MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies

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The MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies is a strongly focused and internationally based planning programme that has a long tradition in training both people seeking careers in urban and regional planning policy and mid-career professionals.

A strong interdisciplinary focus challenging students to understand cities and regions

Founded in 1966 by the departments of Economics, Geography and Government, the programme (now housed solely in the Department of Geography and Environment) continues a strong interdisciplinary focus challenging students to understand cities and regions from an economic, social and environmental perspective.

The MSc aims to provide a common understanding of the various influences affecting the planning process, and to teach a set of research skills that will help planners in practice. These skills include urban and regional economic analysis, the evaluation of environmental and regional policies and the study of institutional and political factors that impact city and regional development. These perspectives will be applied to London and to a wide range of countries and cities through lectures and seminar debate.

Students join the course from many countries and different backgrounds in the social sciences and the design, planning and property professions. Most graduates go on to work in city, regional or environmental planning, particularly on the research and consultancy side of practice. 

A strong sense of identity is generated in the student body, and alumni keep in regular contact with each other through an annual newsletter. A number of walks are conducted early in the first term to help students orient to London and a fieldtrip is held during the Easter vacation, the destination chosen by the students. Recent cohorts have chosen Istanbul, Berlin, Moscow, Dublin and Amsterdam. The students also run a Planning Society which organises speakers, shorter trips and social events. 

Dr Nancy Holman Dr Nancy Holman
Introduction to the programme by Dr Nancy Holman
  • For degree overview and entry requirements please see the Graduate Prospectus
  • For programme structure, links to course guides and indicative reading lists, please see the programme's calendar entry
  • A proud track record of student development
  • Professionally accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • A vibrant and active LinkedIn group open to all students and alumni
  • Students have gone on to careers in planning, architecture. property development, real estate, NGOs and international organisations

Further information

About the programme

The programme involves three compulsory half units, three half unit options and a 10,000 word dissertation. This dissertation will be on a topic of personal interest to you, agreed with your tutor. It provides the opportunity to apply the material learned in the rest of the programme. Through your selection of options you can either study a wide range of different subjects or choose a package with a specialism such as environment planning, regional policy, economic development or planning in developing countries.

You will have the benefit of a series of visiting speakers and study trips exploring current planning issues, including the chance to go on a study visit to another city. In recent years we have visited Sarajevo, Moscow, Istanbul, Berlin and Athens; the cost of this visit (about £300) is not covered by tuition fees.

Compulsory half-units

Economics of Regional and Urban Planning (Michaelmas Term)

The course provides an economic framework in which to analyse the structure of economic activity within the urban and regional context, the impact of this structure on urban form and the role of government at the local level. It includes the following topics: the determinants of industrial, commercial and residential location; the interaction between activities within a spatial context; the economics of land markets and of the development process; the determinants of rents and densities; models determining the structure of urban areas; sources of market failure in the urban economy; the rationale of government intervention; techniques of intervention in the urban and environmental context; the role of the public sector; pricing, allocation and investment decisions; urban and regional economic policy issues.

Social & Political Aspects of Regional and Urban Planning (Michaelmas Term)

The course explores the way in which regional and urban planning is influenced by political and institutional factors. Planning's role in both regulating development decisions and promoting public policy is explored. The course contents include: variety in the interaction between market processes and public intervention and its effect on planning; debates over the purpose and scope of planning; the processes of globalisation and the World City debate; the impact of political ideology on planning; institutional constraints on planning with a case study of Europe; the role of leadership and city Mayors; gentrification and social exclusion; opportunities for participation in planning. City Case studies, particularly London and New York.

Urban Policy and Planning (Lent Term)

The course provides a synthesised approach to the analysis of urban policy-making and plan formulation. It will explore the way in which economic, political and social forces interact to effect policy approaches in different spatial settings. We will cover urban regeneration policy and community development as they relate to neighbourhood planning. The aim is also to gain an understanding of the causes of similarity and difference in policy approaches. Students will undertake a group research project based on a London neighbourhood including an assessment of local planning policy.  

