Study Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design In The UK

Delve into the dynamic fields of Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design with our comprehensive subject guide. Discover the principles, practices, and potential career paths within these disciplines that shape the urban and natural environments around us.

town & country planning

Table of Contents

What is Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design?

Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design are two related but distinct fields that play significant roles in shaping the physical environment in urban and rural areas. Here’s a brief explanation of each:

Town & Country Planning: Town and country planning, often known as urban and regional planning, is the discipline that focuses on the organisation and development of land use in cities, towns, and rural areas. It aims to create sustainable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing places for communities.

    • Key Functions:
      • Land Use Regulation: Planning involves zoning, land use policies, and regulations that dictate how land can be used, developed, or preserved.
      • Infrastructure Planning: It includes the design and management of public infrastructure, such as roads, utilities, and public spaces.
      • Environmental Conservation: Planning seeks to balance development with environmental conservation, promoting sustainability.
      • Transportation Planning: It addresses transportation systems to ensure efficient mobility in urban areas.
      • Economic Development: Planning strategies often consider economic development and growth opportunities.
      • Social Equity: Ensuring that planning decisions are fair and equitable, addressing the needs of all community members.

Landscape Design: Landscape design is the art and science of planning and arranging natural and man-made elements in outdoor spaces. It focuses on creating functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor environments.

    • Key Functions:
      • Plant Selection: Landscape designers choose plants and trees to create attractive and functional outdoor spaces, considering factors like aesthetics, maintenance, and environmental conditions.
      • Hardscape Design: This involves the layout and design of non-plant elements, such as paths, patios, and outdoor structures.
      • Environmental Sustainability: Landscape designers often promote sustainable practices, such as xeriscaping (low-water landscaping) and eco-friendly materials.
      • Aesthetics: They consider the visual appeal and aesthetics of the landscape, including elements like color, texture, and composition.
      • Outdoor Functionality: Landscape designers plan spaces for various uses, such as recreation, relaxation, and social gatherings.
      • Habitat Restoration: Some designers focus on habitat restoration and conservation, creating landscapes that support local wildlife and ecosystems.

Why Study Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design?

Studying Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design offers numerous benefits and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Here are some reasons why you might consider pursuing education and a career in these fields:

Town & Country Planning:

  1. Shaping Communities: Town & Country Planning allows you to play a crucial role in shaping communities and cities, contributing to their functionality, sustainability, and quality of life.

  2. Solving Real-World Challenges: Urban and regional planners work on real-world problems, such as traffic congestion, affordable housing, environmental conservation, and economic development, making a positive impact on society.

  3. Environmental Stewardship: Planning professionals often engage in projects that aim to balance development with environmental conservation, making it a fulfilling career for those passionate about sustainability.

  4. Influence on Public Policy: Urban planners have the opportunity to influence public policy by providing recommendations and strategies to address community challenges and shape the future of cities and regions.

Landscape Design:

  1. Creative Expression: Landscape design is a highly creative field that allows you to express your artistic talents while creating functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces.

  2. Enhancing the Environment: Landscape designers contribute to improving and preserving the environment by incorporating sustainability practices, such as native plantings and water conservation techniques.

  3. Health and Well-being: Well-designed outdoor spaces positively impact people’s well-being. You can create environments that promote relaxation, physical activity, and social interaction.

  4. Client Interaction: Landscape designers often work closely with clients, allowing them to see the direct impact of their work and build lasting relationships with those they serve.

Best Universities for Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

1University of Cambridge
2UCL (University College London)
3University of Sheffield
4The University of Edinburgh
5Loughborough University
6University of Manchester
7Newcastle University
8University of Birmingham
9Heriot-Watt University
10University of Liverpool
11Queen's University Belfast
12Cardiff University
13Bristol, University of the West of England
14Ulster University
15University of Gloucestershire
16Leeds Beckett University
17Birmingham City University
18Oxford Brookes University
19University of Greenwich
20University of Westminster, London
21London South Bank University

Entry Requirements for a Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design Degree

The entry requirements for a Town & Country Planning or Landscape Design degree in the UK can vary depending on the university and the specific programme. However, I can provide you with a general overview of the typical entry requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate (master’s) programmes in these fields:

Undergraduate Degree (Bachelor’s):

  1. Academic Qualifications: You will typically need to have completed your secondary education with a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification.

  2. A-levels or Equivalent: Many universities in the UK require A-levels or equivalent qualifications. Specific subject requirements may vary, but related subjects such as geography, environmental science, design and technology, or art and design can be beneficial, especially for Landscape Design programmes.

