Luke: MSc Urban and Regional Planning

MSc Urban and Regional Planning

Luke, an alumnus of the MSc Urban and Regional Planning degree course in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, talks about his experiences on the course and his career since graduating.


My name’s Luke Coffey. I a Senior Town Planning Consultant at WYG based in Birmingham City Centre. 

The course was about Urban and Regional Planning in the UK. It covered aspects relating to the planning system; it covered planning theory; it covered planning law; and also commercial aspects related to property development.  It also covered various aspects to do with sustainability, so environmental, economic and social issues that are pertinent in the built environment. The course was delivered through lectures and a mixture of smaller seminar classes. What really appealed to me about the course was that the link with the various companies in Birmingham City Centre related to planning. There was a lot of presentations and going out and actually meeting these companies and doing hands-on practical work with them. 

I chose the University of Birmingham because the course had everything that I required for my discipline. It was chartered by the Royal Town Planning Institute, but also the University offered more than just a course – it offered, you know, a sort of family environment but also with good sports facilities, good academic facilities, and also it was close to Birmingham City Centre. 

Throughout the Masters course I was fortunate to gain employment with a company called Alliance Planning. That came through a link with a module on the course. I joined them as an assistant planning consultant whilst finishing my Masters dissertation. Upon passing my Masters and graduating I gained fulltime employment with them. Following a period of two years after that employment I gathered the necessary experience to become Chartered which wouldn’t have been possible without attending the University of Birmingham and being on the Masters course. I'm now a Senior Planning Consultant at a company called WYG, which was formally Alliance Planning, but we were taken over in September of last year. My day to day task is we are consultancy, so we advise clients on a range of issues in the built environment specifically related to the planning process. We can either be involved at the initial appraisal stage or we can come in a little bit later for preparing and submitting the planning application. 

My top tip would be to come and visit the University and have a chat to the lecturers involved in the course. The thing that appealed to me was that it was a very close-knit course and you had very good contact time with your lecturers. What also became apparent was that they have a number of links to companies in the City Centre in the built environment, and that sort of really appealed to me because of that employment aspect. 

I received an initial bursary from the University of Birmingham to cover some of the costs associated with a Masters degree. I also received career support through the career services and also through my lecturers, which ultimately involved me gaining valuable employment.