Skip to main content
Real Estate Masters Subject Area 2

Masters in Spatial Planning and Development (full and part-time)

At a glance

  • Accredited by the Royal Town Planning  Institute (RTPI)  and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) 
  • Applied approach, linking teaching of core knowledges, skills and attitudes to how these are applied through real world-based projects  European field visit
  • Projects include developing a site-based proposal, preparing a policy framework and analysing a development scenario, including thinking about different stakeholders.
  • Strong links with range of practice organisations, including setting client briefs and introducing students to core skills.
  • Opportunity to develop specialist knowledge through two option modules and an in-depth independent study.
  • Undertake a week-long field trip to compare approaches to planning in different contexts.
  • Distinctive focus on planning as it interacts with real estate development processes.
Henley Whiteknights
Subject area(s)
Real Estate & Planning
Start Date
September 2024
12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Full-time , Part-time
Programme Director
C Maidment2 75njexjcy
Christopher Maidment


93% of students would recommend their programme
Masters Careers Survey 2022
98% employed post graduation
Masters Careers Survey 2022

This Masters programme will prepare you for a career in urban planning and development. Our academic strengths lie in planning and development and how this interacts with land and property markets, and you will see this reflected in the course structure. The MSc Spatial Planning and Development is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, mapped to the Planning & Development pathway.

The programme focuses on planning as it engages with real estate development processes at all levels, from the site and the neighbourhood, to local, national and international, and the social, economic and political contexts for these. It will develop your core knowledge and skills in planning and development, including planning law, the theoretical, professional, political and governance contexts for planning and development, sustainability and urban design, the economics of real estate development and the financial viability of development, in the context of how the development sector operates. By the end of the course you’ll have a critical understanding of how planning and development processes are influenced by a variety of factors and how planning and development processes are able to influence these.

You will be required to devise and interpret plans and policies for an area, evaluate development scenarios, and develop your own commercially-aware proposals in response to a client brief. Through these integrated, real world-based projects, you’ll also develop the skills crucial to being an effective professional, including negotiation, viability appraisal, 3D-visualisation, professional team-working and understanding the perspective of different stakeholders, including communities.

You will have the opportunity to undertake an in-depth, independent study of a topic of your choice, supported by teaching to develop your academic and research skills and one-to-one advice from an allocated supervisor.

You will also apply your learning to another country through a week-long field trip, helping to understand how planning and development processes operate in different contexts.

The option to concentrate on particular aspects of development planning to suit your interests and career aspirations will also be available through a choice of optional modules. For example, this may include environmental planning, regeneration, housing or heritage.

The MSc Spatial Planning and Development course is recognised in the UK, and more widely, to be one of the foremost planning programmes. You will develop spatial planning competencies, become market-aware planners and be prepared for the orchestration and negotiation of development schemes. The programme’s blend of analytical rigour and practicality has a strong appeal to employers in the private and public sectors. Many graduates of this programme, and its forerunners, have progressed to senior positions in the real estate and planning sector.

This programme is available to study as a full-time course, studied over one year, or part-time, over two years. The timetabling of the programme allows part-time students to study on a day-release basis.

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 have 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. We offer a comprehensive range of 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. More than 95% of our students enter graduate-level jobs within 6-months of leaving us.

For Full-time students, the first semester will provide a grounding in core knowledge around the philosophical and regulatory underpinnings of planning, sustainability, place quality and design. The second semester adds to this content on the development process and financial viability, planning law, ethics and negotiation. Alongside this, students will develop a range of skills in research, communication and employability that will underpin academic and professional development throughout the course.

Through a series of group and individual assignments spanning across both semesters, students will apply the knowledges and skills developed to:

  • Spatial Frameworks: Develop a spatial planning framework, thinking about how this influenced by different planning theories and the governance structures for planning in the UK.
  • Development Management: Work through a development management scenario, looking at this from the perspective of multiple stakeholders and within the context of the role of policy.
  • Site Development: Respond to a client brief, starting from observing and analysing a site, through to developing a proposal for the site and presenting it to the client, through to assessing the financial viability of the proposal and evaluating in the context of contemporary trends in planning and development.

The second semester gives students the opportunity to develop understanding of specialist areas of knowledge through two optional modules and more details of our plans for these are further down the page, as well as starting to develop their own area of interest through an independent study. Part way through the second semester students will embark on a week-long comparative field-trip, to develop a critical understanding of how planning and development processes in England compare to those operating in other contexts.

During the Summer period students will continue to develop their independent study, addressing a topic of your choosing, and allowing them to develop in-depth knowledge of a particular area.

