MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies

Study here

MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies is a strongly focused and internationally based planning programme with 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, the programme continues a strong interdisciplinary focus challenging students to understand cities and regions from an economic, social and environmental perspective.

The programme aims to provide a common understanding of the 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. 

There is a strong sense of identity in the student body. A number of walks are conducted in the first term to help students orient to London and a fieldtrip is held during the Easter vacation. Recent cohorts have chosen to visit Istanbul, Berlin, Moscow, Dublin and Amsterdam. The students also run a Planning Society which organises speakers, shorter trips and social events. 

Check out the Urban and Regional Planning Studies blog, Progressing Planning

Dr Nancy Holman Dr Nancy Holman
Introduction to the programme by Dr Nancy Holman

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 (Autumn 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 (Autumn 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 (Winter 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.  

Other compulsory courses

Regional and Urban Planning Problems (Autumn and Winter 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.

MSc RUPS film competition 2019

These films are part of research for the course GY454 Urban Policy and Planning, which looks at London neighbourhoods and analyses urban policy making and planning.

A selected panel of judges, listed below, awarded 3 prizes: Best Overall FilmBest Narrative and Judges’ Choice

Michele De Laurentiis (University of Roehampton) 
Evelina Gambino (Phd Candidate in Geography, UCL) 
Gabriela Neves de Lima
Patrick Steel (Fat Toad Films)


Former Highgate StationHo Ying Nam, Marion Carpio, Davide Zorloni, Mengbi Ye, Meera Kumar

The panel thought the film met the brief in a very effective manner. It gives audience a sense of the context and it presents a good range of voices and activities. The use of archive material and of a number of different means of communication was particularly effective in order to give the audience a sense of the historical context and the change that took place in the area.


Former Highgate StationGabriel Baudard, Arisa Miki, Eva Smaga, August Ramstad, Malo De Lesquen

The film gives a sense of the area thanks to a very coherent and original narrative. The film was well shot and edited: nice use of B roll and a good integration of interviews and archive material. Facebook messenger shots were an inspired idea that contributed to bring the film to life.


Highgate Bowl – Kyle Kulmann, Midi Yang, Margherita Fadda, Julie Chicaud, Camilo Umana

The film, thanks to its creative choices and an effective use of humour, managed to make the issues described engaging and entertaining. Revealing the extent of the privatised space through the camera work and maps was effective. 

reef judges
Planners with a Movie Camera judges. 


MSc RUPS film competition 2018

These films are part of research for the course GY454 Urban Policy and Planning, which looks at London neighbourhoods and analyses urban policy making and planning. Five London Plan Opportunity Areas were depicted: Royal Docs, Isle of Dogs, Poplar, Elephant & Castle and Old Kent Road.

Through these films, students were able to share their analysis and passion for urban studies providing a glimpse of these fascinating areas:

Isle of Dogs 

Chrisp Street Market (Poplar)

Old Kent Road B

Elephant and Castle


Old Kent Road A

Royal Docks

A selected panel of judges, listed below, awarded 3 prizes: Best Overall Film, Best Narrative and Judges’ Choice

Prof. Fran Tonkiss (LSE Sociology) President of the Panel

Laura Belinky – Gaiarsa (Director, Editor, Film and video technical advisor at Goldsmiths)

Arch. Nicola Carnevali (Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners)

Dr. Michele De Laurentiis (Anthropologist and film maker - Spectacle Production)

Adele Tulli (Film Director; Phd Candidate in Media, Culture and Language Department, University of Roehampton) 

Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann (Associate Lecturer and PhD Candidate, Faculty of Arts & Humanities,University of Plymouth) 


Isle of DogsNicolas Garland, Anais Geslin, Anna Leggett, Whitney Leung, Xingrui Zhou


Chrisp Street Market (Poplar) - Alastair Chang, Blandine Rambaud, Eleonora Rugiero, Marjolaine Tiller, Julie Vanderhaeghen 


Old Kent Road B - Catalina Duarte-Sanchez, Lorena Guerrero-Arias, Judith Lienhard, Louise Ribet, Sadiyah Sabree-Marshall, Valentine Quinio

We would like to commend all of our students who participated in this exercise.

