Master of Urban Planning

Course MC-URPL (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 002524M
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr John Stone



Currently enrolled students:
• Contact Stop 1
• General information:

Future students:
• Further information:
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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 it is never more timely than now as we adapt to global changes that impact our cities. These changes include climate change; 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.

Learning Outcomes:

The Master of Urban Planning degree provides professional training in urban planning. The program recognises the importance of interdisciplinary learning and, in addition to a wide array of electives, includes interdisciplinary studio options. The program also recognises the importance of being able to carry out and communicate research on planning policy and practice, including a compulsory analytical methods subject and a minor research thesis.

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 Structure & Available Subjects:

All students must complete:

100 points of core subjects

25 points of Optional Capstone Subjects

50 points of specialisation elective subjects

25 points of multidisciplinary elective subjects

Note: Master of Urban Planning students can complete specialisation elective subjects and multidisciplinary elective subjects by participating in an exchange program with an overseas university.

Subject Options:

Core subjects (100 points)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2

Optional Capstone Subjects

Students must complete one of the following subjects

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


ABPL90217 MSD Minor Thesis is of year-long duration.The thesis requires two consecutive semesters of enrolment in ABPL90217 MSD Minor Thesis. Students can commence the MSD Minor Thesis either in Semester 1 or 2 and must continue in the consecutive semester. Upon successful completion of this Thesis , students will receive 25 points credit.

This subject comprises the degree's capstone experience and provides students with the necessary research preparation for doctoral study.

To view a sample course plan go to:

Multidisciplinary electives (25 points)

Students may choose any masters-level subjects including:

  • Melbourne School of Design graduate subjects provided prerequisites are met
  • Any University of Melbourne graduate subject provided prerequisites are met and written approval from the home faculty is submitted to the Environments and Design Student Centre.

Click below for a list of Melbourne School of Design Multidisciplinary elective subjects

Multidisciplinary elective subject list

Note: MUP students may apply to use points arising from a Melbourne School of Design Travelling Studio towards either the multidisciplinary elective, specialisation elective (with program coordinator approval) components of the course.

Specialisation Elective subjects (50 points)

Students may also take graduate level subjects from the Melbourne School of Design or other faculties, with written approval from the home faculty and the MUP Program Coordinator.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Semester 1
January, Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 2
Not offered in 2016
Semester 1
January, February, May, August, Semester 1, Semester 2
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:

  • a minimum three-year undergraduate degree with a weighted average mark of at least H3 (65%), or equivalent; and
  • a personal statement outlining relevant prior study and work experience, and motivation to undertake the course.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • prior academic performance; and
  • the personal statement.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Guaranteed Transfer into Commonwealth Supported Place

Students with a fee place in this course who complete 100 points of the course with a weighted average of at least 75% and who are eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place will be guaranteed a transfer to a Commonwealth Supported Place for the final 100 points of the course.

For information about how to apply
click here.

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne School of Design (MSD) welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is the University's and Faculty's policy to take reasonable steps to make reasonable adjustments so as to enable students’ participation in degrees offered by the Melbourne School of Design.

A candidate for degrees offered in the MSD must have abilities and skills which include the following: observation; communication; motor; conceptual, integrative, and quantitative; and behavioural and social. Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability, however, particularly at Masters level, students need to be able to participate in programs in an independent manner and with regard to their safety and the safety of others.

(i) Observation: Candidates must be able to read text, diagrams, maps, drawings and numerical data.

(ii) Communication: Candidates should be able to communicate with fellow students, professional and academic staff, members of relevant professions and the public. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing.

(iii) Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from environmental contexts. Off campus investigations may include visits to construction sites, urban, rural and/or remote environments. Candidates should have sufficient motor ability to use a computer and to prepare documentation of analytic texts, graphs and maps. Candidates should have the ability to actively participate in appropriate site and studio-based activities.

(iv) Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, synthesis and, importantly, the ability to interpret results of such work. Problem resolution, the critical skill demanded of graduates, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend spatial relationships in urban spaces and larger geographic areas. Further, graduate study entails learning to master one’s own abilities and skills and to deploy them strategically. This requires further developing skills in both reflective and reflexive thinking and being able to practice these skills.

(v) Behavioural and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel a disability will prevent them from meeting the above academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit.

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 Master 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:

It is expected that graduates of the Master of Urban Planning will have completed the academic requirements for membership of:

  • 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 encouraged to attend and contribute to conferences and seminars in order to increase their knowledge of planning issues, 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:

Students in this program may be eligible to undertake final subject assessment if they:

  • are in the final semester of their enrolment (not the last 50 points of the course); and
  • fail* a single subject worth up to 12.5 points with a final result of 40 - 49%.

* Receive an N or NH grade, except where that NH grade was awarded due to failure to participate in a component of assessment.

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