Urban Planning BA (Hons)

Key information


  • Course length: 3 years
  • UCAS code: K430
  • Year of entry: 2020
  • Typical offer: A-level : BBB / IB : 31 / BTEC : DDD
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This degree programme gives you a full understanding of the primary urban challenges of the 21st century and provides you with the skills base to help address them. You’ll gain a rounded understanding of the factors and forces that are shaping the urban environment, the role that Planning can play in developing and renewing urban areas, and reconciling competing and conflicting interests. Attention is focused on approaches to understanding and Planning for the urban environment in a rapidly changing world. An interdisciplinary approach to study provides learning opportunities that draw upon the expertise of academics in Planning as well as academics in 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, MPlan Town and Regional Planning and BA Geography and Planning. This enables students to transfer between programmes in the first 2 years should their interests or career aspirations change. This is subject to achieving grades above the required threshold during your studies.

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 provide a broad understanding of how planning powers, agencies and policies are contributing to efforts to overcome contemporary planning problems. 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 a real life setting straight away.

In year two you begin to develop your specialism in 'Transforming Cities and Regions' through the compulsory module ‘Cities and Regions’. This module introduces you to the economic, social and environmental causes of urban and regional change. Environmental sustainability and its connections with patterns of human development are also examined in further compulsory modules. You also continue to 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 2 is part of the module ‘Rural Planning Field Class’ and takes you into the field to examine environmental, social and economic issues in a rural setting.

Year three provides you with more focused study of your specialism in order to gain greater knowledge and expertise of urban planning. You are required to take four modules associated with your specialism, made up of two compulsory modules and two optional modules. You then chose a further four modules from a range of other optional modules. This could include a dissertation where you undertake a piece of independent research and international field class offering the opportunity to explore planning in a new context.

Study opportunities in London

Urban Planning students have the exciting opportunity to spend year three of their programme studying at our campus in London.

Fieldwork opportunities

We offer fieldwork opportunities in each year of study, with compulsory field classes in years one and two, and optional field classes in year three.

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

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 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.

Study opportunities in London

Urban Planning students have the exciting opportunity to spend part of their programme studying at our campus in London. Environment and Planning BA students and  Geography and Planning BA students who transfer onto Urban Planning also have the opportunity to spend part of their programme studying at our campus in London.  See www.liverpool.ac.uk/design-year-in-london for details.