A link to the formal Programme Specification can be found here.

The Henley pre-study course suite

Exclusively available to Henley Business School offer holders, the Pre-study course suite comprises of innovative short courses designed and developed by Henley faculty on the Futurelearn platform, one of the leading online learning platforms.

This course will provide building blocks of knowledge to help you prepare for your learning journey in the area of your choice as well as equip you with key employability and study skills for successfully navigating your studies and professional career.

This pre-study interactive course is designed by Henley Business School faculty, the University of Reading Study Advice Team and the International Study and Language Institute. The course aims to prepare you for your learning journey at Henley and focuses on helping you build important study skills to succeed in your Masters and beyond. Skills such as curiosity and independent thinking, effective communication and collaboration, digital capabilities, storytelling, empathy and professional integrity are not only important in your course itself but are also sought after by employers in all areas of business. Therefore, they are instrumental in succeeding in your professional career. The learning journey of our Masters programmes is designed in a way that allows you to build such skills and this course intends to demonstrate exactly how, and therefore help you to make the most of your Masters.


List of Modules

To obtain the MSc in Spatial Planning and Development, you will be required to secure 180 credits from a combination of compulsory and elective modules listed below.

Compulsory Modules

Compulsory modules Credits

This module includes independent student research on a group work and an individual basis.

During the module, students will study the ways in which the strategic planning and governance of cities and regions in England have developed. This will include studying the ways in which strategies have been restructured over time and in relation to changing local and global operating environments and contemporary sustainable development imperatives. The module comprises two assessed elements - one group presentation, and one individual research paper.

Academic authors
Kathy Pain 75iy0lki6
Kathy Pain
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module integrates a range of knowledge and skills important for practicing planners and puts them into practice through group project study exercises, reports and presentations.

Academic authors
C Maidment2 75njexjcy
Christopher Maidment
30 [15 ECTS credits]

The module discusses various conceptions of planning intervention in theoretical terms and relates this to the politics of planning in practice.

Academic authors
Gavin Parker 75e5pfioc
Gavin Parker
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module provides a course of study that focuses on the property development process.

The content of the module is focused on some of the practicalities of real estate development, as well as on the broader political context in which development takes place. There is an emphasis on applying and linking concepts from economics, political economy and finance in order to help students to develop their understanding of property development as a multidisciplinary and social process. In addition, students will develop a practical and applied understanding of affordable housing viability appraisal as well as UK planning law.

Academic authors
C Maidment2 75njexjcy
Christopher Maidment
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module covers the economic principles underlying land and property markets, as well as the economics of land markets.

Academic authors
WU Yi 75nkuq051
Yi Wu
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module brings together teaching and learning across the programme, incorporating taught and assessed research methods.

Academic authors
Richard Nunes 75e5pfiod
Richard Nunes
30 [15 ECTS credits]

This module provides an introductory level overview of basic urban design concepts and sustainability principles.

Academic authors
Richard Nunes 75e5pfiod
Richard Nunes
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Elective Modules

Optional modules Credits

The appreciation of issues and approaches to spatial planning in different countries, regions, states or provinces is an important part of learning and understanding the different contexts in which planning has evolved and the different tools, techniques and impacts of planning in these contexts.

This module provides such an opportunity at postgraduate level. The module also introduces different themes that planning is often concerned with and discusses how planning might make a difference in particular thematic areas.

Academic authors
Angelique 1v2
Angelique Chettiparamb
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module covers issues relevant, and tools used, to manage rural areas through both the land-use planning system and wider policy considerations.

Academic authors
Gavin Parker 75e5pfioc
Gavin Parker
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Historic buildings and sites are a major part of the built environment. Many will be hundreds of years old, but there are also more modern buildings considered as heritage. The construction industry’s work is evenly split between new-build and work to existing buildings, some of which will have some statutory protection, such as being listed.

Historic buildings and sites are a major part of the built environment.

Many will be hundreds of years old, but there are also more modern buildings considered as heritage. The construction industry’s work is evenly split between new-build and work to existing buildings, some of which will have some statutory protection, such as being listed.

Academic authors
Henry Russell002 75edwqcke
Henry Russell
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module is designed to provide a theoretical and practice-based understanding in the fields of urban regeneration and planning. It will focus on the relationship between the economic, social, environmental and political forces shaping approaches to urban regeneration, offering an overview of the evolution of urban regeneration policy.

It will focus on the relationship between the economic, social, environmental and political forces shaping approaches to urban regeneration, offering an overview of the evolution of urban regeneration policy.

Academic authors
Emma Street 75ee1i73f
Emma Street
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module focuses on developing a conceptual understanding of sustainable development models and their applications in real estate markets.

