rtpiMSc Urban and Regional Planning


Our 12 month MSc course in planning is an innovative course aimed at enabling students from a wide range of backgrounds to gain the skills and knowledge relevant to a career in planning.

The course is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), allowing you to become a chartered member of the Institute once necessary RTPI practice requirements have been met.  The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has a bursary for places on this accredited planning course. You can find more information on applying for the bursary here.

With our help, you'll develop your knowledge of the world in which you will practice as a planner.

You'll engage with and critically evaluate concepts and ideas about urban and rural communities and you will bring together theory and practice to imagine new opportunities to enhance urban and rural living.  As one of our graduates you will be equipped for a career at the forefront of this field.  You'll also be guaranteed a work placement in a local authority or planning consultancy.  

Initially you'll be given a grounding in the core skills required of planners, and will then apply this in the spring semester in a real-life project. You'll also get the chance to specialise by choosing from a wide range of option modules and a fully-supervised dissertation completes the year.

The course itself was really enjoyable. There was an amazing mix of people from a wide range of backgrounds; the staff were friendly and approachable

Kirsten Marsh

Course Structure

Please note, this is an indicative selection of our option modules and availability varies each year.

Autumn Semester

The first semester provides an introduction to planning and its practice at a variety of spatial scales. The modules link together around the theme of understanding these scales and how planners might act in these.

Students choose:

TRP6401 Spatial Planning Systems (15 credits)

Covers planning systems at different spatial scales and explores the operation of planning systems, their legal basis and the political context in which planning decisions are made. An innovative 'simulation exercise' will deepen your understanding of the practice of planning.


TRP631 Urban Development in the Global South (15 credits)

In this module students will explore in detail particular challenges to urban planning and development in the global South: how are conflicting imperatives of ecological sustainability, social inclusion and economic competitiveness being balanced by practitioners, and what implications does this have for those living there?


TRP6402 Perspectives on Spatial Planning and Development (15 credits)
Focuses on the diverse economic, social and geographical contexts in which planning operates. This will be developed through group and individual work focusing on understanding the diverse contexts in which planners make policies and strategies within a 'real-life' sub-region of the UK.

TRP6403 Values in Planning (15 credits)
Looks at planning practice and shows how theory might be used to inform our understanding of it. The professional roles and dilemmas faced by planners will be explored, partly through reflection on a short work placement.

TRP6404 Research Methods (15 credits)
Develops core skills essential to undertaking research in planning. Includes grounding in quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as helping understand the types of research carried out and used by planners.

Spring Semester

The second semester allows you to develop and apply the skills and knowledge gained through the autumn semester as well as start to focus on specialist areas of planning.

Students choose:

TRP6405 Integrated Project (30 credits)

This will help apply your recently-acquired knowledge and skills to a real-life planning issue. The project will develop your skills in urban design, policy-making and property development and help you apply these to a real-life scenario. You will be working alongside students from our MA in Property as well as planning professionals to develop your response to a planning problem.


TRP 613 Urban Design in the Global South (15 credits) and TRP614 International Field Class* (15 credits)

The TRP613 module, which is directly linked to the International Field Class, enables students to develop core skills in site appraisal and urban design in the context of developing country cities. Building on your understanding of planning and international development acquired in autumn, it will introduce you to urban design skills and tools for application during the international field class.

Through the field class the project will develop your skills in site analysis, urban design and policy-making and help you to apply these to real-life urban development and design scenarios. The project will also give you direct contact with academics and students from a partner institution as you develop your understanding of and responses to planning and development problems.

*The costs for the field trip are not covered in the tuition fee. You can expect a cost of approximately £700 - £800 which will include most travel costs, visa, accommodation and a B&B. You will also have to budget for food and some travel during the field trip. The costs, and therefore the estimates given, are entirely dependent on the destination and may vary and be subject to change.


Choice of two option modules (15 credits each) from:

TRP6013 Cities of Diversity
TRP6014 Cities of the South: Planning for Informality
TRP6019 Governance and Participation in the Global South
TRP617 Sustainable Development: A Critical Perspective
TRP618 Transport Planning
TRP621 Advanced GIS Methods
TRP6211 Issues in Housing* 
TRP624 International Real Estate Planning
TRP627 GIS for Built Environment Professionals
TRP6280 Public Participation
TRP6306 Planning Law
TRP633 International Urban Development Consultancy Project
TRP6408 Advanced Software Skills for Urban Design
TRP651 Managing Cities: The Seoul Case Study

*This module has been validated by The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and counts as credit towards Chartered membership (CIHCM).


TRP6406 Dissertation (60 credits)
The dissertation will let you explore a topic in detail with the individual guidance of your personal supervisor. It will help you develop specialist knowledge and skills as well as personal, generic and research skills.


As part of the MSc opportunities are available to undertake a one-week placement in a public sector organisation. Any costs (i.e. travel costs) with regards to the placement are not part of the course fees.