  3. International Baccalaureate (IB): Some universities accept the IB diploma or certificates.

  4. Foundation Year: If you don’t meet the standard entry requirements, some universities offer foundation year programmes to help you bridge the gap.

  5. Portfolio (for Landscape Design): Some Landscape Design programmes may require you to submit a portfolio showcasing your creative work, design projects, or artwork.

  6. English Language Proficiency: For international students, English language proficiency is essential. You’ll need to provide evidence of your proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

Postgraduate Degree (Master’s):

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: You will need to have a relevant bachelor’s degree from a recognised institution. The field of your bachelor’s degree can vary, but it’s beneficial to have a background related to Town & Country Planning or Landscape Design.

  2. Academic Record: A competitive academic record is often required. Many programmes will specify a minimum GPA or degree classification.

  3. Portfolio (for Landscape Design): If you’re applying for a Landscape Design programme, a portfolio demonstrating your design skills and creativity is often required.

  4. English Language Proficiency: As with undergraduate programmes, you’ll need to demonstrate your English language proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

Jobs for Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design Graduates

Here are the career prospects for graduates in this field:

Town & Country Planning Graduates:

  1. Urban Planner: Urban planners work to design and develop urban areas, making decisions related to land use, zoning regulations, and infrastructure development to ensure sustainable and functional cities.

  2. Regional Planner: Regional planners focus on larger geographic areas and help create development plans that address the economic, social, and environmental needs of a region.

  3. Transport Planner: These professionals focus on designing transportation systems and networks to improve mobility and reduce traffic congestion within cities and regions.

  4. Environmental Planner: Environmental planners work on projects that consider the environmental impact of development and aim to balance growth with conservation.

  5. Housing Policy Analyst: Housing policy analysts work on policies and strategies related to housing, affordability, and urban development.

  6. Local Government Planner: Local government planners develop and implement policies and plans for cities and towns.

  7. Sustainability Consultant: Graduates can work in consulting firms, helping organisations implement sustainable practices in planning and development.

Landscape Design Graduates:

  1. Landscape Architect: Landscape architects plan and design outdoor spaces, including parks, gardens, and public areas, considering aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability.

  2. Garden Designer: Garden designers focus on residential and small-scale projects, creating beautiful and functional private gardens.

  3. Landscape Manager: Landscape managers oversee the maintenance and care of outdoor spaces, ensuring that they remain attractive and functional.

  4. Horticulturist: Horticulturists work with plants and are often responsible for selecting, growing, and maintaining plant varieties used in landscape design.

  5. Environmental Consultant: Some landscape design graduates work as environmental consultants, helping organisations incorporate sustainable and environmentally friendly landscaping practices.

Where Do Landscape Design Graduates Find Employment in the UK?

In the UK, 56% of graduates in landscape design have found employment in roles such as architects, chartered architectural technologists, planning officers, surveyors, and construction professionals. Another 14% are employed as CAD, drawing, and architectural technicians, while 4% have pursued careers in agricultural and related trades.

Salary for Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £19,000

Medium-skilled: £23,000

High-skilled: £25,000


Topics for Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design Dissertation

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of Town & Country Planning and Landscape Design and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

Research Areas in Town & Country Planning:

    1. Sustainable Urban Development: Investigate strategies for creating environmentally sustainable and resilient urban areas, including green infrastructure, energy-efficient building design, and waste management.

    2. Transportation and Mobility Planning: Examine the design and management of transportation systems to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion, and promote sustainable transportation modes.

    3. Housing and Affordable Housing: Research housing policies, affordability challenges, and innovative solutions to address housing shortages and ensure equitable access to housing.

    4. Historic Preservation: Explore the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and areas, considering the cultural and economic value of heritage preservation.

    5. Smart Cities: Investigate the application of technology and data in urban planning to create smarter, more efficient, and livable cities.

Research Areas in Landscape Design:

  1. Therapeutic Landscapes: Study the impact of outdoor environments on human health and well-being, especially in healthcare settings.

  2. Restorative Landscapes: Research the design of spaces that help people recover from stress, trauma, or illness, including gardens and natural areas.

  3. Urban Greening: Investigate strategies for incorporating green elements into urban environments, such as vertical gardens, green roofs, and urban parks.

  4. Ecological Restoration: Explore the restoration of damaged or degraded landscapes to their natural or historical state, including wetlands, forests, and riverbanks.

  5. Landscape and Identity: Analyse how landscapes shape and express individual and community identity, culture, and history.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

  • Architecture
  • Environmental Science
  • Geography
  • Civil Engineering
  • Urban Design
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Ecology
  • Sustainability Studies
  • Public Administration
  • Horticulture
  • Anthropology
  • Public Health
  • Sociology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Geology

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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