The focus is on the adoption of sustainability in the UK property industry throughout real estate life cycles, including how the concept is relevant to and manifests itself at various life cycle stages, i.e. development, design, construction, operation, refurbishment, retrofitting and regeneration. The module also focuses on drivers and barriers for the adoption of sustainable development principles in the property industry, including the business case for sustainability.

Academic authors
Jorn van de Wetering 75e5pfioc
Jorn van de Wetering
20 [10 ECTS credits]

*The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change. Please note, constraints in timetable scheduling may mean you are unable to take some optional modules at the same time as others.

Our Real Estate & Planning postgraduate 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 programmes adhere to the highest academic and professional standards, with lectures given by academic members of staff and visiting speakers from senior positions in relevant professions. They are well supported by leading industry organisations who provide our students with valuable professional insight and feedback.

All our Masters programmes feature a mix of core and optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree towards your individual interests and career ambitions. Teaching methods will vary depending on your chosen programme; they include lectures, workshops, tutorials, individual and group assignments, case studies and site visits. All our full-time postgraduate programmes include a residential study tour.

Our research is internationally renowned as academically rigorous and policy relevant. It has a major influence on our programmes and is fully integrated into our teaching. As a postgraduate student you will have access to this cutting-edge research, a vital resource that will keep you at the forefront of the latest thinking.

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.

2024 entry

Full-time Part-time
£10,400 £5,700 per year

We continue to offer partial scholarships for the course, based on academic merit. This includes our Barton Willmore legacy scholarship, run by Reading Real Estate Foundation (RREF), which aims to increase the diversity of the planning profession. RREF also support careers development for our students, offering a range of opportunities from a professional mentoring scheme to, evening networking lectures, to hardship bursaries. More detail is available on the RREF webpages.

International (incl. EU)

Full-time Part-time
£18,000 £9,500


Scholarships are available to support high-potential students. All applications are automatically considered for a scholarship. No separate scholarship application is necessary. Simply submit your application for a Masters programme starting in 2024 and you will be automatically notified if you are successful. Shortlisting and selection are based on academic merit and the candidate’s potential as demonstrated in the application form. For more details, visit our scholarships webpage.

Entry requirement Criteria
Undergraduate degree A good second class honours degree or the equivalent from an Internationally recognised University

English Language Requirements

Studying in a second language can be challenging. If your English language ability is below the minimum requirement, we may ask for evidence of proficiency. Alternatively, we may ask you to attend an English language course before you begin your studies with us.

Requirement Criteria
IELTS 6.5 with no component below 5.5 in any sub-skills

Pre-sessional English Programme

The Pre-sessional English Programme is for international students who need to meet their degree programme English language requirements. Our courses equip you with the skills and language needed for academic success, including critical thinking, self-reflection, learner autonomy, research skills and integrating sources. The Pre-sessional English Programme is accredited by the global association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes, which guarantees you will receive a high-quality student experience.

Find out about our comprehensive range of Pre-Sessional English courses

Acceptance of LanguageCert Online and DuoLingo English qualifications

We accept the non-SELT version of LanguageCert (which includes the online version) and DuoLingo as suitable English language qualifications. These can be accepted for direct entry onto Undergraduate (except Speech and Language Therapy), Postgraduate Taught (except Speech and Language Therapy) and Postgraduate Research programmes.

For information on individual programme requirements and other English language qualifications, please visit our English requirement equivalent page.

If you require specific advice on your qualification please contact admissions directly by e-mail  or telephone at +44 (0) 118 378 5289.

UK visa requirements

If you are not a national of the European Union (EU), you may need to obtain a UK visa. This visa will allow to live and study in the UK. See the  UK Border Agency website. Contact the University's International Office with any questions:

Graduate Route

The UK's Graduate Route post-study work visa allows you to apply to stay in the UK for up to two years after you graduate, with the opportunity to undertake skilled work. Visit the University website for the latest information.

We present students with a range of options allowing them to tailor their learning to their own career aspirations.

“The planning law and practical side of the course has been most useful in my career as it have an insight into planning practice, however the full course was enjoyable and gave a wide breadth of knowledge on planning history/theory. I have particularly used the knowledge of neighbourhood planning to my advantage in my work.”
Spatial Planning and Development graduate, now working as a Town Planner at Fowler Architecture and Planning, UK

Where are our 2021 graduates now?

