Planners are strategic professionals that reconcile the complex demands of law, budgets and aesthetics to produce plans for vibrant, functional and desirable public spaces and cities. The planning program at the University of Sydney is recognised for its focus on the significant challenges of scale in planning, and tackles how cities and sites are constructed physically, socially and environmentally.

Our expertise in both Urban and in Regional planning means that when you study with us, you will be adept at working across the spectrum of planning works, whether for a population of 500 or for 5 million, in Australia or overseas.

Throughout the course, students will work under the guidance of leading Academics in the field to develop the professional communication skills, reasoning and analytical processes required to make valuable contributions to the policy, technical and regulatory aspects of urban and regional planning.


Planners play an important function in many built environment and governmental professions, where you may find yourself working as a consultant alongside politicians or in private companies. There is also a demand for planners by local councils and state planning authorities in strategic and regulatory roles. Planners are allied professionals to engineers, architects and environmental consultants. They provide advice, support and their expertise in planning to ensure that proposed projects are appropriately developed, assessed and investigated at a range of levels. There is also an important role for planners in the development of policy, particularly in international development, where the Faculty holds expertise.

Planning is a vibrant, challenging and rewarding career. It is much more than the simple, technical evaluation of different site planning and design options. Instead, planning is infused with consideration for human welfare and social equity. The social and environmental impacts of a project are always at the forefront of a planner’s mind. Our planning program gives you the tools and approaches that will enable you to work in planning-based roles both in Australia and internationally, and can give you this experience during your degree through our extensive exchange network.

International Connections

The Urban and Regional Planning program has strong international connections in the United Kingdom, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, and is recognised for its expertise in the formulation of national planning strategies and comparative housing studies. Dr. Paul Jones, for example, has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Urbanisation Office in Papua New Guinea and has been instrumental in the launch of the first PNG national urbanisation strategy and implementation plan. Read more on Associate Professor Paul Jones’ recent involvement with international planning issues.

Students of the Urban and Regional Planning program benefit from this expertise and global connectedness. You will experience guest lectures from key development agencies such as the Asian Development Bank, as well as from internationally renowned planners. There are many exchange opportunities with institutions around the world, further expanding your understanding of urban planning and management in different national contexts. With a mix of student backgrounds in the program each year, this all combines to give you perspectives on planning that go well beyond the classroom.

Why Planning at Sydney

Industry Engagement

The University of Sydney’s Planning division is made up of a team of experienced, practicing planners and academics who regularly comment and advise on planning issues – directly influencing the policy, planning and design of cities and regions across the globe.

Through the support of the US Studies Centre, Cities Network, Henry Halloran Trust and Planning Research Centre, we host regular, lively debates, lectures and symposiums, ensuring our graduates are not only engaged in and informed on current topics, but gain opportunities to network with key stakeholders in local government and industry.

We invite you to sign up to our network of planners, to receive invitations to upcoming public lectures and planning events in the Faculty, or visit the Faculties YouTube page to watch past lectures on planning issues held as part of our regular Thursday Night Lecture Series.


Future Cities Collaborative

The University of Sydney’s Future Cities Collaborative brings together policy, practice and research to inform our city leaders into inspired action to build great cities. The Collaborative is an initiative of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, with its primary role to promote sustainable urban development by supporting city leaders with leadership and strategic management tools, creating a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information, and develop skills and knowledge in building sustainable cities.

Find out more about our collaboration with the Future Cities Project and hear from Program Director Rob Simpson on how our students are influencing decision makers (1.42min).

Multi-diciplinary Engagement: Design Lab

The Planning division at the University of Sydney is at the forefront of emerging Big Data research, a cutting-edge field that utilises data mining, mapping and informatics to determine changes in urban dynamics, resource use and human behaviour. Through collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture, design and Planning’s in-house Design Lab, students have the opportunity to contribute in this exciting field of research which are driving advances towards comprehensive, intelligent planning decisions.

Henry Halloran Trust

The Urban and Regional Planning program is supported by the Henry Halloran Trust. Established in July 2012, this trust provides funds for the provision of education in Urban and Regional Planning. The proceeds from this trust are used to attract the best of international talent for teaching and presentations to our planning students. There is also an opportunity for students to apply for top-up scholarships for their research programs in Urban and Regional Planning. Visit the Visit the Halloran Trust Wepage to find out more.

Cities Network

The Cities Network brings together over 30 urban researchers from The University of Sydney to address several interlinked thematic areas demanding an interdisciplinary response. As a planning student at The University of Sydney you will be exposed to the current research, networking opportunities and community engagement over current issues in the planning discipline and beyond. Visit the Cities Network Webpage to discover more, and to join the mailing list of upcoming events.

Study Options

The Master of Urban and Regional planning is a 1.5 year program that can be undertaken in full-time of part-time mode.

Students looking to enrich their planning degree can also pursue a specialisation in Heritage Conservation. The University of Sydney offered the first degree in Heritage Conservation and has produced excellent conservators around the world. By incorporating Heritage Conservation into your degree, you attain an understanding of this important aspect of the built environment that can both inform and constrain your planning work. This is of particular importance to planners that intend to work in regions with historic significance and cultural value.

Students can also undertake planning studies as part of the 2 year Master of Urbanism degree which includes a unique capstone experience designed to unite students in aligned disciplines of Urban Design and Heritage Conservation in a studio based project. More on this program here: sydney.edu.au/architecture/programs_of_study/postgraduate/urbanism.shtml

Flexible Study Options that Suit Your Lifestyle

Many Urban and Regional Planning units are taught in weekly evening lecture format. Please refer to Faculty Handbook to explore the delivery method of you chosen subjects.

Timetables are set approximately 2 months before the Semester commences. Future students can download the current timetable, as well as previous semester timetables to assist in understanding the expectant time commitments required during your studies.

Continuing Professional Development

Individual units may also be taken as Continuing Professional Development short courses without enrolling into a degree. Units taken with an assessment component may be credited towards further study within an aligned program.


Masters applicants should hold a bachelors degree with a credit average. Graduate Diploma applicants should hold a bachelors degree. Graduate Certificate applicants should hold a bachelors degree or possess experience which is considered to demonstrate the knowledge and aptitude required to undertake the course. Students enrolled in either the certificate or diploma can apply to upgrade if they satisfy the requirements of their degree with a weighted average mark of 65.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate studies can now be completed easily online sydney.edu.au/courses/programs/urban-and-regional-planning. You will be prompted to upload copies all supporting documentation including transcripts of study and ID (passport or birth certificate).

Where students are applying for a certificate level based on industry experience, please attach a CV and any other supporting documentation which may assist in the assessment of your application.

A limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places are available each year and are awarded automatically on merit for domestic applicants.

Ask a Question

Domestic Students

If you're a domestic student and you still need more information, you can Ask a Question through the Sydney Student Form.

International Students

International Students are able to make enquiries through the International Office.