Graduate Certificate in Development Planning - 2017

Please note: This course has recently undergone a major change. Please refer to Transition Arrangements for more information.

The 2018 course information for this course is now available. View 2018 course details.

Course summary

Course summary - 2017

Level: Postgraduate
Qualification: Graduate Certificate
Number of units: 4 units to complete

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Restrictions apply. See Eligibility.

This course has restricted enrolment. You must apply and be accepted before you can enrol in units.

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Operating Hours

Standard hours

Mon - Fri: 8am - late

Sat & Sun: 9am - 5pm

All times in Australian Eastern
Standard Time (AEST) or Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)

In this course you will choose a range of specialist topics to meet your current and future career needs. This Graduate Certificate develops practical skills suitable for planning practitioners in government agencies or the private sector. We offer units which examine past and present planning trends, theories, laws relevant to planning and the importance of an integrated approach to urban and regional planning. You can also study land development processes and explore the implications for longer term community sustainability. Participation in projects addressing current planning issues and engagement with planning professionals prepares graduates for professional life. All units are based on interdisciplinary knowledge, techniques and practices and address environmental, social and design issues. Qualifications in Urban and Regional Planning are in increasing demand as a range of related professionals in real estate, local government and business seek to develop an understanding of planning issues.

The Graduate Certificate in Development Planning comprises the first four units of the eleven unit Master of Urban and Regional Planning, and offers and alternative pathway into the Master of Urban and Regional Planning for those with only industry experience.

Students will achieve the following outcomes from the graduate certificate:

  1. identify and apply the principles, theories and concepts of urban and regional planning and draw upon appropriate knowledge of social, economic and environmental factors within a governance framework to practise planning, particularly in the Western Australian context;
  2. examine and challenge theories and practices of urban and regional planning, and generate creative solutions to planning issues
  3. access, evaluate and synthesise information in the context of urban and regional planning
  4. communicate effectively in writing, graphically, and orally with various audiences within a university context
  5. use appropriate technologies to gather and interpret research and data
  6. engage in self education within the Urban and Regional Planning profession to continue self development
  7. compare and contrast developmental processes in local and international contexts
  8. work ethically as individuals and in teams using skills central to the practice of integrated planning development

A career in planning can lead to a number of different opportunities in both the public and private sectors. For a long time, local government, specifically in Regional Australia has suffered from a lack of professionally trained planners. Professional bodies including the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) are encouraging courses leading to the supply of qualified planners and the Federal Government has in recent times been promoting the migration of planners from other parts of the world to address the shortfall.  

The list of career opportunities includes (but is not limited to):

  • Local government planner
  • State government planner
  • Private planning consultant
  • Researcher or Academic
  • Development company
  • Regional development authority
  • Housing or transport agency
  • Environmental authority
  • Commonwealth Agency

An economic downturn is not likely to limit the need for employment of planners. In these times emphasis in the planning arena is much more focused on the provision of housing (affordable) and other welfare and social concerns.

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning is fully accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), the national professional body for planners. The PIA body establishes and maintains national standards for the education and skill development of planners entering into the planning profession. Curtin University has taught planning programs for over 40 years at both undergraduate and post graduate level.

Graduates from Curtin's Master of Urban and Regional Planning are eligible for full membership of PIA.

The Urban and Regional Planning course has two entrance pathways:


Applicants require an undergraduate degree in a related discipline from a recognised tertiary institution.


Work experience

Entry may be granted to applicants who do not have an academic qualification but who can demonstrate through professional work experience their capacity to successfully undertake this course. Entry to the Master of Urban and Regional Planning for students without undergraduate qualifications is via the Graduate Certificate in Development Planning. Students are advised to contact the Academic Course Coordinator for guidance prior to registering in any units.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

Applicants need to meet Curtin’s English Language requirement as all courses are taught in English. If your education courses were not solely in English, as per the International Handbook of Universities or the World Higher Education database, please attach a scanned original copy of English Proficiency Test results. Admission requires an overall International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic) (or equivalent test) score of at least 6.5 and competence in all test components (IELTS score of 6.0).

Please refer to the 'Minimum English Entry Requirements' document at

To qualify for the award of Graduate Certificate in Development Planning, students must complete 100 credit points:

  • 4 Core units
  • Students must complete the award within 5 years.

See the suggested study plans for full time and part time study below.

Graduate Certificate in Development Planning suggested full time study plans

Graduate Certificate in Development Planning suggested part time study plans

For students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate of Development Planning prior to Study Period 1 2017, please see the "Transitional arrangements" section below.

All units delivered via OUA will be taught in a fully online mode. Online learning materials will comprise of a range of media including:

  • Microsoft word documents
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Audio materials
  • Internet links to additional materials including video, audio, web pages and photographic materials
  • Collaborative online discussions

Study materials include online modules, online readings and a wide range of reference material. Students are provided with supervisory support by telephone and email.

Total number of units to complete: 3 units Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Introduction to Planning
URP540 CUR - SP2 - SP4
Governance for Planning
URP505 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Development Assessment
URP515 CUR - SP2 - SP4
Total number of units to complete: 1 unit Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Human Geography
GPH510 CUR SP1 - SP3 -

Applications for Credit for Recognised Learning (CRL) are assessed on a case by case basis according to Curtin University policies which is available at

Students must be admitted in an award course of study before lodging their completed CRL application, along with all necessary documentation for a formal assessment.

To officially apply for CRL, students need to submit the CRL application form available from to along with supporting documents. Accepted documentation includes scans of the original Transcripts and/or Award Certificate; front and back; in colour; and original size. For detailed scanned documents requirements and guidelines, please visit

For further information, please contact

You can pay fees in one of two main ways:

Eligible OUA students can access the government loan scheme known as FEE-HELP. You pay back the loan through your taxes once your income reaches a minimum threshold.

Who can access it?

  • Australian citizens who will undertake, in Australia, at least one unit of study contributing to their course
  • Permanent humanitarian visa holders who will be resident in Australia for the duration of their unit
  • Permanent visa holders who are undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals, and will be resident in Australia for the duration of their study

Find out more about FEE-HELP

You can pay your fees upfront - in full at the beginning of a unit - using:
  • Credit card (Visa and MasterCard)
  • Cheque
  • Money order

You should make cheques and money orders payable to 'Open Universities Australia' and send them to:
Open Universities Australia
GPO Box 5387
Melbourne 3001

Master of Urban and Regional Planning and Graduate Certificate in Development Planning have undergone a major change in 2017.

The new proposed course structures will only be for new students from 2017 onwards and the current students will follow the old structure.

For students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate of Development Planning prior to Study Period 1, 2017 you will need to complete 4 of the following 6 units. To enrol in these units, please refer to the Master of Urban and Regional Planning page.

  • URP500 Planning Law (SP1, SP3)
  • URP510 Regional Planning (SP1, SP3)
  • URP520 Development Processes (SP2, SP4)
  • URP530 Planning Theory (SP2, SP4)
  • URP550 Local Planning (SP1, SP3)
  • URP560 Integrated Plan Making (SP1, SP3)

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