Urban planning graduates play a key role in managing and developing the places we live in to make them safer, more sustainable and healthier

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

If you want to pursue a career in planning you'll need to keep up to date with current planning, built environment and wider environmental issues. You also need to be able to express a passion for making better places.

To help with this you could consider becoming a student member with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). This provides access to student resources, networks and discounted events.

You can also 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 RTPI offers a comprehensive online directory of planning consultants, which you could use for speculative applications.

Make the most of field study visits on your course to gain practical skills, which are 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.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Urban planning graduates go on to careers in town planning, design and development, as well as in areas such as transport, economic development, housing, urban regeneration, tourism, environmental protection and environmental consultancy.

Jobs exist across the public sector with:

  • local authority departments (such as regeneration services or planning and development)
  • central and 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:

  • business consultancies
  • construction and surveying companies
  • environmental agencies, such as Natural England and the Environment Agency
  • housing associations and social enterprises
  • large retail business
  • neighbourhood planning organisations
  • transport organisations (such as airports)
  • private developers
  • sustainable energy centres
  • utilities companies.

You can also work in the charity and non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors with environmental, conservation and heritage organisations.

Find information on employers in property and construction and other job sectors.

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 processes, law and housing policy
  • finance and policy development
  • strategic thinking
  • analytical research
  • making a reasoned argument and taking part in professional debating
  • professional report writing and presentation
  • partnership working and collaboration.

Many of these skills can be carried across to other careers and you will also pick up other generic skills such as:

  • verbal and written communication
  • IT
  • negotiation and mediation
  • problem solving
  • impartiality and diplomacy
  • teamwork
  • research
  • creativity
  • decision-making
  • general, time and people management
  • pragmatism.

Further study

You may decide to go on to postgraduate study to further your planning knowledge or to specialise in a particular area such as marine planning and management, planning and management, or environmental assessment and management. Postgraduate study, along with practical experience, is also important if you want to secure chartered membership from RTPI.

Specialist courses for urban planning graduates allow you to focus on topics including transport, urban design, urban regeneration, environmental planning and infrastructure.

You could also undertake further study to move into a related career. This includes subjects such as:

  • architecture
  • business management
  • built environment
  • landscape architecture
  • transport and planning.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search for postgraduate courses in urban planning.

What do urban planning graduates do?

44% of urban planning graduates are working as architects, chartered architectural technologists, planning officers, surveyors and construction professionals 15 months after graduation. 3% are working as CAD, drawing and architectural technicians and business and financial project management professionals (2%).

Further study5.8
Working and studying10.4
Graduate destinations for urban planning
Type of workPercentage
Business, HR and finance12
Clerical, secretarial and administrative8.2
Marketing, PR and sales7.4
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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