MSc Spatial Planning and Development (full-time and part-time)

Course overview

This highly regarded programme will prepare you for a career in urban planning and development, where you may be required to shape and consider development proposals and devise or interpret plans and policies, negotiate and regulate development schemes, undertake community consultations, develop evidence and present reports to clients and decision makers. In line with our academic   strengths in planning and development and real estate markets and investment, this Master’s programme will develop your specialist knowledge and skills in planning and development and equip you for a career in the private or public sector. The MSc Spatial Planning and Development is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The programme focuses on planning as it engages with economic and property development processes at all levels, from the site, neighbourhood, local, national and international. You will be able to concentrate on particular aspects of development planning to suit your interests and career aspirations (e.g. strategic, economic, environment, regeneration or countryside) and you will have the opportunity to undertake in-depth study, within a framework that emphasises integration, as well as apply your learning to another country through the European field study.

This programme is available on a full-time or part-time basis. 

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

How we teach you

Our programmes are designed and delivered by internationally-renowned experts, with a wealth of academic and professional experience. All of our programmes are regularly updated to maintain their relevance in a rapidly changing industry.

Our teaching received an excellent score in the most recent independent Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA), highlighting our commitment to maintaining a world-class learning environment. You will enjoy access to our cutting-edge research, ensuring that you remain at the forefront of the field.

We believe that our students should have access to good quality resources and, in addition to the facilities offered by the University, we fund a professionally staffed Resource Centre.

We aim to create a stimulating academic environment; you will be encouraged to develop individual interests and general skills as a basis for a career in the property industry, a related field or for further study.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

How to apply

Apply for 2017 entry now

There are two different application processes: apply online and apply by post.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Postgraduate study at Henley Business School, at the University of Reading is through the University’s online application service.

This allows you to complete your application information, attach electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information and also provides a facility for an email request to be sent to your referees enabling them to send your supporting references directly to us.

Apply online

Apply online now using the University of Reading's online application system.

Apply by post

If you are unable to apply online you can request a paper application form by telephoning +44(0) 118 378 5289 or writing to the Admissions Office, University of Reading, Miller Building, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK.

When to apply

We operate a rolling admissions system and it is recommended that you apply early to secure your place. There is no specific deadline and applications will be considered until the programme is full. However, to allow time for us to process your application we recommend that you apply by the following dates for admission in October:

  • UK/EU applicants: by 1 August
  • International applicants: by 1 June

After you apply

You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your application form. Your application is then reviewed by a member of staff.  Successful applicants will receive a formal offer letter outlining any necessary entry cri­teria you will need to meet and you will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer.

A (non refundable) deposit of between £500 and £1,000 (depending on the programme you have applied for) is payable upon acceptance of an offer of a place. International applicants requiring a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for a visa will be sent the CAS details by email once all conditions of the offer have been met, and the relevant deposit has been paid.

Throughout the admissions process we will keep you updated with key information via email.   We also provide opportunities to interact with faculty and staff online.

You can find us on Facebook and keep up-to-date with news and events in the School or ask us a question. In addition, you can speak to a current student; our students and alumni are always happy to share their Henley experience.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Meet us

If you are unable to attend a postgraduate event please get in touch with our team.  We will be happy to speak to you by telephone, on Skype or through our Live Chat system (during UK office hours: 9 - 5 pm).

Our contact details are: or telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Please see our full list of world fairs where you can meet a Henley representative. 




Contact image

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Contact image

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Why Henley?

The MSc Spatial Planning and Development is recognised in the UK and more widely, to be one of the foremost planning programmes which develops both spatial planning competencies but also market aware planners who are well prepared for the orchestration and negotiation of development schemes. The programme has strong appeal for future employers in the private and public sectors because of the blend of analytical rigour and practical application. Many graduates of this programme, and its forerunners, have progressed to senior positions in the real estate and planning sector.

Real Estate & Planning:
Our School is the largest in the UK for teaching and research in real estate and planning. Established in 1968 at the University of Reading, we are the only major UK real estate and planning centre to be located within a business school.  Being part of the Henley Business School reflects our close and longstanding collaborative relationship with industry.
We enjoy a worldwide reputation for excellence in both teaching and research and we are consistently highly ranked in all major league tables. We undertake internationally recognised, leading edge research into real estate, planning and land and we offer a comprehensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, all of which are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Our planning courses are also fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Our programmes are held in high regard by leading employers, many of whom come to us each year to recruit our graduates. We are proud of our outstanding employment record, with more than 95% of our students entering graduate level jobs within 6 months of leaving us.

