills gained through your other modules as well as the transferable skills covered in the Sheffield Graduate Attributes. It will provide information, advice and support in order to help you get the most out of your learning experience and, through developing self-awareness and reflective skills, to prepare for professional employment or higher-level study. It will also provide an opportunity for you to practice some of the skills required for success in the recruitment process.
- Sustainable Development and Global Justice
Development in the Global South is a major issue of international concern in the 21st century. This module explores contemporary development issues and examines the contribution that geographers, and geographical thought, can make towards understanding inequality, poverty and socio-economic change. Definitions of 'development', 'poverty' and 'the poor' shift and are invested with political meaning which reflect specific geographies and ways of seeing the world: students develop critical understandings of such terminology and the power dynamics implicit within them. This module addresses diverse theories, paradigms and contemporary critiques of development, and explores some of the central issues affecting processes of development. Case examples are drawn from Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia.20 credits
- Culture, Space and Difference
This research-led module introduces students to the cutting edge of Social and Cultural Geography and dovetails with the Sheffield Geography Department’s Culture, Space and Difference research group. The module illustrates the diversity and vitality of contemporary social and cultural geography including some of the philosophical concepts and theoretical debates that have shaped the subject. The module aims to deepen and enrich the ways in which students are able to think about geographical issues, through a critical understanding of concepts and approaches that underpin the substance and methods of contemporary human geography. The module team work with students to develop their own ‘photo essays’ - which bring the ideas of the module to students’ experiences from everyday life.20 credits
- The Sociology of Crime
Crime, and processes of criminalisation, are major features of all societies. Since the 19th Century, sociologists have developed a range of criminological theories to explain ‘criminality’. This module will review the historical development of a range of theoretical approaches to the study of crime; consider how sociologists have studied the primary institutions of social control such as the police and prisons; and examine the contribution of the sociology of crime to issues of contemporary significance20 credits
- Dynamics of Social Change and Policy
This unit adopts a 'sociological perspective on social policy' to provide a macro perspective on contemporary social and economic transformations in the UK and globally, with a particular emphasis on the challenges posed for social policy theory and practice, as well as the potential to imagine alternative social policy scenarios. Issues considered include: globalisation, neoliberalism, falling fertility and ageing societies, precarious labour markets and migration and mobility. The unit adopts a comparative and international / global perspective, variously emphasising not only the perspectives of International Organisations, but also the challenges faced by other types of welfare regimes.20 credits
- Territory, Power and Policy
The module introduces students to contemporary debates within political geography, addressing political processes at a variety of spatial scales, from international, national, local and community politics through to individual political behaviour. Questions of power, efficacy and conflict are examined at all these scales with particular emphasis on the spatial and place-specific aspects of politics in relation to issues including: geopolitics and international relations; the state and territoriality; the politics of nationalism and citizenship; civic activism; and individual political participation.20 credits
- Who Gets What? Social Justice and the Environment
Environmental issues continue to be a key area of contemporary public concern and current political debate. They raise fundamental questions about the relationship between society and environment, and the politics and equity of that relationship. This module provides a geographical introduction to these issues and debates with examples from a range of scales from the global to the local. It also considers the role of stakeholders and how they benefit or are disadvantaged by policy that seeks to address issues to do with the environment-society relationship. The module then develops these core ideas through inter-related sections covering debates focused on different empirical themes.20 credits
- Urban Culture and Conflict: The Making of Modern Cities
