Master of Urban Planning

Course MC-URPL (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Year and Campus: 2010 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate


Professor Richard Tomlinson


Environments and Design Student Centre
T:+61 3 8344 6417 /9862
F: +61 3 8344 5532

Course Overview:

The Master of Urban Planning is an accredited professional degree that focuses on Australian and international policy and planning pertaining to human settlements. Planners promote the establishment of economically viable, socially just, environmentally sustainable, safe and healthy human settlements.

As planners, we believe that this is a critical pursuit – and perhaps never more timely than now as we adapt to global changes that impact our cities. These changes include climate change; a renewed focus on public transport and the form of our cities; deepening inequality that has often been associated with diminished local democracy and the rise of community advocacy; growing concerns for community health and safety; and the emergence of global city-regions that require innovations in governance and planning.


The Master of Urban Planning degree provides professional training in urban planning with the opportunity to specialize in one of five areas, while maintaining breadth by taking electives throughout the Faculty and University. The program recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary learning and, in addition to wide array of electives, includes interdisciplinary studio options. The program also recognizes the importance of being able to carry out and communicate research on planning policy and practice, including a compulsory analytical methods subject and an independent research component.

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 and specialisations that enable to develop their intellectual and career interest;
  • 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 programme;
  • 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 on a planning issues.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

All students must complete:

87.5 points of core subjects

25 points MUP Minor Thesis

50 points specialisation subjects

37.5 points multidisciplinary electives

Subject Options:

Core subjects (87.5 points)

These subjects should be taken in the sequence described. Course structure may be varied with the permission of the course coordinator, particularly in the case of advanced standing students.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

MUP Minor Thesis (25 points)

In order to successfully complete the MUP Minor Thesis students are required to enrol in two separate subjects commencing with 702-697 MUP Minor Thesis (1) (Masters) followed by 702-699 Minor Thesis (2) (Masters).

Students can commence the MUP Minor Thesis either in semesters 1 or 2.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2

Specialisation subjects (50 points)

Students wishing to take a specialization should select at least three subjects from those listed within a specialization and a fourth from across all the specialisation subjects .

(It is highly recommended students seek advice from academic staff members from Urban Planning to guide them in the selection of subjects).

Students are not required to complete a specialisation and can develop their intellectual and career interests by selecting a range of subjects from those listed under specialisations.

Specialisation: Social and Community Planning

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2010

Specialisation: Economic and International Development Planning

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Specialisation: Planning and Urban Design

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2010

Specialisation: Environmental Planning

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Specialisation: Transport and Land Use Planning

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2

Multidisciplinary electives (37.5 points)

Students may choose any masters level subjects including -
  • Melbourne School of Design graduate subjects without prerequisites. To view list click here.
  • Melbourne School of Design graduate subjects with prerequisites (provided prerequisites are met). To view list click here
  • Any University of Melbourne graduate subject provided pre-requisites are met and written approval is submitted to the Environments and Design Student Centre.

To view a sample course plan go to:
Entry Requirements:

1. The Selection Committee will evaluate the applicant’s ability to pursue the course successfully using the following criteria

  • a minimum three-year undergraduate degree with a weighted average of at least 65% in the final two years, or equivalent; and
  • submission of a personal statement of up to 1000 words outlining relevant prior study and work experience, and motivation to undertake the course.

2. The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referee reports and employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above.

Note: Students who have completed relevant prior study and/or at least one year of documented relevant full-time professional work experience, or equivalent, may be eligible for advanced standing.

Guaranteed Pathway into Master of Urban Planning for BEnv Graduates (available for masters entry from 2011 to 2014)

  1. BEnv graduates with a weighted average of at least 65% in their final two years will be guaranteed a fee place in the 200-point Master of Urban Planning.
  2. BEnv graduates with a weighted average of at least 65% in their final two years, and who are eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place, will be guaranteed a Commonwealth Supported Place in the 200-point Master of Urban Planning.

For information about how to apply click here.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Graduate Attributes:

The variety of planning roles – working in government, for the private sector, in public-private partnerships and in civil society is becoming more complex. The variety of planning specialisations – including land-use development control, transport planning, environmental planning, strategic planning, advocacy and community development, and urban design is increasing. The Master of Urban Planning degree equips planners with basic knowledge and skills that allow them to excel in the workplace. More importantly, the Masters of Urban Planning teaches students to think critically and strategically, with a sound understanding of relevant theories, and with a view to ensuring the ability to adapt to and to lead these changes.

This teaching includes considerable emphasis on global changes in planning practice and governance and equips graduates to practice internationally.

Professional Accreditation: Planning Institute of Australia (PIA)
Generic Skills:

The Master of Urban Planning degree prepares students to step up as leaders, to address the world’s urban problems and to maximise opportunities, now and in the future. We do this through a pedagogical mix of lectures, debate, discussion, seminars and student presentations, local and travelling studios, and independent research. Students are encourage to attend and contribute to conferences and seminars in order to increase their knowledge of planning issues, local and international, to grow their professional networks and to share their findings with the scholarly community.

Students are taught to:

  • Understand theory and think in a critical and reflective manner;
  • Develop core planning knowledge and skills;
  • Respond creatively to the issues they confront;
  • Understand and manage the complexity inherent in planning problems;
  • Understand cities in an international comparative context;
  • Develop research skills;
  • Develop areas of specialisation; and,
  • Work in multi-disciplinary teams.
Links to further information:

Download PDF version.