The Bartlett School of Planning


MPlan City Planning

This two-year MPlan programme offers an in-depth, academically informed introduction to the professional practice of city planning.

About the course

The MPlan City Planning is a two-year taught full-time Master's degree. It explores both domestic and international planning practice and culture, and offers the opportunity to further embed learning through either a term spent in planning practice, or at an international partner institution.

The degree offers home and international students who are graduates of any undergraduate discipline an in-depth, academically informed introduction to the professional practice of planning, with modules responding to the key themes of planning systems and cultures, the pillars of planning, space, place and design, independent research, and the opportunity to further specialise through elective modules. 

The MPlan City Planning:

  • Provides students with an academically based vocational education in City Planning;
  • Equips students with the knowledge, theory, skills and values required to become effective professional planners both in the UK and internationally;
  • Offers specialist courses based on the research expertise of the staff in the department;
  • Offers a principle and theory driven programme, which gives students both conceptual understanding, and the skills needed to tackle practical problems; and
  • Emphasises the importance of a spatial and comparative perspective to City Planning, the need for integrated solutions to planning problems for planning cities and regions, and the need for creative  and research based solutions to the management of our built and natural environments.

The degree includes both core modules, providing an introduction to key knowledge, and specialist modules, allowing you to tailor your studies to your interests.

In the second term of Year 2 of the MPlan, you will have the option to study outside of the UK in one of our partner universities, in which you will take a number of modules in planning and urban studies to the amount of 45 UCL credits. Alternatively, you can take a work placement in the UK. We have signed a number of reciprocal student exchange agreements with high-quality planning departments and schools in a range of universities around the world (all offering modules in English), including the Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris (France), the Ecole Urbaine de Sciences-Po Paris (France), the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), the Czech Technical University (Prague), the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), KTH Stockholm (Sweden), the University of Melbourne (Australia), the University of New South Wales, Sydney (Australia), and the University of Hong Kong. New student exchange agreements are currently under negotiation with partner universities in the USA and Canada.

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Who should apply?

Graduates who wish to make a career in planning, related fields (such as housing, urban regeneration, transport planning or urban design), or teaching and/or research.


The MPlan City Planning is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Further information on accreditation and routes to membership can be obtained from their website.

Why choose The Bartlett?

We offer:

  • a programme that draws on UCL's position as a leading research-led university
  • an opportunity to acquire a broad range of skills and knowledge, while setting foot on the path towards specialisation
  • a principle- and theory-driven programme giving both conceptual understanding and the skills needed to tackle practical problems

More information


The programme is designed around a number of key themes which run through the modular structure (as illustrated by the diagram below):

Planning systems and cultures – students will gain an understanding of the history, culture and practice of city and regional planning in both the UK and in international comparative context;

  • The pillars of planning – students will gain an understanding of the key social science pillars of planning knowledge, namely environment, society, economy and politics, and an appreciation of law and legal regulation and rights in relation to the environment and sustainability;
  • Space, place and design – students will understand planning’s role in place making, the importance of good urban design and the practicalities of spatial plan making; Independent study – student research skills will be enhanced though methods workshops and an in-depth dissertation or major project of 15,000 words; and,
  • Specialisation – the programme allows students to pick two 15 credit modules whilst at UCL from a wide choice of modules offered by both the School of Planning and the Centre for Applied Spatial Analysis (CASA) relating to various planning specialisms or urban analytics.

All of these themes continue throughout term two, year two when students will either spend the entire term studying abroad at an international partner institution or in a work placement (see diagram below).

The programme has 300 UCL credits and has a modular structure comprising seven compulsory core modules, two optional modules (modules which must be chosen from a prescribed list of four modules), and two elective modules (an open choice from modules offered by the School of Planning, or Centre for Applied Spatial Analysis, both within the UCL Faculty of the Built Environment).

A core principle of the programme is that term two of the second year will either be spent undertaking scholarly study on a Masters level planning programme at an international partner institution (thus developing and embedding the theoretical and contextual planning knowledge learnt through the period of prior study at UCL via international comparison, whilst living in a foreign city for a three month or four month period) or undertaking applied research as part of an industry work placement with appropriate planning organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors in and around Greater London (thus developing and embedding the theoretical and contextual planning knowledge learnt through the period of prior study at UCL via reflective practice experience).

