The built environment is about more than buildings; it’s about the infrastructure that comes with it. So if you’re interested in key ‘quality of life’ issues – housing, health, education, transport and poverty – this could be the programme for you.
The city of Birmingham is a first-rate planning laboratory, and this degree programme will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a difference to how we live today and in the future.
Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.
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 builds this understanding by drawing on the academic strengths of one of the largest and most prestigious Geography departments in the UK, and the research and international reputation of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) here at 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 bring to life the issues you are studying and set them in a real world context.
Planning and Social Policy 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.
If you are interested in urban issues - particularly why cities develop and change - a degree in Planning will be right up your street. And where better to study important issues such as housing, transport, urban planning, property development, sustainability, conservation and business than in a city with a rich industrial heritage that has undergone rapid and dramatic transformation over the past two decades - and remains a work-in-progress?
This degree programme will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a difference to how we live today and in the future.
At Birmingham you are taught by academics who are world-leading experts in their fields. Our Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS), which is a leading international centre for research, teaching and consultancy in spatial and social planning studies, puts great emphasis on practice-based planning. So you will spend a lot of time doing real-life project-based work - from finding new uses for old buildings and looking at the effects of HS2 to the regeneration of housing estates and urban parks - some of which you might see incorporated into existing or future schemes.
Our portfolio of modules across our degree programmes is incredibly varied and intellectually stimulating - which is why we give you the opportunity to choose what you want to study and specialise in the areas that most interest you.
Skills for future employment
Our graduates have exciting and varied career paths. A Planning degree from Birmingham provides a raft of opportunities in the private and public sectors, both of which demand the skills and know-how you will acquire with us, such as business acumen, groupworking abilities and technical expertise. You will also gain transferable skills which are highly valued by employers and will enhance your employability in the competitive job market.
Core modules (Planning)
Core modules (Social Policy)
The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
Specified subjects excluded for entry: General Studies and Critical Thinking
BTEC Extended Diploma is accepted but subjects are considered on a case by case basis - contact us for further guidance.
BTEC Diploma accepted in combination with an A level.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma accepted in combination with two A levels.
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 2016.
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
Other qualifications are considered - see
for full details.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6, 5, 5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
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.
How you learn is as important as what you learn. The learning experience at Birmingham combines a wide variety of study methods extending way beyond the lecture theatre, to include extensive fieldwork, practical work and tutorials.
You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.
An inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment
Our cutting-edge teaching programme is built on a foundation of over one hundred years of research and teaching excellence. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner shaping your own intellectual development with us. You will learn from academic specialists at the top of their fields and the world-leading research they carry out feeds directly into our degree programmes. The research-led teaching on our flexible degree courses ensures an inspirational and enquiry-based learning environment in the classroom, lab and field.
As well as lectures, tutorials and practical classes you will have access to extensive educational facilities across the School and University including library resources, a well-equipped map room, state-of-the-art laboratory and IT facilities, and purpose-built learning spaces.
Support during your studies
You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham. We also have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.
Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the Centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note talking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
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.
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.
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.
During your first year you will be given a formal transition review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you may need support. Your personal tutor who is based in the School can help with any academic issues you encounter.
A Planning degree from Birmingham provides a raft of opportunities in the private and public sectors, both of which demand the skills and know-how you will acquire with us, such as business acumen, groupworking abilities and technical expertise. The good news is that as our towns and cities are constantly evolving there will always be a need for planning as an activity.
96.2% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating
2014/15 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey
Where could a Planning degree take you?
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.
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.
Preparing you for your career
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. 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. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.
Societies, School and campus life
The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences is one of the friendliest and most dynamic at the University. There’s a great atmosphere and sense of community among students and staff. Learning apart, there is a lot going on, much of it driven by the two main student societies:
The Kinvig Society
- named after the first head of the Geography Department, Robert Henry Kinvig – is one of the biggest and most active student societies on campus. Run by students, it lays on a lively and varied programme of social events throughout the year, culminatingin the black-tie Kinvig Ball at one of the city’s top venues in November and the Three Peaks challenge in aid of chosen charities. As well as trips to restaurants, bars and nightclubs, there are sporting events: Kinvig sports representatives organise teams for the inter-departmental University sports leagues. Football, rugby, hockey, netball, volleyball and squash are usually available for both men and women; in some cases, for mixed teams as well. If you’re a geographer or environmental science student, Kinvig will write to you before term starts with a full programme of events to help you settle in happily during your first few weeks.
Follow Kinvig on Twitter
The Lapworth Society (LapSoc)
is the student society for Earth Sciences students. Named after Birmingham’s first Professor of Geology, Charles Lapworth, it organises social events such as pub quizzes, drinks nights and the end-of-year-ball in March. It fields intermural sports teams in the University’s netball and six-a-side football leagues, training regularly and playing matches every Wednesday afternoon against other schools across campus.
Follow LapSoc on Twitter