Cities are sites of social conflict and cultural production. The links between these two facets of modern urban experience have long fascinated scholars seeking to understand the cultural history of the urban imagination. In this module you will explore different ways artists, intellectuals, political activists, ordinary people and other thinkers have sought to understand and explain various experiences of and conflicts over urban life. You will learn to situate the relationships between sensory perceptions, aesthetic judgments and power relations in their own place and time. This module will draw from historical, cultural, social, and political geographies as well as other disciplines to engage with the shifting nature and spatiality of these relationships through case studies of selected cities, the particular changes in urban culture they occasioned, contemporary responses to those changes, and the theoretical debates they inspired. Key topics will include urban form and architecture, cultural difference and social inequality, representational practices and bodily experiences, and the overall consciousness of change in cities over the past two centuries.20 credits
- Social Problems: Policy and Practice
This team taught unit adopts a 'sociological approach to social policy'. Drawing on current examples and comparative references, it explores social and ideological constructions of social problems and the role of the state and other agencies in responses to them. It explores key concepts and themes in social policy and practice such as inequality, justice and fairness; individual versus collective responsibility; and welfare versus social control. It focuses on major contemporary issues, including welfare and work; housing and homelessness; and community participation. The unit aims to equip students with the necessary critical perspective and skills to understand and explore social problems.20 credits
- Cities, Violence and Security
Introduces students to key examples of violence, conflict and insecurity in urban contexts around the world. The course focuses on efforts to make better and safer places and seeks to develop student understanding of the political, economic and social drivers of human insecurity in urban settings. Examples of urban violence and crime, policing, forced evictions, domestic violence, terrorism, gangs and the rise of gated communities and other modes of design and control to produced securitised urban spaces are discussed and analysed in their effectiveness.20 credits
- Planning, Viability and Development
This module explores the real estate development process and the various influences on the viability of successful development projects. It examines the structure of real estate markets, the roles and objectives of the various stakeholders involved in real estate development, the main aspects of real estate development appraisal and the ways which planning, risk and design influence profitability. Students will work towards recommending a development proposal that offers the greatest likelihood of a successful outcome and in doing so, learn to balance the competing demands of planning, viability and real estate development.20 credits
- Future Cities
This module will introduce students to conceptual and policy debates that frame possible urban futures. It will develop students' understanding of the emerging contemporary practices and challenges that are transforming cities, such as smart cities, fantasy urban planning, eco-cities, cities and technology and cities and the super rich. It will also expose students to a range of case studies that present urban issues and processes from both the Global North and the Global South.20 credits
- Housing and Urban Inequalities
The aims of this Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) accredited module are to build on substantive knowledge, theory and skills about housing. Emphasis is placed on policy, practice, strategy analysis and understanding the links between housing, planning, social policies and outcomes at national, regional and local levels. The module further aims to: increase understanding of contemporary issues and debates in housing and housing policy and strategies; understand the causes and manifestations of problems, dilemmas and conflicts in housing systems and policy processes; and to develop abilities to synthesise and apply knowledge by understanding and critically assessing potential policy approaches to addressing housing problems.20 credits
- Professional Skills Development (L3)
This module will provide a space for you to consider, plan and reflect on your personal and professional development as you complete your degree programme. It will support you to identify and reflect on the professional and technical skills gained through your other modules as well as the transferable skills covered in the Sheffield Graduate Attributes. It will provide information, advice and support in order to help you get the most out of your learning experience and, through developing self-awareness and reflective skills, to prepare for professional employment or higher-level study. It will also provide an opportunity to learn advanced skills required for success in the recruitment process.