Elephant and CastleLouise Cormier, Rebecca Slocum, Xiyuan Liang, Yoichiro Saito, Yuan Xu

EustonNinon Beillard, Sorin Floti, Jong Oh Kim, Eden Munro, Heloise Thibault

Old Kent Road AJuliette Guichardet, Yumi Kiguchi, Eric Solomon, Chloe Vergues, Arielle Vetro, Dimitris Voulgaris

Royal DocksLina Quinones-Sanchez, Koen Rutten, Peiao Tan, Fergus Wong, Lane Zorich

MSc RUPS film competition 2017

These films are part of research for the course GY454 Urban Policy and Planning, which looks at London neighbourhoods to analyse urban policy-making and planning. Four 'London Plan Opportunity Areas' are depicted: Thamesmead, Old Kent Road, Colindale and Charlton Riverside. Our students share their analysis and passion for urban studies through these films, providing a glimpse of these fascinating areas:

Charlton Riverside Group A

Charlton Riverside Group B

Colindale Group A

Colindale Group B

Thamesmead Group A

Old Kent Road Group A

Old Kent Road Group B


Colindale B – Maria Trullén Malaret, Sophie Sarkar, Julien Vincelot, Laura Querubin-Borrero and Kenilworth Yamben

This video won as it best answered the set task and made the most of the potential audio-visuals as tools to interpret and represent urban issues. It was well researched, had a wonderfully sharp focus and narrative, great casting with meaningful characters and gave good space for a number of different voices to emerge. Overall it was a very well put together piece of work.


Colindale A - Thanos Mesochoritis, Xiaofei Pan, Celia Quenard, Valentine Thomas

This was a very well produced film that had a strong focus on the Grahame Estate.  The authors expressed a strong and clear narrative that was present from the outset.


Charlton B - Gabriela Neves De Lima, Hidemine Takeuchi, Mario Tavera Palomino, Ayanda Collins

This film had excellent cinematorgaphy and rich content material. It raised issues relevant to the exercise and had an interesting focus on the industrial side of the area. The film asked relevant questions of what people expected from the changes set to occur in Charlton.

Newsletters and publications

Planning Studies newsletter

A strong sense of identity is generated in the student body and alumni stay in touch through our newsletter:

Newsletter 2016/17Newsletter 2015Newsletter 2014Newsletter 2013,

Newsletter 2011Newsletter 2010Newsletter 2009Newsletter 2008

Student field trip

In 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


Student testimonials  

Earl Burgos 


MSc RUPS Student Earl Burgos Student Spotlight MSc RUPS Student Earl Burgos Student Spotlight
MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies student Earl Burgos talks to us about his dissertation and what he enjoys most about living in London.


Meera Kumar

meera kumar

Why did you choose the course/LSE? 

I chose LSE because it's one of the best institutions for social science in the world. I chose RUPS because I want to work at the city-level and enjoy thinking about how we can create welcoming spaces by considering both physical design and policy.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

Seeing an amazing series of speakers over the past year including Kimberlé Crenshaw, Raghuram Rajan, and Nancy Pelosi. 

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

I want to work at the city-level, either for an agency or for an urban-focused firm or affordable housing developer back in the U.S. 

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Intensive, stimulating, rewarding. 

Chijioke Anosike 

chijioke testimonialWhy did you choose the course/LSE?

I have always been interested in human geography and the combination of an interdisciplinary programme that also offers a concrete career path was attractive.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

It has been immersing myself in extra-curricular activities. Myself and some friends on my course helped to organise a conference about urban technology that was well attended.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

I am hoping to start a career in planning development management or property consultancy more generally.

Sum up your experience in 3 words

Challenging, perspective, communication


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.


Contact us