BA (Hons) Urban and Environmental PlanningSouthwark Campus
Mode: Full-time; Part-time
Shaping the future
On this degree, you’ll develop the skills you need to design the needs of coming generations, turning your dreams of how the future should look into a reality.
Where better to study such a topic than the heart of London, one of the world’s most exciting cities, and a place that is constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of its citizens? As the home of many global players in the development industry, you’ll benefit from amazing networking and placement opportunities and access to inspiring guest lecturers and visits to real projects.
There is currently a national shortage of professional planners and an unsatisfied demand from both the public and private sector after over a decade of public sector austerity.
If you already work in town planning, or are about to take up employment, your employer may like to take advantage of our Chartered Town Planning Apprenticeship.
Why Urban and Environmental Planning at LSBU?
- Ranked 1st for student satisfaction amongst London Modern competitors for Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design (Complete University Guide 2021).
- Planning the future is nothing new to us – we’ve been offering professionally accredited courses for over 50 years.
- This degree is partially accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute, so you’ll have free student membership while you study.
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- Ranked 1st for Overall Satisfaction amongst London competitors in Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional) (National Student Survey 2020)
- We provide the opportunity to study either in full or part-time mode, which is almost unique for undergraduate courses in the UK and unique in London and the South East.
- Two free week-long field trips will see you visit Cornwall and another European city – currently Amsterdam.
The degree is offered as a three-year full-time course, or five-year course over two semesters per year.
- Development Management
This module focusses on the legal, policy and political framework of Development Management, the nature of development and the process the planner manages including pre application, validation, applications, public consultation, decision making, planning obligations, appeals and public enquiries, judicial review and enforcement. It considers the nature of these processes and the role and skills of the planner and the various stakeholders involved them.
- Making Sustainable Places
A module which examines the challenges faced when trying to make places more sustainable and encourage appropriate forms of future development. A week long residential field study visit, currently to Cornwall, is integral to the module and provides the opportunity to explore sustainability issues with professionals engaged on live projects.
- Plans, People and Processes
This module is concerned about people, places and the creative aspects of ‘spatial planning’ that underpin the current belief that ‘good planning’ and ‘good design are inseparable’. After a critical historical overview of the forces that shaped the built environment over time, the module will focus on the principles of urban design as a process of place making. Students will be introduced to the assessment of the character and qualities of places and to various ideas on how the experience and understanding of places and their elements can be visually communicated through plans and other media.
- Planning History and Principles
The module provides an introduction to the way the planning system and planning practices have evolved in the UK. The module combines an historical approach with a critical consideration of the key attributes of the planning system as it emerged and developed after the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. Alongside this engagement with the development of the statutory planning system is an introductory examination of how the principles guiding planning practices have evolved.
- Society, Space and Place
This module introduces students to the structures, networks and relationships that underpin contemporary society, and how these are reflected and mediated geographically. It aims to explore key ideas that help us understand how places are structured and created. It will examine processes of economic, social and cultural change and academic attempts to conceptualize these shifts.
- Geographical Investigations
A module which examines a range of ways in which geographical information is produced and communicated, with an emphasis on developing students’ skills. It includes a focus on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and how planners and other relevant agencies, stakeholders and interest groups, compile, represent and use geographical data.
- Environmental Change: Issues and Impacts
This module focusses on environmental issues and examines potential responses aimed at securing more sustainable patterns of development and resource efficiency and adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.
- Strategies Visions and Design
On this module you'll focus on the importance of modes of transport for patterns of land-use and the construction of a sustainable future. You'll also examine how issues of power and equality underpin mobility: who can move, how and in what ways.
- Local Economic Development
This module explores economic development at a local level in terms of both theory and practice, considering the internal and external factors influencing local economies. Students will consider both research and policy responses to local economic change, particularly with regard to the role of planning in local economic development. The module will explore the complex economic factors shaping local areas and provide students with the tools to interrogate them and form recommendations for how a local authority can intervene.
- Planning for Housing
The module focuses on the role of the planning system in delivering housing. In doing so, the module considers the interrelationships between national, regional and local housing strategies and the delivery and implementation of residential development.
- Spatial Research Methods
This module teaches students a range of research methods and techniques appropriate for investigating spatial development trends and for conducting social survey analysis. Students are introduced to traditional quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as more recent innovations in experimental, visual and ethnographic techniques.
One of the following:
- Geographies of Regeneration
This module focuses on the importance of place and the challenges involved in regenerating urban and (to a lesser extent) rural environments facing issues of decline and restructuring. The role of local scale interventions and strategies through planning and regeneration agencies is a key focus. The module is based around regeneration issues in the UK and a residential field study visit in a European city.
- Work Experience
A module that enable students to reflect critically upon a period of work experience so as to enhance their future employability. In addition to staff advice and contact the student will gain the support of the University’s Employability Service.
- Evidence Based Planning
This module investigates the role, nature, benefits and disadvantages of evidence-based planning and policy making. It equips students with the ability to choose and employ appropriate planning related research techniques and methodologies and to able to write a research proposal.
- Real Estate Valuation
The module will develop understandings of real estate knowledge, by focusing on the development process, markets, and valuation. By developing an understanding of methods and applications of development viability appraisals, the module will pay attention to the economics of land and property markets and of the development process.
