Town Planning MSc

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)


January, September

Full-time - January start, 15 months. September start, 12 months.

Part-time - January start, 33 months. September start, 28 months.


Our Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) accredited course will provide you with comprehensive training and practical experience for a rewarding career in urban and suburban planning.

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Full description


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We take pride in giving our graduates a great start as highly-qualified urban and suburban planners, whose knowledge and experience are well matched to the current needs of the industry. You’re also in the perfect position to continue your academic career and move up to our Built Environment PhD.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Planning - Principles and Concepts
    You'll be introduced to the central concepts which define contemporary practice and research in spatial planning, encouraging you to develop a conceptual framework to underpin the purposes and nature of spatial planning. The social, economic, political and environmental contexts for planning, including their theoretical approaches, are studied through a series of cross-cutting concepts drawing on the multi-disciplinary foundations; this is developed into an exploration of theories of planning and the nature of planning as a process and as a profession.
  • Plan Making and Policy
    The module is designed to introduce you to the core aspects of planning activity and assist in the development of a critical and practical understanding of the contextual and conceptual framework within which spatial planning operates in urban and rural contexts. The purpose and nature of spatial planning is debated, including its origins in the European Community, contemporary changes, and its application across and within the UK and abroad.
  • Planning Implementation
    You'll explore ways in which strategic plans and development frameworks can be transformed into a sustainable reality. Developing an understanding of the legal, regulatory and policy framework governing land and property development in the UK, development management and appeals, environmental assessment, financial appraisal, regeneration practices, partnerships, community empowerment, equality and diversity objectives.
  • Planning and Society
    You'll focus on the social and political context for planning in the UK, including planning as a construct of the prevailing social, economic and governmental extant policies that define planning; you'll unpick the relationship between planning and society. Social and political contexts are discussed in detail and their impact upon the nature of planning as a process and as a profession is explored.
  • Site Studies and Urban Design
    Gain an understanding of the inseparable nature of the place and its context, a 'sense of place', and how this affects the design of new buildings and place-making that contribute to the built environment. You’ll study the primary elements that form the physical environment in its historic, present and future context are studied, together with the relative legal and planning constraints that affect the built environment. You’ll survey, study, investigate and evaluate a real site or building, and develop the ability to analyse and evaluate elements of townscape, in particular the design elements that contribute to urban form and place shaping. You’ll examine planning policy and guidance, and design procedures and processes. You’ll develop a design brief for a selected site, proposing a new building and placing it within the context of the existing townscape. Finally, you’ll improve your drawing and sketching skills to enhance your understanding of the place, spaces between buildings, and the urban environment.
  • Sustainability and Environmental Management
    Here, you’ll look at wider developments in environmental protection and how these affect construction, as well as how construction affects them. You’ll also examine the demands that greater environmental awareness places on the built environment.
  • Research Design and Methods
    Gain an in-depth understanding of the theories and methods of research and research design and develop a theoretical and practical foundation in research for your major project/dissertation. You’ll get an understanding of a range of approaches to research, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, together with an understanding of a number of specific research methods. You’ll develop your knowledge of research design in order to critically consider the design for your research project, including preparing your proposal and considering ethics and ethical issues.
  • Dissertation
    You'll chose an independent research topic from an area of expertise within our department (subject to availability of suitable supervision) and will conduct a significant research project in that area which may involve a literature review, data collection, analysis and a write-up.

Optional modules

  • Housing and Planning
    You'll consider the development of housing and the relationship between this and planning, developing the ability to critically analyse planning policy and practice, together with the consideration of new policies for housing. You'll develop a good knowledge and understanding of the constraints, goals, methods and procedures of planning and housing professionals.
  • Project Management Techniques
    You'll develop a systematic understanding of a range of operations management techniques that are applicable to projects, enabling you to critically evaluate the project needs and to select and apply appropriate techniques to address these. With the demand for continuous improvement, production systems such as lean and agile will be considered alongside a range of other work study and other performance improvement techniques. You'll develop a thorough understanding of the concepts of risk and risk management to identify and manage project risks throughout the project life cycle. Teaching will enable you to critically analyse and evaluate risks and determine their influence on the evolution, design, technology, management and financial aspects of a project.
  • Facilities Management of Heritage Buildings
    Our module has been designed as a 'consultancy project' to introduce the concepts of professional facilities management, enabling students to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge and competencies required to critically analyse facilities management programmes and audits. To aid organisational efficiency, the module looks at ways in which more effective use can be made of buildings and building systems.


We’ll assess your progress in a number of ways, including coursework, presentations, group work and workshops, examination and a research-based dissertation.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2015/16 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2015/16 (per year part-time)


International students, 2015/16 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year part time)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

There's no statutory funding for postgraduate study. However, we offer a number of scholarships and we've put together guidance on where to start researching funding options.

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements are for January 2016 and September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online