This module allows students to develop and manage an individual research project. Building on their topic idea paper (submitted for TRP215) where they identified a research topic of interest, students will refine their topic selection, develop an appropriate research design to address this, and conduct primary or secondary research to provide critical insight and analysis of the research issue. The module aims to develop students' skills in scoping and refining an appropriate research topic, and expand and deepen their knowledge of social research methods, in order to support them to design and undertake an appropriate and feasible programme of research. The module will contribute to a deeper understanding of the role of research in relation to theoretical and practical dimensions of urban studies and planning, and will allow students to deepen their own knowledge in a chosen field of specialist planning concern. The module will be of interest and practical use to students in carrying out their individual research projects, and in introducing a range of research, analytical and writing skills that will be useful in future careers.40 credits
- Plan making and development
This is an applied project module that provides a thorough grounding in the processes of strategic planning, drawing together and integrating skills developed through Levels 1-3.20 credits
- Sustainable Cities
This module aims to help students understand current agendas and approaches to environmental and infrastructure planning. The module is set within the context of sustainability and green infrastructure and considers the role of urban planning and design in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Students will make use of urban design and GIS approaches to develop a master-plan that responds to the urban challenges posed by climate change.20 credits
- Transport and Infrastructure Planning
This module will provide students with an introduction to planning and policymaking in relation to the provision of transport and other types of infrastructure. The module develops students' ability to think critically about the framing of transport and infrastructure policy using an appreciation of historic developments, current practices and debates, transport and infrastructure planning examples from the UK and abroad. It will focus on how planners working at a range of spatial scales can give shape to effective transport and infrastructure strategies, which balance a range of environmental, social and economic objectives.20 credits
- Planning Law
This course will provide a thorough introduction to the rationale, purposes and values that underpin the legal control of development, including the legal framework for the English planning system and the procedures for the control of development in the English planning system20 credits
- Democracy and Citizenship: Dilemmas and Tensions
This module explores how a geographical approach helps us to analyse events such as controversial election results, divisive immigration policies, and contentious social activism. The two key concepts of democracy and citizenship are used to engage with contemporary debates and theories to draw out the links between geography, policy and society, and the ways in which these are responded to by citizens, communities, civil society, and political parties. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which these interactions are played out across and through multiple scales, from the global to our everyday lives.20 credits
- Consumption and Sustainability
In this module we critically engage both ‘consumption’ and ‘sustainability’ and work with key debates and approaches that help us to understand what produces and maintains patterns of consumption. We will examine some key debates about material culture and mass consumption. The module studies the social relationships which come together around consumption at a variety of scales, from the body and the home to the national and the trans-national. What can different current approaches tell us about how we can move towards sustainable and socially just patterns of consumption while enjoying a good life?20 credits
- Decolonising Geographies
This module examines Indigenous geographies through Indigenous storytelling and film as a way to understand the need to decolonise geography. It examines how race, racism, Indigenous rights, settler colonialism, settler responsibility, white supremacy, land rights, dispossession and genocide shape geographies of place, space and landscape, as well as more affirmative visions of Indigenous futures. Topics covered include geographies of identity, emotions, memory, racism, colonialism, gender, landscape, and visual representation. The aim of this module is to centre Indigenous narratives, voices and knowledge to understand geography differently while simultaneously critiquing the current whiteness of academic geographical discourse. Trigger warning - this module engages with potentially distressing and challenging themes of rape, murder, abuse, loss and violence.20 credits
- Challenging Development
The aim of this module is to critically examine the development process within a global context, drawing on examples from developed and developing nations. Attention is given to the different ways in which we in the West understand 'development', and how we can reflect more critically on our position, and the power relations within this process. Drawing on debates within development geography, and other disciplines, the course is structured around three themes: the development industry, the poverty agenda and the local-global nexus. Topics covered may include: neoliberalism and state governance, humanitarian intervention, gender and empowerment, protests and social movements, corporate social responsibility, participation and empowerment, local forms of resistance, environmental action and change.20 credits
- Creative Geographies: Media, Imaginaries and Politics
Place, in all its forms, has long inspired creativity, while the works that result are themselves inherently spatial. This module will explore work from several historical and contemporary creative movements and associated cultural producers in context. Why did their work arise where it did? What difference did that place (or places) make to their aesthetic thought and expression? How was space itself integral to their creative work? This module will guide students through the intricate relationship between art across various media, geography, and the political. Emphasis will be put on specific types of space and place as sites and mediums of aesthetic thought and creative practice. Core themes will include identity, place and displacement, historical imaginations and the built environment, and creativity and socio-spatial transformation.20 credits
- Sociology of Health, Illness and Medicine
This module explores sociological aspects of health, illness and medicine. It will focus on issues of health inequality exploring the ways in which patterns of health and disease vary according to class, gender and race. It also provides a critical examination of biomedicine, highlighting the contemporary challenges faced by medicine as a profession. Furthermore, it will focus on new dynamic developments in science and medicine linking health with the Internet and exploring the rise of the new genetics. The aim of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of the role of health, illness and medicine within contemporary society.20 credits
- Perspectives on inequalities
This module is co-taught with local agency, community and family members. It asks students to think about the everyday experiences of inequality. It explores some of the core theoretical frameworks for interrogating inequality, and then explores everyday reality to apply the theories and concepts. The involvement of practitioners, community members and families means that the module is interactive and requires full attendance, in order to ensure a respectful experience for external contributors.20 credits
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
Learning and assessment
In order to help you develop the practical skills you will need as an urban professional, we typically offer a core field class in your second year. You will also have the option to spend a part of your degree studying at one of our overseas partner universities.