Henley Business School:

Consistently maintain highest standards: Henley is in top 1% of business schools worldwide to hold accreditation from all three bodies in the UK, Europe and US

Excellent networking potential : 72,000 Henley alumni members in 150 countries

High calibre students: always oversubscribed, 1,000 ambitious new Masters students join Henley each year

Award winning campus: beautiful, green, 134 hectares, with state of the art facilities

World-leading faculty: widely published, frequently asked for expert comment by media and to speak at events

Henley is proud to be part of the University of Reading.  The University is ranked within the top 200 universities worldwide (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016/17 and QS World University Rankings 2018) and 98% of the research is rated as being of international standard.

Course modules

Module descriptions are correct for modules taught in the academic year 2017/18. Optional module listings are indicative, and may be subject to change.

Module Name Credits


Compulsory Modules

This module aims to develop the student’s understanding of the philosophical ideas and theoretical debates that influence planning intervention. It explores how theory can be used to analyse issues and problems relevant to planning practice. The module provides a historic overview of town planning and examines the rationales for, and against, intervention and the social, cultural, political and economic factors that underpin them.

  • Historical drivers of modern planning
  • Past practices and underpinning theory
  • Politics of planning
  • Networks and planning
  • Complexity and spatial planning
  • Collaborative planning theory and practices

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims toprovide students with an understanding of the nature, role and contemporary relevance of sustainable urban design and development. It aims to promote awareness of, and sensitivity to urban design, and strategic and local planning issues with implications for natural resource management and the distribution of environmental assets.

  • Origins of sustainability and urban design practice
  • Sustainability and urban design principles, and its meaning in our everyday lives
  • Policy guidance and delivery of sustainable development, and its enforcement
  • Monitoring and evaluation through sustainability appraisal and design audit

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module will enable students to enhance their conceptual understanding of key elements of the real estate development process, fundamentals of planning law, as well as their practical understanding of the principles and practice of real estate development viability assessment. Students will develop their knowledge of the complex nature of real estate development, and how this complexity is influenced, managed and modelled by the different individuals, organisations and institutions involved, thereby resulting in diverse development outcomes.


20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module provides a practical yet reflective set of skills based projects of varying lengths and foci. The module integrates a range of knowledge and skills important for practicing planners and puts them into practice through group study, reports, presentations and role-play. Some of the project work takes place around field visits, whilst other tasks focus on planning and development processes (e.g. deliberating over planning proposals, visioning, contesting proposals, policy formulation, site planning and/or project funding). The module integrates practical skills with concepts and creative thinking abilities.


30 [15 ECTS credits]

This module prepares students for planning and development leadership roles. During this module, students will critically analyze the ways in which strategic planning in the UK has developed. This will include studying the concepts upon which it has been based, and the ways in which strategies have been prepared and restructured in relation to their operating environment. Students will gain understanding of the conceptual and practical challenges faced in applying the principles of strategic planning. The module will conclude by considering possible futures for strategic planning.


20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide students with a solid foundation in real estate economics in order to provide insights into the application of economic principles and models in respect of property and land use. Both commercial and residential real estate markets will be considered, as well as the effects of public policy on these markets.

  • Models of urban land use
  • Location theory
  • Economic analysis of the commercial real estate market
  • The user, investor and development markets
  • Economic analysis of residential real estate markets
  • Economics of town planning
  • The impact of public policy on real estate markets



20 [10 ECTS credits]

30 [15 ECTS credits]

Optional modules

from a range which may include

This module aims to compare planning practices and systems worldwide and draw lessons from such comparisons. Understanding the different contexts, techniques and impacts of planning deepens awareness of differences in planning cultures. Students will gain an appreciation of the ways in which planning is accomplished and the advantages and problems associated with each system set in its political, economic and social context.

  • Theory and practice of comparative studies
  • Drawing lessons from comparative studies
  • Planning systems in different countries
  • Themes, tools and techniques

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to examine current countryside issues and policies, with an emphasis on planning in England and Wales. The context for the module is the changing economic and social drivers in the countryside. The module links with other modules in enabling students to understand the UK planning system but placing standard institutional arrangements and structures in a rural context.


