Urban planning graduates play a key role in how the places we live are managed and developed. Find out how their skills can be used across a wide range of sectors
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Historic buildings inspector/conservation officer
- Housing manager/officer
- Local government officer
- Town planner
- Transport planner
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Civil Service administrator
- Community development worker
- Environmental manager
- Landscape architect
- Planning and development surveyor
- Sustainability consultant
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
You need to keep up to date with current planning, built environment and wider environmental issues if you want to pursue a career in planning. You also need to be able to express a passion for making better places.
Try to get work experience through relevant part-time or temporary jobs, voluntary positions or internships. Some local authorities and private sector employers offer work placements in planning departments and they may also have opportunities for work shadowing or workplace visits.
You could apply to volunteer through Planning Aid England, a service that provides free planning advice to those who can't afford professional fees. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) offers a comprehensive online directory of planning consultants.
Make the most of field study visits on your course to gain practical skills, essential in the workplace. Some courses include a paid placement year in professional practice. Use this year to build on your skills, network and develop contacts.
Student membership of a professional body, such as RTPI, will help increase your networking and training opportunities.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Urban planning graduates go on to careers in planning, design and development, as well as in areas such as transport, economic development, urban regeneration and environmental consultancy.
Jobs exist across the public sector with:
- local authority departments (such as regeneration services or planning and development)
- central/devolved government
- major public bodies.
Private planning and environmental consultancies also employ urban planning graduates to advise organisations and individuals on specific planning schemes.
Opportunities also exist with:
- housing associations
- large retail business
- neighbourhood planning organisations
- transport organisations (e.g. airports)
- private developers
- utilities companies.
You can also work in the charity and non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors with environmental, conservation and heritage organisations.
Skills for your CV
Studying urban planning allows you to develop specialist knowledge in town and regional planning, providing you with a range of professional skills such as:
- design and place making
- knowledge of planning law and legislation
- finance and policy development
- strategic thinking
- analytical research
- making a reasoned argument
- professional report writing and presentation
- partnership working and collaboration.
You also develop skills that are useful in many different career areas. These include:
- verbal and written communication
- negotiation and mediation
- impartiality and diplomacy
- general and people management
Urban planning can be studied at postgraduate level, following the completion of a cognate degree. Some urban planning graduates go on to postgraduate study to further their planning knowledge or to specialise in a particular area. Postgraduate study, along with practical experience, is important if you want to secure chartered membership from RTPI.
Specialist courses for urban planning graduates can allow you to focus on topics including transport, urban design, urban regeneration, environmental planning or infrastructure.
Other areas of further study, which can lead to related careers, include:
- business management
- built environment
- landscape architecture
- transport and planning.
What do urban planning graduates do?
The top three jobs held by graduates working in the UK include town planning officer, chartered surveyor and housing officer.
|Working and studying||5.0|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Engineering and building||34.2|
|Technicians and other professionals||10.5|
|Legal, social and welfare||10.0|
|Business, HR and financial||9.8|
Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.