You'll be able to access course-related software such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software as well as cutting edge facilities including our virtual reality (VR) studio.
All our teaching is research-led. Our teaching staff are world-leading researchers and experts in their field: in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the Department of Urban Studies and Planning was ranked as the #1 RTPI-accredited planning school in the UK.
Our expertise ranges from UK and international planning to real estate, geographical information systems (GIS) and global urban development.
Our courses are assessed through exams, group work, live projects, policy reports, essays and independent studies.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
A Levels + additional qualifications BBB + B in a social science related EPQ; BBB + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 33
BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject
BTEC Diploma DD + B at A Level
Scottish Highers AAABB
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB
Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit
GCSE Maths grade 4/C
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
A Levels + additional qualifications BBB + B in a social science related EPQ; BBB + B in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 32
BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in a relevant subject
BTEC Diploma DD + B at A Level
Scottish Highers AABBB
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB
Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction and 21 at Merit
GCSE Maths grade 4/C
You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
We're an internationally-renowned centre of excellence for the study of planning, urban studies and real estate, which includes environmental policy and international development. We help make better, healthier and more sustainable places.
We're the top-rated Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)-accredited planning school in the UK, according to the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
Our courses will equip you with the knowledge and skills to build a successful career in planning and other urban studies and environmental professions.
Our students are at the heart of a vibrant academic community, contributing to the department through our student-staff committee, evaluation processes and involvement in organised events.
Our staff are approachable and we have an excellent staff-student ratio, resulting in a genuinely friendly and inclusive academic environment. Our cutting-edge research feeds directly into our teaching, and you’ll be taught by world-leading academics in urban studies and planning.
We have an intellectual reputation for theoretical strength, especially in the fields of urban inequalities and social justice. Alongside this, many of our staff are involved in practical projects with a commitment to producing positive change in the world.
We work with national governments, international bodies such as the UN, research councils, private business, the voluntary sector, and local communities in Sheffield, the UK and abroad.
We're a supportive and friendly department where academics and students interact on a day-to-day basis. For this reason, we operate an open door policy and students do not need to book an appointment to talk to their lecturers.
Our award-winning building sits in the beautiful surroundings of Weston Park, alongside one of the main University libraries.
Urban Studies and Planning students at Sheffield enjoy exclusive access to their own flexible study space, including high-spec networked computers with the latest specialist design and mapping software, as well as dedicated virtual reality (VR) and design facilities.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A top 100 university
QS World University Rankings 2023
92 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories
Research Excellence Framework 2021
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
National Student Survey 2022
Research Excellence Framework 2021
The Guardian University Guide 2023
The Complete University Guide 2023
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Our Placements, Employability and External Relations team maintains close links with external organisations to ensure that you have access to the world of work. This supports you in gaining an insight into many different professions.
A dedicated Professional Skills module will help develop your career plans and can support you in finding work experience and completing a placement year, which will help you gain practical experience in the workplace.
Most of our graduates go on to work in planning or a related career in the built environment professions, including housing, transport planning, real estate, development control, forward planning, regeneration, urban design, heritage and conservation.
Recent graduates have gone on to work for public and private sector organisations such as AECOM, Arup, CBRE, Deloitte, Harrow London Borough Council, Sheffield City Council and the Lake District National Park Authority. More than half of our graduate planners take up posts with planning consultancies and several are employed by major global built environment firms.
Our alumni frequently return to the department to give talks on cutting-edge planning topics. Several alumni sit on our Liaison Board, ensuring our courses are in tune with the needs of employers. Many alumni work at organisations which can offer work placements, or deliver guest lectures within our modules and attend other events.
Fees and funding
The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.
Funding your study
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.
Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.
University open days
We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.
Apply for this course
Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.
Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.
The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.