Master of Urban Planning
Prepare for a professional career as a planning practitioner
As we adapt to global changes that impact our cities including climate change, deepening inequality, concerns for community health and safety, and the emergence of global city-regions, planning has never been more critical.
The Master of Urban Planning is a professional degree that focuses on Australian and international policy and planning pertaining to human settlements and how we cope with these challenging population and environmental issues.
The Master of Urban Planning is accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and undergoes a regular review process to ensure the quality and relevance of the program.
Completing an accredited degree means you enter the workforce with a stamp of quality on your CV. In a competitive market, an accredited degree is an assurance of quality to employers and an advantage for you. For us, it means we continually strive to improve the quality of the degree in order to retain accreditation. So, you know you are getting the most up-to-date and innovative educational experience.
In the Master of Urban Planning, you will examine the interaction between people, the places they live and the policies that help shape economically viable, socially just, environmentally sustainable, safe and healthy communities. You will explore:
The program allows you to develop expertise in an area of specialisation in preparation for a focussed career. As well as core courses, electives and a research thesis, you will complete four courses in one of the following areas:
You will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to respond creatively to urban planning issues. You will examine cities in an international comparative context, gaining knowledge you can apply in your career, wherever you end up.
Many Master of Urban Planning graduates enter the public sector and work in government departments and agencies, or for local councils and regions.
The private sector and civil society, within Australia and internationally, offers an increasing range of employment opportunities, including urban planning and design, environmental and transport planning consultancies, property development companies, and housing and community advocacy. There are also opportunities in tertiary education and research.
Urban planners work with teams of related professionals such as architects, landscape architects, engineers, environmental scientists, economists, property valuers, real estate developers, lawyers and sociologists.
Graduates from the Master of Urban Planning have gone on to work at many firms in Australia and across the world including:
Master of Urban Planning
To complete the Master of Urban Planning you will undertake:
Eight core subjects: Core subjects provide you with the knowledge and technical skills needed to generate, evaluate, and implement plans as well as insight into economic and environmental change in cities.
Four specialisation subjects: You complete four subjects in one of the following areas of specialisation:
Research thesis: You can develop an area of particular interest, analysing a complex urban planning issue in a complex policy environment.
More information on potential research topics can be found in this brochure (2.1mb pdf)
Two electives: You choose two electives from other disciplines at the Melbourne School of Design or other faculties in subjects such as such as economics, engineering, public health, development studies, social work and law. Planners work with many other disciplines in practice and these subjects prepare you to work effectively in industry.
NEW: Vocational Placement at MSD
The Melbourne School of Design now offers students of the Master of Urban Planning the opportunity to undertake a vocational placement. This experience will help students gain first hand understanding of urban planning in practice.
The placement is offered as an elective and students are expected to initiate their own placements with a relevant organisation, working for 120 hours in total.
ABPL90307 MSD Vocational Placement can be undertaken in Semester 1, Semester 2 or another study period by negotiation with the Master of Urban Planning Academic Co-ordinator, Professor Sun Sheng Han, and the host organisation.
The subject is for unpaid work in a related planning field for 120 hours with a 5000 word assessment component. Please note that the work for the 5000 word assessment is included in the 120 hours. If you successfully complete the subject, you will receive 12.5 points credit towards multi-disciplinary electives in the Master of Urban Planning.
In most cases, students will be responsible for initiating their own placement with an organisation. Interested students need to approach an organisation to obtain an in-principle agreement. It is suggested students print a copy of the handbook subject description (link above) to show the organisation and to explain the subject.
On obtaining an in-principle agreement from the host organisation, students must contact Engagement Coordinator, Annie Howard. Professor Sun Sheng Han will then negotiate with the organisation regarding the assessment component and expected learning outcomes.
Sample program structure
More information on the program structure and courses available in the University Handbook
As part of the Master of Urban Planning, you undertake two electives to explore particular areas of interest. You can choose from the following list (subject to availability) or you may take electives from other disciplines in the Melbourne School of Design or from anywhere in the University, with approval.
You need to meet the following criteria for successful entry to the program:
The Selection Committee may conduct interviews or tests and may call for referee reports and employer references to clarify any of the points above.