Planning Dissertation 1 (PLAN9010)


The planning dissertation is a substantial piece of research, conducted full time over one semester (by enrolment in PLAN9010 and PLAN9011), or part time over two semesters (by consecutive enrolment in these units). It takes the form of a document (between 15,000 and 25,000 words) on an approved urban and regional planning subject of your choice. Students electing to do a stream in the MURP program must select a topic relevant to their chosen stream. There is also an option for students to prepare a shorter document suitable for publication in a refereed journal. The planning dissertation is an opportunity to advance your knowledge and skills in a particular area. For those intending to undertake further academic study, the dissertation also provides an opportunity for you to develop your research and inquiry skills. The objective of the dissertation is to allow you to develop higher order research and analytic skills by undertaking an in depth study of your own selection. The expected learning outcomes of the dissertation include the ability to: think critically about a planning problem and develop an appropriate research methodology or analytical approach to address it; identify and access appropriate sources of information, research and literature relevant to urban and regional planning issues; undertake primary and secondary research; present your findings in a way that demonstrates academic and professional competence. A dissertation generally includes: a strong literature review to delineate a problem or gap in knowledge; a statement of research aims or objectives, as well as research questions and / or hypotheses; explanation of research methods; presentation and analysis of data; discussion of conclusions; an abstract. Permission to continue the Planning Dissertation is subject to a satisfactory research proposal which must be approved by your supervisor by week 3 of semester. The dissertation will be marked by two examiners and may include an oral presentation. Dissertations are due at the end of the first week of exams for the semester in which you are enrolled in Planning Dissertation 2. Note that only one submission is required for both Planning Dissertation 1 and 2. It is not possible to complete Dissertation 1 independently of Dissertation 2. Students who intend a shorter project should enrol in PLAN9018 Planning Report.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Independent Study + Seminars


Final presentation (or progress presentation if continuing in the second semester - feedback only) (5%); presentation poster (5%); dissertation of between 15,000 and 25,000 words (90%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

PLAN9068, PLAN9061, PLAN9063, PLAN9045, PLAN9064, ARCH9100


PLAN9018 or ARCH9031 or ARCH9045 or ARCH9046 or ARCH9060

Additional Information

The dissertation is suitable for students with a grade average at Distinction level or above or who wish to pursue a research career. The dissertation should be undertaken towards the end of the degree. This unit is for Master of Urban and Regional Planning students only. It MUST be undertaken in conjunction with PLAN9011 Planning Dissertation 2, either in the same or following semester.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.