MSc / PGDip / PGCert
Transport is rarely out of the news and investment in transport has reached historically high levels. The election of the Labour government in 1997 signalled a change in the approach to transport in the United Kingdom. The new approach to transport sought to improve the quality of public transport, encourage people to choose non-car modes for their journeys and to make a positive contribution to the environment. The new transport agenda has brought new investment, new ideas and new challenges. The transport planning programme at Oxford Brookes prepares students to tackle this new agenda and to respond to the challenges ahead.
Oxford Brookes has offered a graduate transport planning course in Oxford for over 30 years. The Department of Planning has over 50 teaching and research staff (covering a variety of related disciplines) and our students are drawn from across the UK and internationally. Our reputation is built on our student centredness, our teaching and research excellence, innovation and service to the community and professional organisations, and our educational philosophy, which seeks to embrace transport planning education in its widest sense.
The course is offered at three levels: a master's degree (MSc), a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) and a postgraduate certificate (PGCert).
The MSc course is based on the completion of the following compulsory element, plus elective specialisations and a 15,000-word master's dissertation.
* Transport Policy examines the evolution of transport policy in the UK, its impact on transport conditions, land use patterns and the frameworks within which transport planning is currently conducted. Substantive elements of contemporary UK policy are also critically considered, including comparisons with other EU member states.
* Transport Planning Methods considers the practical tools and methods that transport planners use directly or need an understanding of in order to make effective judgements and decisions.
* Mobility Management provides an opportunity to explore mobility: firstly considering demand management tools and, secondly, looking at the ways in which mobility can be improved. Theory and practice underpin both strands of the module.
* Contemporary Issues in Transport Planning Practice is a critical exploration of the contemporary issues facing practitioners in the UK. It has an important integrating role, drawing together the key issues from each of the modules in the programme.
* Research Methods provides a critical knowledge of methods and skills of research and their application to investigative work.
* MSc Dissertation is an individual research study of up to 15,000 words. It reveals abilities to define and research an issue or problem of relevance to the discipline of transport planning and make a contribution to knowledge in the chosen area of specialisation.
Students must also choose at least one module from the following:
* Place Making introduces theories, processes and practice of place making, and evaluates these against their impact on urban form and different sectors of society. The module seeks to engender the development of design alternatives, which take account of political, socio-economic, development, aesthetic and other key factors important in achieving high quality places and public realm that are also sustainable.
* Rural Transport and Accessibility Planning examines the distinctive features of travel, transport provision and traffic management in rural areas. Designed in collaboration with the Countryside Commission, this module will provide an opportunity to explore contemporary policy and future strategies.
* Independent Study is designed to allow students to investigate and write a 7,000-word essay/report on a topic of their own choice with the help of a supervisor.
Students may also choose no more than one module from the following:
* Spatial Planning in Action presents an analysis and assessment of the structure, objectives and responsibilities underlying the practice of spatial planning from a UK perspective. The legal basis and administrative aspects of planning decision making are introduced, including development plan making, development control and the appeals process.
* Delivering Sustainable Futures extends understanding of the principles of sustainability, the interpretation and practice of sustainable development, and the changing socio-political and environmental context within which plans are generated and implemented.
The PGDip level of the course is based on the completion of the compulsory element listed previously, but replaces the dissertation (and Research Methods) with a 10,000-word Planning Practice Project. This is a major piece of independent study culminating in the production of a report that analyses the implementation process of a transport planning policy, a development programme or a major project.
The compulsory modules for the PGCert are Transport Policy and Contemporary Issues in Transport Planning Practice. In addition, students must choose one module from Transport Planning Methods and Mobility Management or complete an Independent Study module in Transport Planning.
Teaching, learning and assessment
Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Some modules include site visits and fieldwork, which provide you with direct experience of practical and current issues.
Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, involving approximately 200 hours of student input and approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally delivered through three-hour teaching blocks over a 12-week period.
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.
The School of the Built Environment achieved 4 (out of 5*) in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
Teaching staff are drawn primarily from the Department of Planning but with some contributions from other faculties of the School of the Built Environment and the wider university community. Visiting speakers from business and industry, local government and consultancies and research bodies provide further input.