Urban and regional planning lies at the heart of the major challenges that face existing and future generations. Decisions that are taken today can have a major impact on what happens to our towns and cities in the future, so it is important that we get those decisions right. Only by having an in-depth understanding of the way our towns and cities work can we hope to make informed decisions about the future of the built environment.
This unique degree course attempts to build this understanding by drawing on the academic strengths of one of the largest Business Schools in the UK, and the research and international reputation of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) that is located in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Birmingham. Based in the great planning laboratory that is Birmingham, you will be able to exploit fully the huge wealth of case study material available on your doorstep whilst interpreting these experiences in an international context. This will hopefully bring to life the issues you are studying and set them in a real world context.
The programme has been specifically designed to enable you to develop a sound understanding of the challenges facing our towns and cities and how we deal with these.
Download the Planning and Economics BSc brochure (PDF 789KB)
Why study this course
The Planning/Economics programme at the University of Birmingham is part of a suite of joint honours planning programmes that we offer that are well established and enjoy an excellent reputation. All our planning degrees build on the University’s international and research reputation in this area. The department’s research and professional development links with a wide range of public, private and community-led organisations are a particular strength of the programme and ensure that our teaching is relevant and is at the cutting edge of the latest developments in the planning world.
The degree programme has been designed to combine study in both economics and planning to ensure that you develop a strong foundation and an appreciation of how to use this knowledge to make decisions about the built environment. There are extremely close synergies between the two subjects. Knowledge of economics is a fundamental part of our urban world and the understanding of how the economy works is critical to the operation of the planning system and how cities function. The programme offers a combination of both core and optional modules that will enable you to concentrate on issues and themes that are of particular interest to you.
On the Economics side you will study modules on the principles of economics, applied economics and have an introduction to quantitative methods. On the planning side you will study the history and evolution of planning, explore how planning operates in the contemporary context, examine the socio-economic nature of cities and how they have changed and undertake some basic GIS mapping. There is an emphasis in the modules on developing applied skills through fieldwork, tutorials and project work.
In the first year students take 120 credits over 8 compulsory modules:
The Planning of the Built Environment (20 credits)
Society, Space and Policy (10 credits)
Economy, Space and Policy (10 credits)
Planning Tutorial (10 credits)
Mapping the Midlands (10 credits)
Principles of Economics (20 credits)
Applied Economics and IT Skills (20 credits)
Introduction to Quantitative Economics (20 credits)
The second year builds upon the knowledge acquired in the first year with a combination of both core and optional modules. The programme is designed to enable you to choose from a range of optional modules in order to tailor the degree to your own interests.
There is a focus in the second year of preparing students for their extended essay/dissertation in the third year – so there is work on research methods and techniques.
Optional (to include modules such as):
The Urban and Regional Economy: Problems and Policies A and B (20 credits)
Micro-foundations of Macroeconomics (10 credits)
Introductory Econometrics A (10 credits)
Introductory Econometrics B (10 credits)
Regulatory Framework of Banking (10 credits)
Economics of Corporate Finance (10 credits)
The Economics of Public Expenditure (10 credits)
Environmental Economics A (10 credits)
Environmental Economics B (10 credits)
Economic Development A (10 credits)
Economic Development B (10 credits)
Decision Theory & Games (10 credits)
Optimization for Economists (10 credits)
Contemporary Issues in UK Economy (20 credits)
Understanding Neighbourhood Poverty (20 Credits)
Research Methods (20 credits)
Macroeconomics A and B (20 credits)
Microeconomics A and B (20 credits)
In the third year you select specialised modules related to your areas of interest, and also undertake dissertation supervised by a member of staff, in which you are free to design, implement and analyse a research project of your own choosing.
The final year of study is designed to be fully flexible and allow for the development of individual interests.
Optional (to include modules such as):
Dissertation (40 credits) or Extended Essay (20 credits)
Econometric Theory (10 credits)
General Equilibrium and Welfare (10 credits)
International and European Monetary Issues (10 credits)
Introduction to International Trade (10 credits)
Monetary Policy (10 credits)
International Trade Theory and Policy for Europe (10 credits)
Applied Econometrics (10 credits)
Open Economy Macroeconomics (10 credits)
Game Theory (10 credits)
History of Economic: Thought A (10 credits)
History of Economic: Thought B (10 credits)
Economics of Uncertainty and Information (10 credits)
Economics of Financial Markets (10 credits)
Applied Economics of European Community A (10 credits)
Applied Economics of European Community B (10 credits)
The Theory of Industrial Organisation (10 credits)
Economics of Banking (10 credits)
Political Economy & Economic Policy (10 credits)
The Russian Economy: From Plan to Market A (10 credits)
The Russian Economy: From Plan to Market B (10 credits)
Contemporary Urban Development and Planning (20 credits)
Regenerating Urban Communities (20 credits)
Topics of Economic Theory & Practice A and B (20 credits)
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: ABB
Required subjects and grades: Grade A in GCSE Maths and grade C in GCSE English.
General Studies: We do not accept General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, or World Development.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 34 points with 6, 5, 5 at HL. Minimum of 5 in SL English and Maths if not offered at GCSE or equivalent.
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full or part time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
From September 2012 all KIS information will be published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you will be able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) forms part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. It will give you access to robust, reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.