Completion of this part-time conversion Masters, following your undergraduate qualification, will allow you to become an accredited planner. This Higher Level Apprenticeship offers 10 funded Department for Economy-funded places for those working in planning-related industry.
Planning is a fascinating subject to study at university. It is about changing the places within which we live. How we can transform and improve our cities, towns, villages, neighbourhoods, and communities. So, it affects our everyday lives and is an extremely exciting discipline to study at university. A Planning degree provides you with the knowledge and skills to be able to make decisions that shape the processes of growth and development. We currently face many major challenges - for example, attracting investment, creating jobs, protecting the environment, energy policy, housing supply, transport links, providing local amenities, protecting health and wellbeing - and Planning affects how these things happen. Therefore, as future planners you will have a very important role to play in shaping the future. Planning is a broad subject matter and planners perform many different roles relating to the natural, physical, economic, social, and cultural environments that we live in. Given this, Planning offers a wide spectrum of employment opportunities. Studying Planning will equip you with the knowledge to understand how cities, towns, villages, communities, and neighbourhoods function and operate, and then have the skills to make decisions that shape how they grow and prosper. The discipline of Planning is located in the School of Natural and Built Environment, David Keir Building on Stranmillis Road, Belfast.
The HLA is a work / study programme so you will already be in employment, or have a firm offer of employment from a company in a planning-related sector which supports your application. Related sectors include: community development, environmental, housing, architecture, renewable energy, built heritage, legal, development and construction.
You will have a keen interest in urban planning. You may already have experience of working in the field – hands on experience is not necessary for starting the course, but it can be useful.
The course’s primary focus is on attaining a professional qualification. It is designed as a conversion Masters for graduates in any undergraduate subject to provide a broad knowledge of planning and the professional skills and experience you’ll need to forge a career in this area. Your dissertation may be a work-based project, working for a client organisation on a brief that they commission. You will learn the use of techniques (GIS, design software, statistical analysis) but more importantly, how to apply them to solve problems, create new solutions for the built environment and understand the complexity of environmental management.
You’ll be working in an applied problem-solving environment, confronting genuine challenges in the field and making a real contribution to sustainable environments. We place an emphasis on projects on live planning problems such as a Development Plan exercise for a client (local authority), on studio work and applied learning outside the class including problem-solving with controversial proposals, such as fracking and windfarm applications. You’ll work with your fellow students in teams to find practical approaches to the management and development of the built environment.
Planning and Development Higher Level Apprenticeship highlights
- This MSc is professionally accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has a strong emphasis on the practical skills and knowledge required for theoretically-informed practice.
- 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 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. 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.
- The degree incorporates a week-long study visit to a venue outside Northern Ireland and work shadow experience in Northern Ireland on the planning appeals process towards the end of Semester 2. Additionally a two-day planning practice study visit will be made to a venue in Great Britain or Ireland in semester two. Students are expected to contribute to the costs of these study visits.
The programme provides opportunities to strengthen competencies in key skills such as numeracy, literacy, ICT, problem solving, team work and aspects of urban design; it develops awareness of the ethical responsibilities of those involved in Planning and Development and enhances the ability to undertake a substantial piece of specialist independent research.
Dr Stephen McKay
Course Content An intensive programme to prepare graduates from a broad range of disciplines for a career in planning and development. It is overseen by professional Partnership Boards of practitioners, academics and members of the Institutes, and accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
You’ll develop relevant skills in ICT, problem solving, team work and aspects of urban design; you’ll gain awareness of your ethical responsibilities; and you’ll benefit from a strong emphasis on the practical skills and knowledge required for theoretically-informed practice.
Semester 1 Year 2
Environmental Planning & Governance
Planning Skills & Ethics
International Planning Studies
Semester 1 Modules Year 1
Introduction Planning Theory and Practice
GIS & Spatial Analysis
Semester 2 Year 2
Community Planning & Regeneration
Planning Law & Practice
Semester 2 Modules Year 1
Design in the Built Environment
Professional Practice Project
Semester 3 Module Year 2
Independent Specialist Research Project
Time spent in Classes, Tutorials/Seminars/Labs, and Private Study in a Teaching Semester Approximately 6 hours per week in lectures and 4 hours in practical project work.
People teaching you
Our graduates end up in leading positions in central and local government, planning consultancies in the private sector and in NGOs. Former students have also gained employment in related fields of housing, renewable energy, heritage and environmental advocacy internationally.
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
Learning and Teaching
This programme involves project-based team-working and field studies outside formally allocated lecture times. The Part-time delivery of this programme facilitates day-release with teaching on 1 day per week.
Contact teaching hours (per week): 9 hours part-time.
Details of assessments associated with the course are outlined below:
Formal examination (10 CATS)
Individual and group project submissions (110 CATS)
Dissertation (60 CATS)
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any discipline.
Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours standard or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University will be considered on a case by case basis, if they can demonstrate appropriate experience, acceptable to the School.
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.
Students wishing to apply for this Higher-Level Apprenticeship should also upload their CV and a letter of support from their employer (combined in one file). The employer’s letter of support must state that the employer supports their application, that they are prepared to release them from work for one day per week to attend the course, and that, if they are an existing employee, they need this qualification for a new role. The new role can be a change of title/role within the company.
This Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) is fully funded by the DfE therefore it is not open to international applicants. Further information on eligibility criteria for Higher Level Apprenticeships can be found at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/higher-level-apprenticeships
The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2022. 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.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
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.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £0 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £0 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £0 EU Other 3 N/A International N/A
No tuition fees are payable by students for the degree apprenticeship as it is funded by the Department for the Economy’s Higher Level Apprenticeship programme. Please refer to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/higher-level-apprenticeships for further information.
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
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 are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Fees for 2022-23 will be published in December 2021.
Additional course costs
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.
Planning and Development Higher Level Apprenticeship 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.
How do I fund my study?
The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 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 £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/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