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 changes the University will consult and inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Admissions Criteria

The normal entry requirement for the MSc Urban and Regional Planning is a good honours degree, normally a First or Upper Second Class degree or its international equivalent. However, we recognise the value of experience and welcome applications from people who have been in practice or who bring other experience to their studies. We do not stipulate a prior or undergraduate degree in a particular subject and welcome applications from students who have a keen interest in planning, a commitment to work in the field and strong academic credentials. We treat each application individually and on its own merits. Applicants who were not taught in English for their first degree will be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency.

English Language Requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Further information about English Language requirements for postgraduate study

The Application Process

To apply for a place on the MSc Urban and Regional Planning, please fill in an application form. Further details about how to apply are available here:

How to apply

Open Days

More information about Departmental Open Days, including forthcoming dates, can be found via the link below:

University Open Days

The Department is committed to a policy of equality of opportunity in the application process and wishes to ensure a diversity of students on its courses. It therefore particularly welcomes applications from people from non-standard academic backgrounds, from people with relevant employment experience, from minority ethnic students, from women, from mature students and from students with disabilities.

International Pathway Programmes

Our International College provides international students with pathway programmes for progression to degree study at the University.


Your Career


Students graduating with an MSc Urban and Regional Planning are popular with a wide range of employers. Our graduates have found jobs in many leading organisations. Many others have gone on to work in private and public services or in business. The MSc Urban and Regional Planning gives you the ability to analyse, propose policies and implement strategies which is vital experience in moving forward to employment. You will also learn a wide variety of generic management and communication skills which is essential for any working environment. The transferable skills you develop in strategic thinking, teamwork, creativity and communication are exactly what most employers are seeking in almost any area in which you may subsequently decide to develop your career.  The employability of our graduates is of paramount importance to us. Maximising employability underpins our course design and all our modules. We further enhance our graduates' employability through additional activities. 

Read some of graduate employment stories.

Kevin Thurlow

"I am currently working as a policy planner for the Structure Plans Team at Aberdeenshire Council. So far the work has been incredibly varied and I have been tackling both conceptual issues (related to the forthcoming changes to the Scottish Planning system) as well as everyday planning work (related to producing policy responses for strategically important applications). My time at Sheffield enabled me to get to grips with the job quickly, which has been very important due to the sheer volume of work! Indeed, knowledge of the some of the concepts I was introduced to on the postgraduate course proved useful when I was asked some tricky questions during my interview. For those interested in pursuing a career in planning, I can highly recommend the course at Sheffield."

Helen Blenkham

"The MSc was a valuable experience that provided me with the knowledge and skills to work in planning and the opportunity to apply for jobs across a wide range of sectors. I'm enjoying my job, I'm learning new things every day and putting into practice the skills I developed on the course such as preparing planning documents and carrying out research. I know that all this is setting me in good stead for wherever I go next, whether that's another local authority position or one of the many other organisations where my experience will be relevant such as Natural England, English Heritage or The National Trust."

Zafer Faqir

"I am now working as a Planner for Leicester City Council's development control department. The job is very rewarding with lots of team working interwoven within managing own workloads and being your own boss. The workload is incredibly varied and really pushes you in every regard. The course has provided a solid skills base that forces you to think creatively, laterally whilst challenging everything to achieve the very best. The course has really been nothing short of fantastic in this regard with the theoretical angle allowing me to really think about the wider impacts of my decisions in ways I would never have envisaged."

Joanna Keeson

"The diversity of the option modules enabled us to pursue our particular interests, aiding us in our Planning career choices. I am now working as a Transport Planner for Transport for London, focusing on the London bus network. My USP background was essential in getting the post, and the principles I learned on the course will prove invaluable to my role as I consider the transport implications of development proposals."

More Graduate Profiles

Study Abroad

Some of our students have the opportunity to study abroad during the course. As part of the Socrates-Erasmus Programme, students on the course are able to study for the Spring Semester in four institutions in Denmark, France or Italy. We have long-standing student exchange links with all institutions in these cities. Students studying in one of these four institutions will cover the same ground as those in Sheffield. More particularly, all students will engage in integrated project work related to urban development in the country of their choice. Students on the course are able to study for the Spring Semester at one of four institutions:

  1. Aalborg, Denmark: Department of Development and Planning, University of Aalborg
  2. Lyon, France: Institut d’urbanisme de Lyon, Université Lumière-Lyon 2
  3. Lyon, France: Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, Lyon
  4. Milan, Italy: Politecnico di Milano

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning has long-standing student exchange links with all four institutions. Students studying in one of these four institutions will cover the same ground as those in Sheffield. More particularly, all students will engage in integrated project work related to urban development in the country of their choice.

This route through the MSc Urban and Regional Planning has been fully-accredited by the RTPI.

For more information about Study Abroad options contact Berna Keskin