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The two-year Master of Planning (MPlan) course is housed within the School of Geography.

The Programme Co-ordinator, a professionally qualified planner, and staff member of the School of Geography, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the programme.

Teaching input is provided by staff from Geography and other departments (e.g. Law, Surveying) as well as by external practitioners in relevant fields.

Case studies and hands-on involvement in real planning situations are important elements of the programme involving practicing planning professionals working in regional and local government and private consultancies.

Course content

The two-year MPlan programme has a broad-based curriculum because of the wide ranging knowledge and skills that planners require to be effective planning professionals.

The structure of the course is designed to give students competence in core planning skills and the opportunity to specialise in areas in which they are particularly interested.

Specialisation areas, related to the teaching and research interests of our staff:

  • Children and young peoples' participation in planning
  • Coastal management and planning
  • Community engagement, participation and development
  • Development studies in post-conflict countries and regions
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Environmental management
  • Health, inequality and wellbeing
  • Housing, home and homelessness
  • Iwi planning
  • Landscape planning
  • Migration and refugee resettlement planning
  • Natural resources planning and management
  • Physical processes in environmental systems, including climatology and climate change, hydrology, geomorphology
  • Planning for climate change adaptation
  • Planning for heritage
  • Policy analysis, development, and implementation under the Resource Management Act 1991
  • Regional and local economic development
  • Sustainable community development, including urban food systems
  • The use of digital technologies to enhance traditional approaches to planning
  • Urban geography
  • Urban informality
  • Urban planning in a changing society

Programme structure and papers

Programme structure

Master of Planning papers

Class size

To maintain close personal contact between staff and students, the two-year course is offered as an intensive programme of teaching, project and research work with small class sizes. This allows for a lot of discussion, interaction and small group work.

Our students come from a range of backgrounds

Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds, from recent graduates to those looking for a change in career.

Graduates with an arts or science Geography degree, as well as those from other disciplines are invited to apply. Other disciplines from which our students are drawn include political science, history, ecology, zoology, botany, law, Māori studies and commerce.

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