UCL Graduate degrees


Spatial Planning Degree Apprenticeship MSc

The Spatial Planning Degree Apprenticeship MSc combines the educational elements of UCL’s existing Spatial Planning MSc with supported workplace learning and practical experience meeting the requirements of the RTPI’s Chartered Town Planning Apprenticeship standard. Successful completion of the apprenticeship will give you a Spatial Planning MSc and the status of being a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI) having gained practical experience in the workplace.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Flexible: up to 3 years

Student apprentices will normally attend UCL for one day per week for two years for 'off the job learning'. In the third year, all learning will be 'on the job' at their workplace leading to the end point assessment, but with guidance and support from UCL.

Application dates

Visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£18,800 (FT)
£18,800 (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees are paid by the employer of the apprentice on a monthly basis via the UK government apprenticeship levy.


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

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Candidates must have a sponsoring employer based in England who will employ them in a planning role and is prepared to provide a work place mentor and enter into an employer agreement with UCL. Applicants who do not have this arrangement may be interested in applying for the Spatial Planning MSc instead. All candidates must hold a Level 2 award (e.g. GCSE graded A*-C) in Mathematics and English. Ordinarily, candidates must also hold an undergraduate degree in any discipline classified 2:1 or above (or equivalent). However, the programme is open to applicants who do not have a 2:1 or above or do not hold a first degree at all where they are able to demonstrate senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field. In such situations, evidence of prior knowledge and experience will be required and will be assessed via completion of a qualifying pro-forma assessment of this prior knowledge and experience.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

Students analyse the definition of, and solutions to, urban and regional planning problems and the nature of existing planning systems and practices in the United Kingdom. We focus on the British tradition of planning in the programme. Emphasis is placed on the importance of a spatial and comparative perspective to planning and the need for integrated solutions to planning problems and the achievement of sustainable development.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The apprenticeship comprises 120 credits of assessed taught modules, 60 credits of dissertation and one non-assessed module providing a framework for the workplace learning. Taught modules are delivered part-time over two years, leading to the MSc qualification, then workplace learning continues for the third year  to complete the end point assessment and become a chartered town planner.

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Spatial Planning Degree Apprenticeship.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation in Planning (60 credits)
  • Spatial Planning: Concepts and Context (15 credits)
  • Urban Design: Place Making (15 credits)
  • From Strategic Vision to Urban Plan (15 credits)
  • Spatial Planning: Critical Practice (15 credits)
  • Professional Planning Skills (0 credits)
  • Pillars of Planning (30 credits)

Optional modules

Students choose one of the following specialisms, each of which consist of two 15-credit modules.

  • Conservation and Historic Cities
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Participatory Urban Planning
  • Smart Cities
  • Sustainable Governance
  • Urban Design
  • Urban Regeneration


All MSc students undertake an independent research project, closely related to the specialist option chosen and linked to UK spatial planning. The project culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.


Spatial Planning MSc students will usually participate in two field trips. However, for students commencing their studies in September 2020, we cannot guarantee that these opportunities will be permitted, or can be made safe and viable. We are working on the basis that non-UK group travel will be highly unlikely, but we will continue to explore possibilities for UK-based trips later in the year. We are also exploring options to provide alternative enhancements to your programme if travel is restricted. Once we have more information, we will contact all involved, but you should not anticipate non-UK travel being a part of your programme in 2020-21.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through individual and group project work, skills-based practical and IT work, lectures, tutorials and seminars. A short field course based in a European city outside the UK will take place in the second term. Assessment is through individual and group work, essays, examination, skills-based practical work, and the dissertation.

Additional costs

The cost of the field trip (flights and accommodation) will be covered by UCL.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


As a degree apprenticeship, the costs of the programme can be covered through central government’s apprenticeship levy, with the student apprentice also undertaking paid work for a planning organisation alongside their studies. To be eligible, students must have a sponsoring employer in England, who will employ them in a planning related role for the three year duration of the apprenticeship.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - Master's

Deadline: 31 May 2021
Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Based on financial need

Bartlett School of Planning Centenary Scholarship

£9,200 towards tuition fees (1 year)
UK, Overseas
Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of the Spatial Planning MSc have been very successful in gaining subsequent employment, including core public and private sector planning careers (such as local government and local, national and international consultancies), as well as the housing and transport sectors; planning, urban regeneration and environmental agencies; public and private utility companies; think tanks and public policy organisations; environmental campaign groups; and teaching and research.


The programme equips graduates with a wide range of skills beneficial to employability including planning-specific skills, for example, an appreciation of policy-making and implementation, of spatial analysis, basic principles of urban design, social research and plan-making and decision-making processes. Graduates will also gain transferable skills such as group work, independent research, communication skills including presentation and writing, and problem solving skills.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Bartlett School of Planning (BSP), UCL has a strong history of teaching and research. It has been at the forefront of planning research and teaching for 100 years and is one of the foremost planning schools in the United Kingdom, with an international reputation. Based in the heart of London there is much for students to learn from being at the cutting-edge of policy-relevant critical debate, empirical study and research-led teaching. The staff profile is multidisciplinary and teaching staff are actively involved in shaping the theories and debates covered in their teaching. Our annual public lectures attract pre-eminent speakers from around the world and our student body has a broad, international profile.

Although situated within global and European contexts, the focus for the programme is primarily the UK, and particularly London. London is a complex setting that provides the natural and most accessible laboratory for BSP students. An emphasis on understanding the social and physical world will lead to a greater appreciation of how action or intervention shapes place. There is also a concern with ethical issues as a framework for planned intervention.

As a degree apprenticeship, this programme combines the excellent educational inputs of the long established Spatial Planning MSc degree with workplace experience and learning, leading to the fulfilment of all the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to become a fully chartered town planner in England (MRTPI).


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

Department: Bartlett School of Planning

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Who can apply?

The apprenticeship is primarily for graduates of any undergraduate degree who wish to make a career in planning or gain professional status as a chartered planner. In order to join the programme, an applicant will need to have an offer of employment from a sponsoring employer in England, who will employ them as an apprentice and provide a mentor for the workplace learning element of the apprenticeship, or already be employed by a sponsoring employer in England who will support them to attend the course and upskill. An employer agreement needs to be made between the employer and UCL in relation to this. Applicants MUST already have the sponsoring employer in place. UCL does not currently offer a service for applicants to find employers.

Application deadlines

Visa nationals
31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
30 July 2021

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Spatial Planning at graduate level
  • why you want to study Spatial Planning at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme 
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme 
  • where you would like to go professionally by becoming a chartered town planner

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021