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Urban Design and Town Planning Courses

A planning course will qualify you for jobs as an urban, regional or town planner.

Young professional man at work desk overlooking town

To be a town planner, urban designer or similar, you should do a planning course. Which course is not always clear as most jobs simply ask for university qualifications in a relevant field. Generally, you benefit from acquiring a university degree.

A Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning is the standard qualification for urban planners. For urban design, a bachelors in architecture (or landscape architecture) is also a common degree to earn.

Postgraduate qualifications are also valuable in these competitive fields. The shortest course is a Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design. You can complete this over 8 months of part-time study. The online course is a pathway to masters degrees.

List of Courses

Diploma in Town Planning


A Diploma in Town Planning is a gateway to a career in this field. Students gain the basic knowledge and skills necessary to work as an urban planner, including city development and rural planning. Additionally, the diploma serves as a stepping stone to further education and professional growth.

University of New England

The University of New England has a pathway course for students interested in an urban planning degree. The 8-subject Diploma in Town Planning is open to anyone with at least a Certificate IV qualification in any discipline. The online diploma counts as credit towards UNE’s urban planning bachelor degree. Subjects include plan making, local environmental infrastructure, urban living, introduction to architectural design, and economic change and urban development.

Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning

White collar workers meeting on a construction site

Have you ever wondered how new suburbs are designed, where the next railway station will be located, or how to balance urban growth with the environment, agriculture, and mining? These processes involve urban and development planners, as well as urban designers and other professionals. You can qualify to work in this field with a four-year Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning.

University of New England

The University of New England has a four-year degree in Urban and Regional Planning that leads to accreditation by the Planning Institute of Australia. Students are given a general education in all major areas of planning and urban design. On-the-job training is an important aspect of the degree, giving UNE graduates a career head start. Course admission is based on recent secondary education performance (ATAR), higher education grades (GPA), vocational education and training (VET) study, or work experience. The minimum ATAR is 72.55.

University of Southern Queensland

The University of Southern Queensland offers a career-focused planning program. The four-year professional degree equips students with job-ready skills and knowledge. Students use modern mapping technologies and learn about planning laws and community consultation. The Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Honours) is accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA). Graduates may seek planner registration. You can choose to study online or on campus. Gain practical experience through residential schools at UniSQ Toowoomba.

Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design

Scale model of city streets and buildings

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design is a compact course. Earn a university qualification in just 8 months of part-time study online. Students build career foundations in both design and planning. Each completed subject provides credit towards a graduate diploma or master's.

UTS Online

The 100% online Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design builds foundational knowledge and skills to become an effective planner and/or designer. This course welcomes candidates from different professional backgrounds, providing a pathway into a rewarding career. Through industry-informed content and real-world case studies, students gain practical skills and experience. Topics include design and planning theory and decisions, property development and planning process, sustainable urban development, and urban design fundamentals.

What You Learn in an Urban Planning Course

Scale model of high-density residential complex

An urban planning course teaches you about the intelligent organisation of buildings, infrastructure and landscapes. Students learn how to structure developments to achieve the best overall outcome – subject to resource, technical and legal constraints. You'll develop your understanding of how cities and sites are constructed physically, socially and environmentally.

Students build communication skills, reasoning ability and analytical methods to contribute to policy, technical and regulatory activities. Learning outcomes include being able to:

  • find and manage project-relevant information
  • analyse problems and generate creative solutions
  • communicate to diverse audiences
  • access new technologies and acquire new skills.

Urban planning courses prepare students to be professional planners. Graduates are well-versed in important concepts, possess key technical skills, and are familiar with the breadth of planning considerations.

Graduate Diploma in Urban Design

Designer drawings and scale models of building concepts

A Graduate Diploma in Urban Design looks quite different from a course for planners. Much of the curriculum is devoted to design studio projects. Students need to develop drawing, analytical and design skills. To support working professionals, you can study online on a part-time basis.

UTS Online

The UTS Online Graduate Diploma in Urban Design is for professionals with a background in areas such as architecture, strategic planning or environmental science, who want to develop their practical design capabilities. Through industry-informed course content and studio-based projects, students learn to design resilient and creative solutions that enhance the lived experience at any urban scale. This course is delivered 100% online, enabling you to continue working full-time. To earn the Graduate Diploma, you need to complete 8 subjects from the masters program.


† Online courses are available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast, Newcastle. Australia-wide.