The following videos are examples of one element of our students' research work:


Charlton Riverside Group A

Charlton Riverside Group B

Colindale & Burnt Oak Common Group A

Colindale & Burnt Oak Common Group B

Thamesmead Group A

Thamesmead Group B

Old Kent Road Group A

Old Kent Road Group B

Other compulsory courses

Regional and Urban Planning Problems (Michaelmas and Lent Terms)

An interdisciplinary seminar with invited speakers from within the LSE and outside. The focus is on contemporary problems of regional and urban planning and speakers will either be engaged in relevant current research or be practitioners from central or local government, research agencies or consultancy.

Newsletters and publications

Planning Studies newsletter

A strong sense of identity is generated in the student body and alumni keep in regular contact through our newsletter.

View the latest edition: issue 30

Past newsletters: Newsletter 29 ; Newsletter 28 ;  

Newsletter 27 ; Newsletter 26 ; Newsletter 25 ; Newsletter 24 ; 

Newsletter 22/23 ; Newsletter 21 ; Newsletter 20 ; Newsletter 19 ; 

Newsletter 18 ; Newsletter 17 ; Newsletter 16 ; Newsletter 15 

Student field trip 2015

MSc RUPS students travelled to Moscow to explore the planning dilemmas found in this fascinating transitional city. Learn more about their experience.

Student publication on Tulse Hill

This report is the culmination of work carried out by an independent, external research team of MSc RUPS students between March and June 2014.

What the students said about the experience:

My experience on this project has been invaluable. It has been a unique and wonderful learning opportunity for me. I am really not used to having professors who are involved on such a personal level, but it has made all the difference. I also think that working closely with other students in this Tulse Hill project has given me a chance to get a better grasp on group working as well as to develop closer relationships with some students that I may not have been able to do otherwise. Thanks!
- Selina Bull,  MSc RUPS

Thank you, Alan and Nancy, for coming all the way to Tulse Hill to support us last night. It really meant a great deal, and we were happy to share our work with two people who have taught us so much. Thanks also, Alan, for linking us up with the opportunity. We certainly learned a lot while doing it!
- Emma Sagor,  MSc RUPS


Where are they now?

Our students describe their experiences of the programme and tell us what they did after graduation:

Fanny Blanc

Fanny Blanc Fanny Blanc
Fanny speaks about her experience of studying MSc RUPS

Nicolas Bosetti

Nicolas Bosetti Nicolas Bosetti
Nicolas describes his experience of studying MSc RUPS

Nicola Carnevali

Nicola Carnevali Nicola Carnevali
Nicola describes his experience of studying MSc RUPS

Solenne Cucchi (Dual Degree, Sciences Po & LSE RUPS)

Being part of the double masters degree in Urban Policy with Sciences Po and the LSE was an amazing experience. The very different approaches of those schools are complementary, Sciences Po being more French focused and technical when the LSE gives us a broader and more global view on urban issues, and allows students to go deeper into some specific urban issues. Besides the high-quality and expertise of the professors in both institutions, what really makes the richness of this programme are the classmates, especially at LSE - I was myself part of the Regional and Urban Planning programme.

We all come from different countries and different backgrounds, have all sorts of professional experience, and LSE masters students, who usually have worked before getting into the programme, really know why they are here and bring very valuable inputs to the discussion sessions. This specificity surely makes each year different from the other, but also consolidate strong friendship and academic links that will last way beyond the year at LSE, both with other students and with professors, who used to give a lot of their time to students even outside the class time. 

Aaron Davis

Since graduating from the LSE in Regional and Urban Planning, I have worked for the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community in London, a charity set-up by HRH The Prince of Wales to promote a return of traditional values to architecture and urbanism across the world. Holding dual-qualifications in landscape architecture and urban planning, I have been involved on a number of projects ranging from a 4,000 home new town in Bahrain, to an urban infill site in North London. The position allows me to use my background in physical design together with the education gained from the LSE in policy and economics. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the doors LSE opened for me.

