In a world facing environmental, social and economic challenges, how we manage changes to our natural and built environments will be crucial for our future. In our urbanised world, how we design and plan our cities impacts our environmental sustainability, health and even happiness. This programme will equip you with the skills to be part of making progressive changes in your place.
In practice, there is a common tension between those developing and interpreting planning policy on the one hand, and the designers of cities on the other. This programme brings these groups together to engage in project-based learning. You will develop planning research, urban analysis and design skills before deciding whether to complete an urban design thesis or dissertation. Both of these options can be completed as work-based studies with opportunities for summer placements.
This course is unique having been driven by engagement with practice rather than adhering to traditional academic subject areas. The core skills that urban designers and planners need have been clearly defined and form the basis for the course.
City Planning and Design highlights
There are fantastic opportunities to work with planning and urban design both locally and globally. Belfast is a city that is developing rapidly and this reflects a wider confidence in urban regeneration and development at a national level. Many recent graduates are working in planning authorities and consultancies throughout the UK and Ireland with others working in the related fields of housing, natural and built heritage and renewable energy.
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited as a standalone programme.
Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) accredited if completed following an accredited undergraduate planning degree.
As well as including employers in our teaching and development of projects we value the input of practitioners on our examination panels. Our employer links are further enhanced through formal partnership meetings with our accreditation bodies (RICS and RTPI) and by providing student prizes, for example, for the best independent research project. Therefore, course development is closely aligned to the requirements of the planning sector.
Employers are often also consulted by students in the development of the independent research project. For example we have developed strong relationships with the public and private sector planning bodies across the island of Ireland and in Northern Ireland with the Housing Executive, and the Planning Division of the Department of Infrastructure. As part of the support activities embedded in the degree employers contribute to regular careers events.
Internationally Renowned Experts
The members of staff responsible for delivering the MSc are from a variety of professional and research backgrounds. Staff expertise includes international development, sustainable development, development economics and planning policy and practice. Each member will give a different perspective within the course, such that both theoretical and applied elements will be fully developed and a rounded high-level education will result.
Significant emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving skills during live projects in this programme. The option of a work-based study for the thesis module reflects the local confidence within the planning and urban design sector of the quality of QUB student work. Placements can be in planning offices, architectural practices or with related heritage, environmental or community sector groups.
The environs of the university are extremely pleasant: Northern Ireland and Belfast have been highlighted by The Sunday Times in 2018 as the best places to live in the United Kingdom. Belfast and the Causeway Coast have been listed as the best regions to visit in the world by Lonely Planet in 2018. Moreover, the manner in which Northern Ireland is positioned after Brexit may make it the most convenient location in the UK for ready interaction with the EU.
The MSc is designed to allow you to develop real world project management skills through the completion of live design projects for local authority and community sector clients. You will also acquire urban and data analysis skills that you can use to develop strategic regeneration policies and design solutions. The course content gives theoretical and practical coverage across a wide variety of topics including:
• Green infrastructure
• The Inclusive City
• Urban Technological Developments
• Low carbon transition
• Critical Heritage Perspectives
• Cities and the e-economy
• Planning the Urban-Rural dialectic
• Demographic challenges
• The future of urban housing
• Health in future cities
Comparative Urban Design (20 CATS)
Spatial Literacy (20 CATS)
Urban Futures (20 CATS)
Future Planning Practice (20 CATS)
Planning for Sustainable Communities (20 CATS)
Approaches to Development (20 CATS)
Thesis (60 CATS)
EVP7039, EVP7040 & EVP7043 modules will be delivered in year one.
EVP7038, EVP7041, EVP7042 & EVP7044 modules will be delivered in year two.
Students failing more than 20 CATS points worth of taught modules will not normally be permitted to progress on to the Thesis Module. A student who has failed one 20 CATS taught module will normally be allowed to progress to the Thesis Module at the student's risk. If a student fails the Thesis Module on a second attempt, a post-graduate Diploma may be awarded.
People teaching you
Natural and Built Environment
As well as being Director of the Postgraduate Education in Planning, Neil is a chartered urban planner who has experience in strategic planning policy, plan preparation and regeneration.
Natural and Built Environment
An expert on housing issues in the Global South.
Natural and Built Environment
A leading figure in global environmental sustainability research with on-going projects internationally.
Teaching Timesc.15 hours of teaching per week, spread across 5 days (Mon-Fri)
Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching is split into the following:
Demonstrator-led IT skills tutorials to ensure students develop GIS and data visualisation skills such as proficiency in Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch Up.
A key component to all group projects whereby tutors offer feedback on student ideas in small groups during the completion of live projects for professional clients.
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
Student-led thematic presentations that address major global themes are a crucial part of this programme. Placing the emphasis to research and interpret relevant information on the student allows for the programme to incorporate and fulfil their interests.
Assessments associated with the course are described below:
- Methods of assessment will comprise a combination of group reports, individual assignments, student presentations, portfolio submissions and role-play exercises. A major component of this degree will involve the completion of a thesis based on an independent research project over the third semester, supervised by a member of research staff.
The Planning department has a devoted studio space along with access to state of the art IT Labs.
“In an increasingly urbanising world, cities represent both the greatest social, environmental and economic challenges and opportunities for planners and urban designers alike to create more sustainable environments and just societies.”
Dr Neil Galway, Programme Director for MSc City Planning and Design
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a relevant subject.
Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours degree standard, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, if they can demonstrate appropriate acceptable experience. Supplementary form to be completed along with application.
The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit http://go.qub.ac.uk/RPLpolicy for more information
The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2024. However, we encourage applicants to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.
Please note: A deposit will be required to secure a place on this course.
Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
Our graduates end up in leading positions in central and local government as well as in planning consultancies in the private sector. Others are employed as urban designers and in related industries such as Housing, Climate Change, Community Advocacy, Renewable Energy, Heritage and Construction.
Employment after the Course
Examples of employment: Urban Design and Planning practices, Research institutions, GIS companies, Housing organisations, Community Advocacy Groups, Environmental and Community sector NGOs.
Graduate employers include:- Belfast City Council, Department for Infrastructure and other public and private sector planning consultancies.
Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1
|EU Other 3
1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.
2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
Students are required to undertake a compulsory field trip to a European city. They are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs and should budget for approximately £500.
Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications:
1.1 Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications.
1.2 You will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the course.
1.3 This condition of offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.
Read the full terms and conditions at the link below:
Students are required to undertake a compulsory field trip to a European city. They are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs and should budget for approximately £500 - £700.
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
How do I fund my study?
The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.
A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/Study/international-students/international-scholarships.
How to Apply
When to Apply
The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Fees and Funding