Compulsory Modules

Planning Systems and Cultures

  • BPLN0037 Spatial Planning: Concepts and Context (15 credits) 
  • BPLN0055 Planning Practice (15 credits) 
  • BPLN0038 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures (15 credits) 

Pillars of Planning

  • BPLN0002 Pillars of Planning (30 credits)
  • LAWS0042 Land Use, Sustainability and Environmental Justice (15 credits) 

Space, Place and Design

  • BPLN0042 Urban Design: Place making (15 credits) 
  • BPLN0005 Plan Making Studio I (15 credits) 
  • BPLN0006 Plan Making Studio II (15 credits)

Independent Research

  • BPLN0008 Dissertation in City Planning (90 credits) 

Embedded Understanding

  • BPLN0003 Study Abroad in City Planning (45 credits) OR
  • BPLN0007 Work Placement in City Planning (45 credits) 

Elective modules


Students can choose from any postgraduate module at the Bartlett School of Planning or Centre for Applied Spatial Analysis (CASA), but will be signposted towards the following modules which will best complement their studies. Detailed CASA module information can be found on their website.

BPLN0024 Infrastructures as Agents of Change (15 credits) 


BPLN0044 Planning for Housing: Process (15 credits) 


BPLN0048 Participatory Urban Planning (15 credits) 


CASA0005 GI Systems and Science (15 credits)


CASA0001 Smart Systems Theory (15 credits) 


CASA0007 Quantitative Methods (15 credits) 


BPLN0053 Governance for Urban Sustainability: Debates (15 credits) 


BPLN0056 Urban Design: Layout, Density and Typology (15 credits) 


BPLN0065 Urban Problems and Problematics (15 credits) 

Delivery in 2022-23

For the 2021-22 academic year, we have been delivering this programme through ‘blended’ delivery, incorporating some elements face-to-face and some elements online, allowing us to respond to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, for example in case we need to have social distancing in place on the UCL Campus. Elements delivered in person have not been replicated online. Delivery in 2022-23 may also be impacted by the pandemic, however applicants should not expect to be able to complete the programme remotely. Given the practical nature of the programmes we deliver at the Bartlett School of Planning, we do expect the delivery and achievement of core learning outcomes on this degree course to require students to attend in person teaching activity in London.

Field trips

We are hoping to run field trips as part of the programme in 2022-23, however these may be subject to restriction due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, for example we might be able to offer a UK field trip more readily than one to elsewhere in Europe albeit this would normally be our intended destination. Offer holders / enrolled students will be kept updated on our plans.

Usually, the first field trip will be a short, two-day trip to a UK city outside of London in the Reading Week of the first term of year one. This allows students to explore issues in regional planning and the UK traditions of planning as well as providing an opportunity for students to network within the course cohort. In previous years students have travelled to Liverpool and Newcastle. The second trip would be a longer, five-day trip to a European country outside of the UK in the Reading Week of the second term of year one. This trip enables students to explore the way that different contexts - including cultural, political and institutional - frame urban development and planning 


    Programme Director:

    Dr Michael Short
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    Staff teaching on the programme currently include:

    Module coordinators and teaching staff for core modules

    Dr. Yasminah Beebeejaun
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    Professor Matthew Carmona
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    Dr Ben Clifford
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    Dr Claire Colomb
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    Dr Jessica Ferm
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    Professor Jane Holder
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    Dr Susan Moore
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    Dr Michael Short
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    Dr Jung Won Sonn
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    Professor John Tomaney
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    Dr Fangzhu Zhang
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    Careers and employability

    Graduate students from the Bartlett have been very successful in gaining subsequent employment.  

    At present there is a growing demand for our Masters’ graduates from a wide range of both public and private employers, in the UK and internationally. 

    This programme offers students a unique ability to appeal to a wide range of employment opportunities. 

    Still can't find what you're looking for? Get in touch with Programme Director and Admissions Tutor, Dr Michael Short or Programme Administrator Nina Jasilek.