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Certificate Spatial Planning Studies

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  • Entry requirements
    Normal entry to the Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies requires: * GCSE, O-level or equivalent in maths and English; and * at least 3 years' experience of working within the field of planning in an advanced technical or administration post*; and * applicants will be expected to be over the age of 21. * The University's standard English language requirements for overseas students. * Applicants who have 2 years' work experience in planning at the commencement of their studies and have at least one A-level at grade C or above will also be considered Applicants for the MSc in Spatial Planning who have been rejected because their first degree did not meet the required standard will be reconsidered for entry onto the master's course if they complete the certificate course to the required standard.
  • Academic Title
    Certificate Spatial Planning Studies
  • Course description
    Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as an access route to the MSc in Spatial Planning course.

    The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies is a one-year part-time (one day per week) undergraduate level course. The purpose is twofold.

    Firstly, the certificate offers an opportunity for people with no formal planning education to study key areas of contemporary planning in the context of a higher education teaching and learning environment.

    Secondly, the course provides an access route to the Department of Planning's RTPI accredited MSc in Spatial Planning for students who do not have the normal educational qualifications necessary for entry onto the course.

    The overall aims and objectives of the course are to provide students with a general, yet critical, understanding of the planning process and some of the key issues and themes in contemporary spatial planning.
    Course content

    In Semester 1 you complete Introduction to Spatial Planning and Transport and Society.

    In Semester 2 you complete Environmental Sustainability and Community Planning and Local Development Frameworks.

    These modules have been carefully chosen to provide a balance of basic and advanced modules, and to offer you the  opportunity to study basic themes in spatial planning as well as some specific areas such as transport and community planning.

    Introduction to Spatial Planning provides an overall introduction to the discipline of planning. In the course you learn the main purposes of land use planning in general and the characteristics of the UK planning system in particular. The module provides the overall context and overall framework in which planning takes place.

    Transport and Society provides an opportunity to study this key issue in contemporary planning and provides students with a critical understanding of the economic, social and political contribution of transport in the UK and Europe. The module explores the development of transport policy from an historical perspective and explores the concept of accessibility and the importance of travel behaviour.

    Environmental Sustainability explores the key planning function of facilitating sustainable development. The module introduces students to the concept of sustainable development, and examines how issues of sustainability affect the UK's built and natural environment through arrangements for infrastructure and resource use.

    Community Planning and Local Development Frameworks explores the implementation of planning policy at a local level. The module examines the statutory local planning process in depth, along with developments arising from the modernising local government agenda, including community strategies and local strategic partnerships. The module also focuses on community involvement in planning.

    For the award of Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies and in order to progress to the MSc Spacial Planning course you are required to complete these four undergraduate modules at a standard of 50% pass mark (the normal undergraduate pass grade is 40%).
    Teaching, learning and assessment

    Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Each course module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written or design work, and to some extent on verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, formal written examinations, in-class tests, project work, design and verbal presentations, workshops, simulations and practical exercises.

    Oxford Brookes' undergraduate courses are broken down into equal-sized units of study called modules, self-contained in teaching, learning and assessment. The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies modules are one semester (15 weeks) long and carry a single credit. The course is made up of four single credits and each module requires about 150 hours of study over the 15 weeks - including around 36 hours of staff contact time per module. Formal teaching takes place over the first 12 weeks, with the last weeks available for examinations, if these are part of the module assessment.

    As a Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies student you follow two modules per semester, each of which is taught on the same day so students need to be at Oxford Brookes one day per week. Semester 1 teaching takes place on Thursdays; Semester 2 on Tuesdays.


    The Department of Planning is the largest centre of planning education in the UK and one of the largest in the world. Since September 2002 it has been part of the School of the Built Environment which also includes departments of Architecture and of Real Estate and Construction. The School and department have a very high teaching reputation and many of their undergraduate and postgraduate courses are accredited by professional institutions such as the Royal Town Planning Institute. The School also has a very high research and consultancy profile and regularly completes research and other work for bodies such as the European Commission and UK government departments.

    Teaching staff are drawn primarily from the Department of Planning but with some contributions from other departments of the School of the Built Environment. Where appropriate all modules are informed by research-led or research-based teaching and learning. Many staff delivering this course are research-active and this enables the results of research and consultancy to be fed into the course as well as exposing students to the nature of research and academic enterprise.

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