20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide an insight into important sustainability principles in the property industry. Specifically, this module aims to develop an understanding and critical awareness of sustainability concepts, environmental assessment tools, building construction methods and key property sustainability debates and their relevance to a range of stakeholders in the built environment.

  • Exposure to a wide range of views from key stakeholders on the importance of sustainability in real estate practices.
  • Overview of various mandatory and voluntary eco-labels for new and existing buildings in the built environment and their characteristics.
  • Evaluation of significant barriers and challenges related to the adoption of sustainability in the wider real estate industry and their relevance.
  • Identification of key drivers that facilitate the implementation of sustainability in the built environment and their importance.
  • An overview of sustainable construction methods and commonly used design principles and materials.
  • Assessment of the sustainability performance of property organisations based on a relevant set of indicators.

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module provides both a sophisticated theoretical understanding and overview of key challenges and trends in the delivery of urban regeneration and planning. It focusses on the relationship between the economic, social and political forces shaping urban regeneration policy and practice. Students will be expected to engage with relevant literatures and theoretical concepts in a critical way. A key focus of the module is to allow students to explore the assumptions, models, policies and practices of urban regeneration.


20 [10 ECTS credits]

The aim of this module is to introduce students to theories, concepts, tools and techniques that underpin current practices in managing land and property across the world. Critical issues arising from property rights and management practices including the different institutional and normative contexts that underpin them are discussed. Experimentation in land management techniques, evaluation of documented experience and forms of institutionalisation emerging from the various contexts are also covered.


20 [10 ECTS credits]


The module aims to review the justifications for and the basis of state involvement in the housing market and describe and evaluate the main policy mechanisms used such as regulation of private renting or the provision of social housing. The module aims to provide students with the tools to assess housing problems and policies.  The module will use the theory and practice of housing economics to study housing markets in a dynamic context, with emphasis placed on demand-side and supply-side drivers. The role of finance in the housing market will be explored as will the impact of regulation. The roles of market search, estate agents, developers and financial institutions will be considered from an economic perspective and the links between the housing market, the macro-economy and business cycles will be investigated. The merits and demerits of the various methodologies to derive house price indices will be analysed. Empirical analysis will be undertaken in appropriate sections.


20 [10 ECTS credits]

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Fees and funding

Full Time Fees 2016-17
Home (UK/EU) International (non EU) 
£9,250 £15,750
Full Time Fees 2017-18
Home (UK/EU) International (non EU) 
£9,250 £15,750
Part Time Fees 2016-17
Home (UK/EU) Overseas (non EU) 
£5,225 per year £9,100 per year
Part Time Fees 2017-18
Home (UK/EU) Overseas (non EU) 
£5,225 per year £9,100 per year
Please note that a non-refundable deposit is payable when confirming your acceptance of an offer of a place. This is part of your tuition fee and will be deducted from the total amount upon enrolment

We are very pleased to announce that in addition to the funding opportunities offered below the School of Real Estate & Planning has a Scholarship Fund for the 2016 Postgraduate entry of £170,000.

Information on Scholarships for Real Estate & Planning Postgraduate students

Alumni of the University of Reading who undertake their next level of study at Henley Business School will receive a tuition fee discount of £1000.

UK/European Union Postgraduate Loans

Loans of up to £10,000 are available to eligible students studying for postgraduate masters courses from the 2016-2017 Academic year. In general, students need to be domiciled in England.  EU students, and individuals falling within certain specified categories, may also be eligible.

You can apply for a loan through the UK Government website.  You can read more about the scheme on the Student Loans Company website or on these two UK Government sites: Introduction of loans for postgraduate students and Government response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.


(UK applicants only)

Applicants who normally live in the UK (for a minimum of three years) can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan to borrow between £300 and £10,000. This is a bank loan, with interest charged at a commercial fixed rate.

How to apply for a Career Development Loan

See Professional and Career Development Loans.

The University provides opportunities to students from a wide range of backgrounds, who have the desire and ability to succeed. There are a range of scholarships and bursaries on offer for postgraduate students. For further information see: Money matters, costs and budgets for postgraduate students.