- International Planning Perspectives
The module compares and contrasts key challenges facing spatial planners across a range of international settings and the extent to which both the challenges and the policy responses are mobile across international borders. A range of planning cultures and planning practices will be examined in order to facilitate a comparative analysis of diverse approaches to planning in different contexts. The module primarily explores spatial planning at the strategic level. In practice this can refer to planning activities at the regional, national and international levels.
- Cities and Representations
This module explores the ways in which the changing geographies of cities have been conceptualised and represented across a range of written and visual media through history. The implications of such representations for policy and practice, particularly for spatial planning, are a central theme of the module.
This is a double weighted module that runs over two semesters. In it, students will carry out an independent academic research project supported by supervisions and seminars. This is an opportunity for students to develop their own specialist interests and exhibit their individual expertise, knowledge, and research skills. Students will be encouraged to gather and analyse primary data.
There is currently a national shortage of professional planners and a demand from both the public and private sector after over a decade of public sector austerity. There is also demand for planners on the international scene. As the world struggles with climate change, urbanisation, population growth and changing work and living patterns, it will be crucial to our futures to plan for these eventualities if we are to avoid major environment and social disturbances.
Employment prospects are excellent especially in London and the South East of England. Successful planning students may find jobs in central government, local government, non-governmental organisations, housing associations and quangos. Given our extensive links with public, private and voluntary sector employers we find that employers often approach us first seeking suitably qualified and motivated applicants
A high proportion of our graduates find employment in the field within six months of graduation in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Some students take up jobs towards the end of the course. Local authorities and private consultancies are major employers as are companies and other organisations with large land and property assets and our alumni can be found in senior positions particularly in London and the South East of England. That said a significant proportion of alumni now practice (teach and research) across the UK and overseas.
Our alumni include three Past Presidents of the RTPI, and many senior planners in local authorities, government agencies and private sector consultancies, developers and housing providers. These regularly return to provide talks to our current students and have donated prizes for students on graduation. Many alumni now occupy influential professional positions in the UK and internationally.
We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.
At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:
- An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
- Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.
Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.
We have been successfully running professionally accredited planning courses for over 50 years, the second oldest planning school to be doing so in the UK.
On its own, this degree has partial accreditation from the RTPI. When followed by the PGDip Town and Country Planning, this degree has full RTPI accreditation.
- With 23,000 members the Royal Town Planning Institute is the largest planning institute for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning in Europe. 2014 marks its centenary.
Teaching and learning
All members of the academic team are research active, participating in local, national and international projects and publishing academic books and peer reviewed journal articles. This ensures that staff remain at the cutting edge of their specific areas of expertise, providing students with the benefit of access to new insights and debates.
The course is delivered in a variety of ways. Most modules have traditional formal lectures alongside seminars, tutorials, group discussions, individual and group presentations and role play exercises (such as a mock planning enquiry). Many modules also include guest speakers and visits to live projects in and around London.
The course is assessed entirely by coursework, there are no exams. The assessments include traditional essays and professional reports, site analysis, development proposals, viability assessments, portfolios, research proposals, visual poster displays and group / individual presentations.
As an undergraduate Law and Social Science student, you will be allocated a named tutor during your first semester at LSBU. The role of your tutor is to be your primary contact for academic and professional development support.
Your tutor will support you to get the most of your time at LSBU, providing advice and signposting to other sources of support in the University. They should be the first person at the university that you speak to if you are having any difficulties that are affecting your work. These could be academic, financial, health-related or another type of problem.
You will have appointments with your personal academic tutor at least three times a year for up to 30 minutes throughout your course. You can contact your tutor for additional support by email.
To be considered for entry to the course applicants will normally be required to have the following qualifications:
- A Level BCC;
- BTEC National Diploma MMM;
- Access to HE qualifications with 9 Distinctions and 36 Merits; or
- Equivalent Level 3 qualifications worth 106 UCAS points
Applicants without these qualifications will be considered on a case by case basis if they have relevant work experience in the Town Planning environment.
In addition, applicants must normally hold 5 GCSE at grade A-C including Maths and English, or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above).
If you have already completed some studies at another university, we may be able to consider you for advanced entry. Please see our advanced entry page for more information.
How to apply
International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.
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Once we have made you an offer, you can apply for accommodation. You can rent from LSBU and you’ll deal directly with the university, not third party providers. That means we can guarantee you options to suit all budgets, with clear tenancy agreements and all-inclusive rents that include insurance for your personal belongings, internet access in each bedroom and on-site laundry facilities.
Or, if you’d rather rent privately, we can give you a list of landlords – just ask our Accommodation Service.
Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.
You don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.
Prepare to start
After you’ve received your offer we’ll send you emails about events we run to help you prepare for your course.
Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Enrolment pages.
Before you start
Familiarise yourself with the basics of the planning system and a professional planning career.
Much relevant information can be found on:
Read the local newspaper for insights into journalistic opinions about planning.
It is valuable to do some background reading before starting the course. We suggest:
- Cullingworth B et al 2015 (15th edition) "Town & Country Planning in Britain", London: Routledge
- MHCLG (2019), National Planning Policy Framework
Fees and funding
Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.
Year 1 FT Southwark SEPT
|UK/EU fee: £9250||International fee: £14470|
|AOS/LSBU code: 1232||Session code: 1FS00|
|Total course fee:|
Year 1 PT Southwark SEPT
|UK/EU fee: £5550||International fee: £8682|
|AOS/LSBU code: 5574||Session code: 1PS00|
|Total course fee:|
For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.
Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.
Possible fee changes
The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.
The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.
We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on our scholarships page.