Town and Regional Planning MPlan

Key information


The Town and Regional Planning MPlan programme is designed for those who wish to pursue a professional career in urban, regional and environmental planning in the UK or abroad. The programme is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), providing combined spatial and specialist accreditation.

You’ll gain a rounded understanding of planning practice; learning about the forces and factors that contribute to sustainable development and the role that planning can play in mediating multiple interests. The MPlan offers two pathways with distinct specialisms in ‘Transforming Cities and Regions’ and ‘Spatial Planning for Environmental Change’. An interdisciplinary approach to study provides learning opportunities that draw upon the expertise of academics in Planning as well as academics in the departments of Geography, Sociology and Architecture.

This programme is designed as part of a suite of strongly related programmes in Planning, and core modules in Years One and Two are shared with our BA Environment and Planning, BA Urban Planning and BA Geography and Planning.

This enables students to transfer between programmes in the first two years should their interests or career aspirations change.

Programme in detail

The first year of study introduces you to the nature and extent of planning issues and the circumstances in which they arise, and provides a broad understanding of how planning powers, agencies and policies are contributing to efforts to overcome the contemporary challenges that confront cities and communities.

You are supported to acquire and enhance your oral, written and visual communication skills and engage in group-based problem solving and practical work, gaining skills that are readily transferable to the workplace. A residential field class early in the first semester enables you to begin applying your learning to real-life settings straight away.

In Year Two you begin to develop your specialism, either in ‘Transforming Cities and Regions’ through the module Cities and Regions or ‘Spatial Planning for Environmental Change’ through the module Environmental Sustainability. These modules introduce you to the social, economic, and environmental causes of urban and regional change and the concept of environmental sustainability and its connections with patterns of human development. You will develop critical thinking and communication skills to enable you to analyse material and communicate ideas effectively. Project work also enables you to develop an awareness of the methodological and spatial design issues that arise in the development of planning schemes.

The residential field class undertaken in Year Two is part of the module Rural Planning and takes you into the field to examine social, economic and environmental planning challenges in a rural setting.

Year Three provides you with in-depth and focused study of your specialism, enhancing your knowledge and expertise. You will take four modules associated with your specialism, made up of two compulsory modules and two optional modules. Your third year will also develop skills of critical thinking and analysis, and apply these to contemporary contexts and challenges. This includes professionally-oriented modules, such as Planning Law & Governance and Planning & Property Development, where you will engage with guest expert speakers and apply your learning to real-life scenarios. The module International Planning Studies includes an overseas field class, typically to a city or region in France, Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany, and will develop your expertise in international planning and skills of comparative analysis.

Year Four focuses on contemporary professional planning practice. This year includes a major project in the module Spatial planning in action; coverage of planning theory and ethical questions in planning practice; a work placement that can be undertaken in the summer vacation between Years Three and Four; and a final dissertation investigating a planning topic of your choice.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer fieldwork opportunities in each year of study, allowing you to apply your learning to planning issues in a diverse range of urban, rural, and international settings. Destinations include York, the Lake District, France, Poland, and Shanghai.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and fieldwork. The fieldwork is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.

Department Key Facts

Number of first year students

240 Geography and Planning Year One undergraduates in 2018

Graduate prospects

95% of Geography and Planning graduates are employed or in further study six months after graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016/17)

External endorsements

The MPlan programme is professionally accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The department also has close links with the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) and the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA). 

Why this subject?

Set the foundations for your career in our world-leading Planning School

All of our programmes benefit from the expertise of our academic staff who are leading global discussions in spatial planning, planning economics, marine planning, and environmental assessment and management. This means you will benefit from research-led teaching, bringing the latest planning theory and practice into the classroom. Within the Department we also edit two respected peer-reviewed academic journals (Town Planning Review and Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal) and host the Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Cities and the Environmental Assessment and Management Centre. All of this means you can be confident that your learning is at the forefront of the discipline.

Take inspiration from planning in practice in our dynamic city location

The Liverpool city region offers excellent opportunities to study planning in practice and the application of cutting-edge practices in tackling the challenges of urban regeneration and environmental management. All our programmes are interdisciplinary to maximise research links with the departments of Geography, Sociology and Environmental Science.

Take advantage of our excellent employer links

Our MPlan programme is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and we also offer accreditation through the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). We also work with the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and have close working relationships with Local Planning Authorities, planning consultancies, developers and a wide range of other organisations throughout the North West, nationally and internationally. These links ensure that we tailor our programmes to the needs of the profession, and you are able to develop your employability and build relationships that will be extremely valuable in your future career. 

Explore planning practice around the world and in the UK

Our internationally focused curriculum brings together theory and practice from around the world. Field classes are also an integral part of each year and enable you to gain first-hand experience of planning issues and policies in the UK and internationally.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. We consider applications from prospective students with disabilities on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.