The MUP will:

  • Equip students so that they are sought-after practitioners and researchers of urban planning in Australia and internationally;
  • Provide students with a choice of electives to enable them to develop their intellectual and career interests;
  • Encourage an environment in which theoretical and applied planning knowledge is developed;
  • Recognise and build upon the range of prior skills and knowledge students bring to the program;
  • Engage students with key contemporary planning ideals, ethics and debates, including debates surrounding the creation of equitable and sustainable human settlements; and,
  • Provide research opportunities allowing students to undertake supervised and self-directed learning.

Course Description

Prepare for a professional career as a planning practitioner

As we adapt to global changes that impact our cities including climate change, deepening inequality, concerns for community health and safety, and the emergence of global city-regions, planning has never been more critical.

The Master of Urban Planning is a professional degree that focuses on Australian and international policy and planning pertaining to human settlements and how we cope with these challenging population and environmental issues.


The Master of Urban Planning is accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and undergoes a regular review process to ensure the quality and relevance of the program.

Completing an accredited degree means you enter the workforce with a stamp of quality on your CV.  In a competitive market, an accredited degree is an assurance of quality to employers and an advantage for you. For us, it means we continually strive to improve the quality of the degree in order to retain accreditation. So, you know you are getting the most up-to-date and innovative educational experience.

Program Overview

In the Master of Urban Planning, you will examine the interaction between people, the places they live and the policies that help shape economically viable, socially just, environmentally sustainable, safe and healthy communities. You will explore:

  • The frameworks and operations of different planning systems and debates
  • Different perspectives on urban problems, policies, planning and practices
  • Planning in relation to critical issues such as housing, energy, health, strategy, transport, economy and disaster recovery
  • The way in which planning decisions impact on real-world situations

The program allows you to develop expertise in an area of specialisation in preparation for a focussed career. As well as core courses, electives and a research thesis, you will complete four courses in one of the following areas:

  • International development planning
  • Urban development and planning
  • Social and community planning
  • Environmental planning

You will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to respond creatively to urban planning issues.  You will examine cities in an international comparative context, gaining knowledge you can apply in your career, wherever you end up.

Career Outcomes

Many Master of Urban Planning graduates enter the public sector and work in government departments and agencies, or for local councils and regions.

The private sector and civil society, within Australia and internationally, offers an increasing range of employment opportunities, including urban planning and design, environmental and transport planning consultancies, property development companies, and housing and community advocacy. There are also opportunities in tertiary education and research.

Urban planners work with teams of related professionals such as architects, landscape architects, engineers, environmental scientists, economists, property valuers, real estate developers, lawyers and sociologists.

Graduates from the Master of Urban Planning have gone on to work at many firms in Australia and across the world including:

  • Urbis, Hong Kong
  • Tract Consultants Pty Ltd
  • Department of Planning and Community Development
  • Hansen Partnership Pty Ltd, Ho Chi Minh City
  • City of Melbourne
  • VicUrban
  • Planisphere
  • Aurecon
  • SGS Economics and Planning
  • Hangzhou Urban Planning Bureau
  • URS Australia Pty Ltd
  • Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Lagos

Vocational Placement at MSD

The Melbourne School of Design now offers students of the Master of Urban Planning the opportunity to undertake a vocational placement. This experience will help students gain a first-hand understanding of urban planning in practice.

The placement is offered as an elective and students are expected to initiate their own placements with a relevant organisation, working for 120 hours in total.

ABPL90307 MSD Vocational Placement can be undertaken in Semester 1, Semester 2 or another study period by negotiation with the Vocational placement subject coordinator and the host organisation.

The subject is for unpaid work in a related planning field for 120 hours with a 5000-word assessment component.  Please note that the work for the 5000-word assessment is included in the 120 hours.  If you successfully complete the subject, you will receive 12.5 points credit towards multi-disciplinary electives in the Master of Urban Planning.

In most cases, students will be responsible for initiating their own placement with an organisation.  Interested students need to approach an organisation to obtain an in-principle agreement.  It is suggested students print a copy of the handbook subject description (link above) to show the organisation and to explain the subject.

On obtaining an in-principle agreement from the host organisation, students must contact Engagement Coordinator, Annie Howard.  Dr John Stone will then negotiate with the organisation regarding the assessment component and expected learning outcomes.

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