Skip to main content
Masters in Real Estate and Planning

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) 
  • Undertake an  in-depth  European field visit
  • Shape and consider development proposals, plans and  policies
  • Undertake community consultations and present reports to clients and decision makers
  • Focus on planning as it engages with economic and property development processes 
Subject area(s)
Real Estate & Planning
12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Full-time , Part-time
Programme Director
C Maidment2 75njexjcy
Dr Christopher Maidment


This Masters programme will prepare you for a career in urban planning and development. You will be required to shape and consider development proposals and devise or interpret plans and policies. Also, negotiate and regulate development schemes, undertake community consultations, develop evidence and present reports to clients and decision-makers.

Our academic strengths lie in planning and development and real estate markets and investment. This programme will develop your specialist knowledge and skills in planning and development. 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, the neighbourhood, to local, national and international. You will be able to concentrate on particular aspects of development planning to suit your interests and career aspirations. For example, this may include strategic, economic, environment, regeneration or countryside. You will have the opportunity to undertake in-depth study, within a framework that emphasises integration. You well also apply your learning to another country through the European field study.

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 on a full-time or part-time 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.

Compulsory Modules

  • Cities, Regions and Strategic Governance - 20 credits
  • Development Planning Projects - 30 credits
  • Planning Theory, Politics and Practice - 20 credits
  • Real Estate Economics - 20 credits
  • Real Estate Development and Planning Law - 20 credits
  • Spatial Planning Dissertation - 30 credits
  • Urban Design and Sustainability - 20 credits

Plus elective modules from a range that may include: Comparative International Planning Studies, Countryside Planning and Policy, Sustainability and Real Estate, Regeneration, Land, Property Rights and Housing Markets and Policy

Compulsory Modules

Optional modules 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
Academic authors
Richard Nunes 75e5pfiod
Dr Richard Nunes
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

Academic authors
Mark Dobson 2019 ed
Dr Mark Dobson
20 [10 ECTS credits]

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
Academic authors
Gavin Parker 75e5pfioc
Professor Gavin Parker
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.

Academic authors
Ed Shepherd001 75eh8z0fo
Dr Edward Shepherd
20 [10 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.

Academic authors
Kathy Pain 75iy0lki6
Professor Kathy Pain
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.

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

The module aims to build a solid foundation in the economics of property to provide an insight into the application of economic principles and models to property and land use.

30 [15 ECTS credits]

Elective Modules

Optional modules Credits

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

This module focuses on the development of a conceptual understanding of sustainability and its applications in real estate. The focus is on the adoption of sustainability in the property industry throughout real estate life cycles, including how the concept is relevant and manifests itself at various life cycle stages, i.e. development, design, construction, operation, refurbishment and retrofitting. The module also focuses on drivers and barriers for the adoption of sustainable practices in the property industry, which includes the business case for sustainability.

Academic authors
Jorn van de Wetering 75e5pfioc
Dr Jorn van de Wetering
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.

Academic authors
Emma Street 75ee1i73f
Dr Emma Street
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.

Academic authors
Gavin Parker 75e5pfioc
Professor 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.

This module introduces students to concepts and practices in conservation of the historic environment, both in the UK and internationally, and explains the roles of the actors involved. The underlying philosophies of conservation, their history and how heritage is managed through legal frameworks and policy form an important component. The module also considers matters relating to real estate processes and the shaping of both urban and rural environments. In so doing it covers aspects of architectural and landscape history, and practical building conservation. Examples and case studies are used throughout.

Academic authors
Henry Russell002 75edwqcke
Henry Russell
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.

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.

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.

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 Mohammad Subuh

The Digital Innovation course enabled me to think differently and allowed me to consider the implications of new ideas or technology on the business. The support given goes beyond the academic to include career support and professional development.

An image of Mathy Vandhana Sannasi

I have had a very eventful career, being a dentist turned technology enthusiast. There could not have been a better validator to my passion than my Masters and my professors. The entire experience, I feel, has done complete justice!

An image of Jamie Parkes

I love the world of property because it impacts everyone’s daily life, from where you live, to where you work, shop, exercise and socialise. A personal highlight of the course is meeting and networking with other young professionals.

Jamie Parkes Masters in Real Estate
1 / 3