  • Are you one of the brightest and best in the world of business?
  • Then simply apply for a Masters Fund Scholarship at the internationally-renowned Henley Business School.
  • Chance to study at a top 1% internationally-recognised business school
  • 100 Scholarships available – up to full value of a Master’s Programme
  • Our highest prize: the Prestigious Dean’s Scholarship: 100% fees paid Meet and dine with Henley’s senior management team.




Closing date

Closing date

Entry requirements

Planning Programmes

Entrants to these programmes are normally required to have obtained a good (normally upper second class honours) undergraduate degree in any cognate or non-cognate discipline.

Students whose first language is not English are required to provide evidence of proficiency. 

IELTS (British Council International English Language Test): Score of 7.0 overall with no component less than 6.0
Internet Based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):  Score of at least 100 with a minimum of 20 in Listening, Writing and Reading and 21 in Speaking.

2.1 degree, or equivalent, from an internationally recognised university;  not necessarily in a related discipline.

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Careers and accreditations

Our graduates tell us that the programme has led to excellent and prestigious employment opportunities, helped in part by developing their commercial awareness as well as other key skills.

The MSc Spatial Planning and Development programme is a leader of its type and students benefit from its strong connections to industry and across the profession generally. Many successful graduates have been highly sought after by both private and public sector employers, including planning consultancies, development companies, local planning authorities and large multidisciplinary property firms.

Students at a building siteReading has an excellent reputation with the planning profession in both the private and public sectors. Our postgraduates tend to be sought after by employers and many find employment before graduating.

Our alumni association, The Reading Real Estate Foundation, organise career development and recruitment events for our students throughout the year. These include an evening lectures series with key industry speakers, an annual Careers Fair and our highly successful Mentoring Programme which pairs students with professionals in the industry.

We have a professional Careers Development Advisor, Jane Batchelor, who helps our students with every aspect of the career development process, including identifying work placement, internships and permanent career opportunities.

Typical examples of recent employment found by our graduates are with planning consultancies such as: Nathaniel Lichfield Associates, Terence O'Rourke Partnership, RPS, DTZPieda. The bigger surveying firms with planning and development departments also recruit our students, for example: Drivers Jonas, Gerald Eve, GVA Grimley.

In the public sector there are varied options at the local, regional and national levels: government offices and departments, regional agencies and local planning authorities. The range and diversity of jobs and careers offered under the mantle of 'planning' is really very wide and stimulating. We will be happy to advise you in finding work experience and talk to you about your employment options during your time with us.

The MSc Spatial Planning and Development is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

What our students say

Our students come from a range of backgrounds and go on to work in both the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. Read what some of our past students say about us:

"‘The University of Reading provided me with a platform of choices and I am now working for my chosen planning firm in London. My knowledge of Real Estate and Planning truly grew through postgraduate study. The decision to study at Reading, is one that I will now benefit from for years to come. I was a student motivated by my lecturers, always ahead within their field, and who embrace what they teach. The allowance for discussion in lectures and in turn the willingness of lecturers to give you their time encouraged us to question what we were learning rather than just absorb it. As a result, I am proud to say that I am now one of a network of REP graduates".

Enya McLiam-Roberts - Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying for the MSc Spatial Planning and Development Planning. The course gave me an interesting insight into both practical and theoretical aspects of planning which I have found to be very transferrable now that I am working. The fact that the course is dual-accredited has given me a wider appreciation of different aspects of planning and its relationship to the wider property industry. The optional modules allowed me to tailor the course to my personal interests. The field trip is a great opportunity to learn more about planning in a different country too. I found the support from the teaching and support staff extremely valuable throughout my time and thanks to them and the wider Reading reputation, I now have a great job that I enjoy!"

Sophie Stocker - CBRE

"Towards the end of my undergraduate studies I knew I wanted to further my property development knowledge and my decision to undertake a MSc in Development and Planning was strongly influenced by my desire to gain a breadth knowledge of the interrelating process of real estate development and town planning. 

When it came to deciding on the destination it came down to quality, reputation and location, something the University of Reading and Henley Business School have in spades. I did my research and Henley Business School stood out for consistently being ranked among the world’s best business schools and, more specifically, real estate schools. Personally an MSc in Development and Planning with its double accreditation by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) was extremely attractive.Most importantly however, it was Real Estate & Planning's close and longstanding relationship with the property industry, the fact it is highly regard by leading employers and its outstanding employment record that put it ahead of the competition. It was an easy decision at the end."

Saif Uddin - Balfour Beatty Investments