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Study urban planning abroad

An in-depth guide to studying urban planning as an international student.

Explore urban planning programs abroad

See other programs in urban planning

Urban planning degrees abroad

Urban planning is a process that involves designing, developing, and managing towns and cities. It’s a far-reaching discipline that encompasses elements of architecture, geography, engineering and real estate.

Programs in urban planning prepare students with the theoretical and practical skills they’ll need to make built environments safe, sustainable and fit for purpose. You’ll develop your design skills, get to grips with the sector’s laws and ethics, and consider the challenges faced by today’s towns and cities.

Although textbooks are a useful learning tool, they’re no substitute for experiencing the world’s cities in person. Studying abroad will allow you to get out of your comfort zone, experience new places, and connect with global professionals. You’ll see how the design and use of urban environments varies on an international scale, giving you a deeper understanding of the field.

Urban planning program structure

Bachelor’s degrees in urban planning are normally offered as a BSc and require three or four years of full-time study. The length of your program will depend on where you choose to study and whether you complete an optional 12-month industry placement.

If you opt to study as an undergraduate in the US, you’ll spend the first two years of your degree taking liberal arts classes before majoring in urban planning for the second half of the program.

If you want to extend your knowledge and specialize in a particular branch of urban planning, you may wish to enroll in a postgraduate program. Master’s degrees usually last one or two years, with PhDs taking a further four or five years on top.

You’ll be taught mainly through lectures, seminars, tutorials, and practical sessions. Some universities will also arrange urban field trips and guest presentations from professionals. Your progress will be assessed through essays, reports, design work, and projects.

The content of urban planning courses differs between universities and countries. That said, most will introduce students to these core modules:

  • Urban planning and development throughout history
  • Theory of urban planning
  • Urban design
  • Professional development and practice
  • Healthy and sustainable communities
  • Planning law
  • City regeneration
  • Transport and mobility

Alternative urbanism degrees

How to study urban planning abroad

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Urban planning study abroad programs

Urban planning undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in urban planning

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    Urban Planning - BSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,834 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about
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    Urban Planning and Environment - by coursework - BSc (Hons) RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    31,680 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about
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    Regional and Urban Planning - BA/BA (Hons) University of Saskatchewan, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    19,749 CAD
    Start date
    January, May, July, September
    Show program overview about
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    Urban Planning - BSc (Hons) University of the West of England - UWE Bristol, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    13,000 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about
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    Urban Planning and Sustainable Development - BA Western Washington University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    24,690 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about
See all bachelor's degrees in urban planning

Urban planning graduate programs

Master's in urban planning

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    Regional & Urban Planning - MRUP University College Dublin, Ireland

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    24,200 EUR
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about
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    Urban Planning - MA University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    17,275 GBP
    Start date
    September
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    Housing Studies (with internship) - MSc University of Stirling, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    14,300 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about
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    Urban Planning - MSc University of the West of England - UWE Bristol, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    13,000 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about
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    Urban Planning and Policy - MUPP American University of Beirut, Lebanon

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,060 USD
    Start date
    January, August
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See all master's degrees in urban planning

Diploma in urban planning

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    GIS and Urban Planning - OCDip Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    14 months
    Tuition fees per year
    18,378 CAD
    Start date
    September
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See all postgraduate diplomas in urban planning

Future urban planning careers

As the global population grows and more people migrate into towns and cities, urban planning graduates are in high demand across public and private sectors.

Your skills in planning, design, and development will help you map out a successful career in areas like housing, transport, urban regeneration, and environmental protection. Here are some of the roles you’d be ideally prepared for:

  • Urban planner
  • Urban designer
  • Housing manager
  • Transport planner
  • Planning and development surveyor
  • Conservation officer
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Landscape architect

Keeping on top of sector developments and participating in relevant work experience can give you a huge headstart in your career. Your university’s career service can direct you towards internship opportunities and help you to apply for them.