MA in Planning, Policy and Practice

London South Bank University

Program Description

MA in Planning, Policy and Practice

London South Bank University

Focus on the interactions between society, economy, space and land use. Explore how opportunities, tensions, and conflicts are managed by planners in the public interest.

We explore the role of planning as a set of regulatory mechanisms but more importantly as a means of identifying opportunities and assisting developers (be they in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors).

6 reasons to study here

  1. Located in the heart of central London:
    We use our distinctive location to investigate the societal challenges and opportunities facing planning in the 21st century.

  2. Taught by experienced academics and practitioners:
    Taught by staff with track records in research and relevant publications. Guest and visiting lecturers from professional practice supplement teaching throughout the course.

  3. Site visits and live projects:
    One day and half-day site visits to exciting live projects - the practical focus is complemented by theoretical understanding.

  4. Residential field study visit:
    Opportunity to participate in residential field study trips and site visits in Europe – at no additional charge to you.

  5. Set the direction:
    Choice of specialism module provides flexibility and depth to explore issues relating to a particular aspect of planning.

  6. National and international perspective:
    Be part of an academic community dedicated to social justice and global responsibility - with an inspiring schedule of guest speakers, events, volunteering opportunities and exchange of ideas.

We have been running professionally accredited planning education courses at LSBU successfully for over 40 years (50 in 2018).

This MA is aimed at graduates from a variety of disciplines who are looking to pursue a worthwhile and challenging course that can lead to an exciting and stable career in spatial planning and related fields.

The qualification is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute, which means you can become a licentiate member on graduation. With two years' relevant work experience (in some cases one year) you can apply to take the RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence and become a full member. Students will get free RTPI membership and RTPI bursaries (subject to availability).

The qualification includes a compulsory one-week residential European field study visit. In recent years students have visited Barcelona. Venice or Dortmund. For all new entrants, field study visit fees are included in the tuition fees. Our one-day and week-long residential visits include presentations and Q&A with practitioners in London, the UK and beyond.

The course director Dr. Michael Leary-Owhin is the co-editor (with Dr. John McCarthy) of a major internationally-orientated book 'The Routledge Companion to Urban Regeneration' (2013).


Key course information - ordered by mode

Mode Duration Start Date Location
Full-time 1 year September Southwark Campus
Part-time 2 years September Southwark Campus


Year 1

  • Planning history and theory
  • Planning law and practice
  • Sustainable places (with EU field study visit)
  • Development and regeneration
  • Urban design - the heart of planning
  • Dissertation (For MA award)

One specialist module from:

  • Urban design project (urban design specialism)
  • Regeneration strategies and projects (urban regeneration specialism)
  • Environment and resource management (environmental policy specialism)
  • Global planning challenges (international planning specialism)

The part-time mode is taught one-day-per-week, with one or two modules being taught in each semester; plus the dissertation being completed by the end of January in the third year.


Modules are assessed by a range of coursework including essays, professional reports, design and practice-based projects seen exams, presentations and a dissertation.


Currently, there is a national shortage of qualified town and environmental planners in the UK so the demand for our postgraduate courses is particularly high.

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 organizations, housing associations, and quangos. Given our extensive links with public, private and voluntary sector employers we often find that employers often approach us first seeking suitably qualified and motivated applicants.

A significant proportion of our graduates are employed by public sector bodies and private consultancies in planning, property, utility companies, the transport sector, and in the property sections of large PLCs, such as the major retailers.

We are the University of the Year for Graduate Employment - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

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.

Teaching and learning

You'll be taught by experienced academics with wide-ranging research interests, including:

  • Regeneration and restructuring of post-industrial Cities and economies
  • Comparative urban regeneration
  • The creation of urban public space
  • City marketing
  • Planning cultures and practices in post-socialist countries
  • Social, economic and territorial cohesion in Europe
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Development along the Thames corridor
  • Mobilising design
  • Sustainability of the Utility Furniture Movement
  • Sustainability education for Housing managers.

Most recently, Dr. Michael Leary-Owhin was interviewed as an expert in urban spaces by Global News in response to the London attacks.

Entry requirements

A large proportion of applicants have a geography or social science first degree (minimum 2:2/Bachelor degree equivalent to UK Second Class Honours Lower Division). But in line with Royal Town Planning Institute policy, we will consider candidates from a broad range of first-degree disciplinary backgrounds in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

All modules are subject to change by the university and may differ from the modules you are offered during your studies.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 8, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
7,500 GBP
Full-time UK/EU fee: £7500; International fee: £13125. Year 1 Part-time UK/EU fee: £3333.33; International fee: £5833.33
United Kingdom - London, England
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - London, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info