Master of Urban and Regional 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: Masters Degree
Number of units: 11 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)

This course is designed to develop the requisite skills and knowledge to enter the planning profession. It examines the theoretical foundations of planning, it’s legislative and bureaucratic frameworks and develops practical skills required by planning practitioners in government agencies, the private sector and NGOs. It also teaches research skills and develops critical analytical capacities through the completion of a major piece of original planning research. Participation in projects that involve real planning issues and engagement with planning professionals prepare graduates for professional life.
Students will have opportunities to experience local, national and international examples of best and worst practice.

Urban and Regional Planning plays an important role in ensuring that the built environment operates in an efficient and effective manner and balances the demands of economic development, environmental conservation and social inclusion.

This course is designed to prepare graduates for planning practice. The first year of the course introduces planning theory, law and practice. It also imparts an understanding of land development, the functions and ethics of practice in the public and private sectors and the development of plans that serve the needs of government agencies and communities. Finally, students acquire critical analytical and research skills in preparation for the final semester of the course which involves undertaking and presenting a piece of original research.

Students will achieve the following outcomes from the Masters:

  1. disseminate 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. think critically at the highest order to analyse and challenge theories and practices of urban and regional planning, and generate creative solutions to planning issues
  3. critically access, evaluate and synthesise information in order to undertake research relevant to urban and regional planning
  4. communicate effectively at a high order which is both innovative and ground-breaking in writing, graphically and orally with various audiences (academic, professional and community)
  5. use appropriate technologies to practice urban and regional planning
  6. use learned skills to continue self development and influence others in continued learning in the profession
  7. have a high level of awareness and skills to understand and respond to cultural diversity and difference in national and international perspectives
  8. recognise and consider the needs and aspirations of the diversity of populations served by urban and regional planning, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the cultures of other minority ethnic groups in Australia and internationally
  9. work ethically as individuals and in teams demonstrating skills in leadership and negotiation and conflict resolution, recognising and valuing the contribution of other disciplines and interests.

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 A ustralia (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 Master of Urban and Regional Planning, students must complete 11 units including a double unit (300 credit points):

  • 7 core units (200 credit points)
  • 4 optional units (100 credit points) either as offered by the teaching area or as approved by course coordinator prior to the commencement of the options
  • Students must complete the award within 10 years.

Generally the course is fully planned in sequential progression. See the suggested study plans for full time and part time study below.

Master of Urban Regional Planning suggested full time study plans

Master of Urban Regional Planning suggested part time study plans

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.


In addition to the seven core units, students must complete four elective units selected from the Urban and Regional Planning electives listed below, or any approved OUA postgraduate unit.

Students must contact the Course Coordinator for approval of their elective units before enrolling (if outside the list provided).

Total number of units to complete: 7 units Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Planning Theory
URP530 CUR - SP2 - SP4
Regional Planning
URP510 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Planning Dissertation Preparation
URP5701 CUR - SP2 - SP4
Integrated Plan Making
URP5602 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Planning Law
URP500 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Development Processes
URP520 CUR - SP2 - SP4
Planning Masters Dissertation
URP6503 CUR SP1 SP2 SP3 -

1 URP540 Introduction to Planning must be completed prior to undertaking this unit.
2 URP550 Local Planning must be completed prior to undertaking this unit.
3 URP530 Planning Theory and URP570 Planning Research Methods must both be completed prior to undertaking this DOUBLE unit.

  Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Introduction to Planning
URP5403 CUR - SP2 - SP4
Local Planning
URP5501 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Project Management Overview
PRM5002 CUR - - SP3 -
Planning for Sustainability
URP590 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Planning for Housing
URP620 CUR - - - SP4
Landscape Planning and Heritage
URP630 CUR - - SP3 -
Transport Planning
URP600 CUR - SP2 - -
Participatory Planning
URP640 CUR SP1 - - -
Governance for Planning
URP505 CUR SP1 - SP3 -
Development Assessment
URP515 CUR - SP2 - SP4

1 This unit must be taken prior to undertaking URP560 Integrated Plan Making.
2 This unit was previously known as URP600 Project Management Overview.
3 This unit must be taken prior to undertaking URP570 Planning Dissertation Preparation.

  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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