Duko Frankhuizen

Duko Frankhuizen Duko Frankhuizen
Duko describes his experience of studying MSc RUPS

Victoria Maguire

Victoria was appointed the Massachusetts Permit Ombudsman by the Governor Deveal Patrick. She is the Director of the Massachusetts Permit Regulatory Office and Chair of the Interagency Permitting Board. Victoria administers the MassWorks Infrastructure Grants and leads regional planning initiatives on land use, zoning and public infrastructure in support of new housing development and job creation.

Mfundo Mlilo

Mfundo Mlilo Mfundo Mlilo
Mfundo Mlilo speaks about his experience of studying MSc RUPS

Pauline Niesseron

Why did you choose the course/LSE? I wanted to study urban and regional planning and thought that the LSE and London would be a great environment to do so. The MSc was founded by Peter Hall and has a strong interdisciplinary approach to understanding cities and regions from an economic, social and environmental perspective. Moreover, it is in the Geography and Environment department so you have a chance to meet people from different backgrounds and with diverse interests, which I think is very enriching.       

What was the highlight of your LSE experience? The programme was well structured and had a good mix of theory and practice through London-based and international case studies. All courses I took were excellent and delivered by engaged professors. Another highlight was my programme’s cohort: the fact that we were all from different places and had completely different experiences made the discussions particularly valuable. Finally, I enjoyed spending three months on my dissertation: working on my own research was an amazing experience.

How has your degree been useful for your career? LSE has an excellent academic reputation in London but also internationally, which is helpful when applying for jobs. Also, the many public lectures and events given by world leaders at the LSE enabled me not only to have an up-to-date knowledge of my field but also be aware of all other subjects and ideas being discussed on a global level. What I found great about my degree is that it opens up many different career paths. I worked in a transport planning consultancy in London before going back to the LSE as a Research officer in the geography department. 

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Knowledge exchange, diversity, critical thinking.

Kiana Otsuka

Kiana Otsuka Kiana Otsuka
Kiana Otsuka speaks about her experience of studying MSc RUPS

Emma Sagor

Emma Sagor Emma Sagor
Emma describes her experience of studying MSc RUPS

Margaux Salmon (Dual Degree, Sciences-Po & LSE RUPS)

Since graduating from the dual degree in Urban Policy from Sciences Po and LSE, I have been working for Groupe Huit, a french consulting firm working with national and local governments, together with International Development Agencies, on urban development projects in developing countries. My background has led me to work primarily on governance issues on various projects in Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Nigeria, and Mongolia. Being part of the RUPS programme was a wonderful opportunity to experience a complementary approach to urban planning and development, and benefit from a system providing enough flexibility to explore more in-depth urban issues close to my heart. I gained specific skills (such as CBA analysis) that I apply today in my professional life, and the writing of a case study based dissertation was a truly enriching experience. All this in a stimulating working environment, with very supportive and committed professors.

Clementine Traynard

Clementine Traynard Clementine Traynard
Clementine describes her experience of studying MSc RUPS

Morten Wasstol

Morten has had an amazing career since graduation. He worked as a programme manager for the UNEP/Grid-Arendal in Norway. He then became a political advisor to the Minster of the Environment and International Development during the period of the revision of the Norwegian Planning and Building Act. He led the Norwegian delegation at the World Urban Forum in Nanjing. He now works for Ramboll consultancy.

Kamill Wipyewski

After two and a half years with DTZ London, Kamill assumed a new role as a senior appraiser at VR Wert, the appraisal arm of the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken Financial Services Network, in early 2010, where he responsible for the coordination of international valuation projects and appraisal work in the UK, U.S. and France. After ten years abroad, spent in the SF Bay Area and then London, Kamill is now back in Germany, based in Hamburg. He completed his RICS accreditation (MRICS) and is a member of the Urban Land Institute to keep informed on development matters, which still form part of his appraisal work and are a continuation of some of the topics studied in the RUPS programme.


External Examiner Report 2016

"The MSc RUPS programme is well-structured and well-designed, with a good mix of assessment methods across its core modules (essays, project, exams and dissertation). In all the modules I reviewed (i.e. those attached to the RUPS exam board), the quality of the work produced by the students was on the whole good or excellent. This reflects the high quality of input by the teaching staff on the programme. The level of guidance which students receive for module GY499 (the dissertation), in particular, is very good."

Contact us

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7955 7587