98% employed post graduation
Masters Careers Survey 2022
93% of students would recommend their programme
Masters Careers Survey 2022
£36,214 average salary one year post-graduation
Masters Careers Survey 2022
94% said the careers team had a positive impact on their career
Masters Careers Survey 2022

2021 graduates in this area are working at the following organisations:

Knight Frank
Berkeley Group
Credit Agricole
ET Planning
Basingstoke Borough Council
Lee Baron
Walsingham Planning
Noratis AG
Aon/The Townsend Group
Woking Borough Council
Cushman and Wakefield
BNP Paribas

23 UPM 041 PGT Pie REP l
22 MIS 036 REP map

Please note the above statistics are based on respondents to our Masters Outcomes Survey in 2022, which was completed by our 2021 graduates, 12 months after graduation.

Respondents are from the following programmes: MSc Real Estate, MSc Real Estate Finance and MSc Spatial Planning and Development.

How can Henley Careers work with you?

We have an award-winning careers team that will support you through your postgraduate studies and four years after graduation.

Here is how Henley Careers can help you:

  • Careers Consultant appointments: Our Careers Consultant are here to help and support you with any careers related concern that you might have. Whether it’s CV advice, practicing for an interview, providing feedback if applications aren't successful or support planning your career goals. We are here to help empower you to progress in your career.
  • Events: Henley Careers organise numerous events aimed to help you build your confidence, develop the skills employers are looking for. Additionally, network with employers and expand your industry knowledge.
  • Alumni support: You can continue to book one-to-one appointments with your Careers Consultant and use our online resources. For up to four years after graduating we’re here to help and support in your career.
  • Career Smart: Get a head start in securing a graduate job by taking part in our online course, Career Smart. You can expect to learn about the graduate recruitment cycle in the UK. As well as where to look and how to start applying to jobs, and the different roles available to you.

For more information  please see our Careers page.

Continuing your career

With the MSc Spatial Planning and Development programme you'll 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.

The University 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 (RREF), organise career development and recruitment events for real estate students throughout the year. These include an evening lectures series with key industry speakers and an annual Careers Fair. To support your career development and interpersonal skills, you will also be assigned an industry mentor through the RREF mentoring scheme. Our innovative mentoring programme pairs your with professionals in the industry, both in the UK and overseas.

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.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Royal Town Planning Institute

Royal Town Planning Institute

The MSc Spatial Planning and Development is accredited by the RICS and the RTPI.

Apply for 2023 entry now

Apply online  now through the University of Reading’s online application service.

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

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 us time to process your application we recommend that you apply by the following dates:

UK/Home applicants International applicants
1 August 1 July

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. If successful, you will receive a formal offer letter outlining any necessary entry criteria you will need to meet. You'll then be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer.

If you require a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for your visa, details will be sent by email once all conditions of the offer have been met.

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.

Find us on Facebook  and keep up-to-date with news and events at Henley or ask us a question. In addition, you can speak to a current student, our students are always happy to share their Henley experience.

Our students and alumni are always keen to share their Henley experience. Whether you are a prospective applicant or already applied to a Masters programme at Henley Business School. You can ask questions to a current student by clicking the “Chat to our students” button below.

When contacting one of our students, please introduce yourself and the Masters programme you have applied for.

Speak to a current student

Contact us

For more information, you may also contact the programme director, Dr Chris Maidment by email at or by phone +44 (0) 118 378 6590.

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

An image of Jess Wells
“I found the negotiated development project one of the most useful aspects, along with the master planning project work. Lots of modules have also been useful, through exposure to current and past issues in planning.”
Jess Wells Planning Policy Officer at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Masters in Spatial Planning and Development (full and part-time)
An image of Ross Williamson
“As a part-time student who was working alongside their studies, it was great being able to apply theory to real-life experiences. It opened up a different way of thinking about planning.”
Ross Williamson Senior Planner at HGH Consulting Masters in Spatial Planning and Development (full and part-time)
An image of Anna Jones
“I found the group work and site visits extremely useful, as well as the academic seminars and lectures. The course gave me the confidence and independence going forward in my career as an environmental planner.”
Anna Jones Environmental Planner at Lightsource BP Masters in Spatial Planning and Development (full and part-time)

You might also like

IPF Certificate, IPF Diploma & MSc Real Estate Investment and Finance (IPF Entry Route)

Real Estate & Planning · Flexible
Advance your career in real estate finance with the Investment Property Forum certificate and diploma.

Masters in Real Estate (Flexible)

Real Estate & Planning · Flexible
Develop your career in the real estate sector with this flexible and RICS accredited Masters programme.

Masters in Real Estate

Real Estate & Planning · Full-time
This RICS accredited Masters course is industry-facing, preparing you for a wide range of careers in the global real estate sector.