Planning and Social Policy BSc (Hons)

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Our Planning and Social Policy Joint Honours BSc degree courses is delivered by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) in collaboration with other departments from the College of Social Sciences. 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.

2012 National Student Survey "98% of students said that overall they were satisfied with the quality of our Planning course"

Course fact file

UCAS code: KLK4

Duration: 3 years

Places Available: 181 (across all Geography and Planning courses)

Applications in 2014: 981

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


This degree explores some of the big issues facing today’s and tomorrow’s societies including: housing provision; climate change; sustainable development; property development; leisure tourism and transport infrastructure; exchange rates; trade agreements; income tax; international banking; and the NHS and other public sector organisations.

Download the Planning and Social Policy BSc brochure (PDF 787KB)

Why study this course

All planning programmes benefit from the University of Birmingham's international teaching and research reputation within the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS). The research, consultancy and professional development links with a wide range of public, private and community organisations that have been developed by CURS over a period of time ensure that teaching on our courses is relevant, at the cutting-edge and led by our current research.


Year 1

Core modules (Planning)

Core modules (Social Policy)

  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Social Issues and Social Policy
  • Researching Policy and Society

Year 2

Core modules

Optional modules

  • Volunteering and Social Policy: Learning through Practice
  • Managing Health and Social Care: Statutory and Voluntary perspectives
  • Policing, Security and Community Justice
  • Social Policy into Practice
  • New Migration and Super-diversity
  • Housing and Communities
  • Global Issues
  • Policy Analysis

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Optional modules

  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Agency and Morality
  • Doing or not doing God
  • From Beveridge to Cameron
  • Youth Crime and Justice

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding 

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: ABB

Required subjects and grades: Grade C in each of GCSE English and Maths.

General Studies: We do not accept General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, or World Development.

Additional information:

Unconditional offers will be made to high-quality applicants who are predicted AAA or above at A level. For details see the Unconditional Offer Scheme 2015

Unconditional offers are based on:

  • A Level predictions of AAA +
  • AS results of at least ABB
  • 5 GCSEs at grade A including English, Maths and a Science
  • 2 GCSEs at grade B
  • Academic reference
  • Personal statement

Other qualifications are considered – see entry requirements for full details. 

International students:

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

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

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.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to 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.

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic community and will learn from both academics and place-based specialist practitioners. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, and we want you to be challenged and to think for yourself.

As a student you will be exposed to a variety of learning and teaching methods including lectures, small group teaching sessions, seminars, student-led workshops and tutorials. There will also be a variety of assessments that you will have to complete including essays, project-based work, posters and formal examinations.

In each of the three years there is an emphasis on applied, real world study, ensuring you gain those essential skills valued by all employers, including group and project work, IT skills, presentations and report writing skills.

You will have access to a comprehensive support system throughout your time at Birmingham that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues. In the induction week you will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will oversee your academic and personal progress during the degree. During the first year you will have a formal transition review to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support. You will have regular meetings with your tutor to help you develop your skills and to plan your personal development.

Assessment methods

We use a number of different teaching and assessment methods including lectures, essays, group and individual work and formal examinations, culminating in an extended essay in Year three. Throughout the degree you will receive personalised support from a dedicated team of academic and support staff.

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through a combination of essays, group and individual work, and formal examinations, culminating in an extended essay in year three.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.


Crowd of people in an urban area In studying urban and regional planning at Birmingham you can be confident that you will graduate with a well recognised degree, in which many of the modules which have been designed with the needs of employers in mind. You will be well placed to develop a career within planning field, either in the public or private sector. In both areas, the demand for qualified graduates is always there. The good news is that as our towns and cities are constantly evolving there will always be a need for planning as an activity.

94% of our Geography and Planning students feel that they have improved their career prospects 2014 National Student Survey

Past experience has shown that this degree opens doors to a wide variety of lucrative careers in the built environment. Potential career opportunities in Britain and overseas include town and country planning, inner-city regeneration, sustainable development, housing and conservation, property development or estates management, planning in developing and transitional countries, management traineeships in the public or private sectors, and teaching. Other students continue in education with further postgraduate study.

Geography and Planning undergraduate employability 2012-13 Geography and Planning - undergraduate destinations 2012/13

Find out more about career opportunities in Geography and Planning

You will leave with a range of skills relevant to careers beyond planning and its related fields. Our graduates are welcomed by a range of employers including central and local government; government agencies; property consultancies; planning and urban design consultancies; broader built environment consultancies; private companies and utilities; and developers. Actual recent career destinations for our students have included the Environment Agency, Homes and Community Agency, Birmingham City Council; Wyre Forest District Council; Redditch Borough Council; National Grid; King Sturge; Turley Associates; Lambert Smith Hampton; CBRE; Pegasus Planning Group to name a few.

The majority of employers will expect candidates to have an undergraduate degree in planning as a minimum. To become a chartered town planner (which is recommended for increased career prospects and to enter a job at a higher point in the pay scale) you will need to have completed a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) accredited degree. You can do this at the University of Birmingham by undertaking our RTPI accredited Masters Course in Urban and Regional Planning

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team in the College who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive at Birmingham.