MSc / PGDip / PGCert
The course is concerned with the theory and practice of urban planning in societies undergoing rapid economic, social, environmental and spatial change. It examines the phenomenon and processes of rapid urban growth and the nature of planning interventions within the broader framework of political, economic (including macro-economic) and cultural factors, contrasting development paradigms and the process of globalisation.
The emphasis of the course is on institutional aspects of planning and management interventions in the urban sector and the scope of various policy instruments and planning modes to manage the emerging spatial patterns, impacts and processes of urban growth. Distinctive features of this course are its focus on urban land markets and their dynamics, particularly in the context of shelter provision for low-income groups; urban management and issues of governance and development coordination; and community empowerment and stakeholder engagement.
Oxford Brookes has offered a graduate planning course in Oxford for over 40 years, and is acknowledged as a leading provider in the UK. We have over 30 teaching and research staff. 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 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 modules, plus elective specialisations and a 15,000-word master's dissertation.
Compulsory element (indicative modules):
* Development and Urbanisation examines the theories, processes and consequences of rapid urbanisation in the developing world within the context of economic development and social change. The changing paradigms of development - modernisation, growth with equity, market enablement - are examined. The emerging spatial distribution of cities and the city-building process is explored, including rural-urban migration and social transformation, as well as the contrasting processes of production and the informal sector in the urban economy. The module reviews concepts such as dependency, basic needs and equity, institutional access and resource distribution, labelling and target groups, urban vulnerability, and gender issues in development. The role of the state in development and governance and the role of civil society in new forms of urban management and decentralisation are considered. You will undertake a project involving the preparation of an urbanisation profile for selected countries to explore the practical outcomes of these processes.
* Urban Land Policy and Urban Management examines the processes of urban land development under conditions of rapid urban growth. The concept and development of land policy are examined. Major issues addressed include the development of urban land markets and 'sub-market'/informal processes particularly in relation to low-income housing group needs, land availability and land supply, tenure options, land management, planning and co-ordination, investment recovery, and private sector development in both formal and informal sectors. These factors will be considered in the context of the options available to provide affordable and satisfactory housing. Urban management and planning policies and resources to support rapid urban development are explored alongside an exploration of the scope for enhancing or developing new approaches to urban planning. Emphasis is placed on the institutional frameworks.
* Globalisation: Environment and Development examines globalisation processes and global environmental problems and their relationship with the development process. The module reviews theories of globalisation and the structure of the global system; global population growth, global urbanisation and industrialisation trends and policies; the globalisation of trade, aid, investment and debt; the revolution in global transport and communications; the changing role of global institutions; the emerging geopolitics of the post-Cold War era; and a range of global environmental issues. The policy aspects of these various issues will also be examined.
* Urban Policy in Practice: Programme and Project Implementation provides a practice-based exploration of urban projects and programmes. It covers aspects such as: urban policy analysis; feasibility studies; the project cycle; project and programme evaluation (particularly in relation to the housing needs of low-income groups); implementation resources together with an understanding of institutional capacity building; community-based organisations and the development of community-led sustainable solutions to the needs of the urban poor; and concepts of affordability and cost recovery.
* Research Methods examines and advances students' knowledge of research methods and methodology. It provides a forum for debate about research as well as giving students the opportunity to gain practical skills. These general research issues are complemented by a focus on policy research. Through the use of examples of ongoing research in the department, your ability to critically evaluate research and the role of researchers are developed. Within the course structure, you are able to explore and gain support in research and research design within your own area of specialisation. The module forms an introduction to the dissertation.
MSc students are offered choice and flexibility in terms of specialist elective modules, of which two must be chosen from the following indicative list:
* World of Refugees
* Globalisation and Global Institutions
* Project Design and the Art of Practice
* Principles of Environmental Assessment and Management
* GIS and Environmental Modelling
* Independent Study.
Please note that not all electives may be available in any given year. The PGDip course is based on the completion of the following compulsory modules as in the MSc programme:
* Development and Urbanisation
* Urban Land Policy and Urban Management
* Globalisation: Environment and Development
* Urban Policy in Practice: Programme and Project Implementation.
A similar choice of two elective modules from the same array as the MSc course is required.
The PGCert is based on the completion of the following compulsory modules as in the MSc course:
* Development and Urbanisation
* Urban Land Policy and Urban Management or Independent Study
* Globalisation: Environment and Development or Independent Study.
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.
Oxford Brookes has offered a graduate urban or spatial planning course in Oxford for many years, and is acknowledged as a leading provider of planning education in the UK. We have over 30 teaching and research staff and our students are drawn from across the British Isles 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 planning education in its widest sense.
Planning achieved 4 in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Research staff are drawn primarily from the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development, (part of the School of Built Environment) but with some contributions from other schools, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the subject. Visiting speakers from local government, non-governmental organisations, the development industry, regulatory bodies, planning consultancies and research bodies provide further input.