Master of Planning and Urban Design

Courses and Study Australian courses Master of Planning and Urban Design

James Cook University (JCU) has brought together some of the world's most creative and visionary planning professionals to enable you to gain the maximum benefit from this unique Masters degree. They'll share their extensive international experience, including in South East Asia, Brazil and in Indigenous communities.

So whether you're an international student, an Australian student studying Planning, or adding to your existing qualifications in Arts, Social Sciences, Engineering, or Science - if you dream of embarking on an important career in Planning where you can really make a difference in your world - this Masters degree offers you opportunities not available at any other university.

Townsville, Cairns, Singapore
Start dates
February, July
2 years full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus

Career opportunities

Depending on the specialisations you choose, your career could see you working anywhere in Australia or internationally in highly creative roles in government, not-for-profits, developing countries or independent corporations. Your options will be extensive. When you graduate your work could include tropical planning and urban design to meet the major challenges facing society today, such as:

  • Designing cities, towns and remote communities to cope with climate change
  • Population growth and change
  • Rapid urbanisation
  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Conflict over land use
  • Planning to include cultural diversity
  • Economic development
  • Hazard mapping
  • Planning sub-divisions
  • Ecological sustainability
  • Social and planning policy development
  • Environment impact assessment
  • Environmental law
  • Urban and regional planning.

When you graduate, you'll be able to offer special knowledge and skills in tropical planning and policy development. You could even use the communication and political negotiation knowledge you'll gain to establish a career in politics. For those wishing to contemplate planning issues in a scholarly way, your Masters degree could be a stepping-stone towards a career in research.

Course highlights

If you're already studying Planning, this JCU degree allows you to seek advanced standing to fast-track your Masters degree. And if you want to add to your existing qualifications which could be in areas such as Arts, Social Sciences, Engineering or Science, and embark on a highly creative career as a Tropical Urban or Regional Planner, this JCU course offers you that opportunity.

You’ll study both in the classroom and in the field in order to integrate your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Field-based learning you may participate in includes:

  • Study of Urban Design and Disaster Resilience units in Singapore, whose tropical urban planning is recognised worldwide for its excellence
  • Work and study with industry experts such as local architects whose experience includes addressing changing planning needs to address ageing populations, disappearing youth populations, limited job opportunities, declining tourist numbers - key issues that you may choose as your focus when you graduate
  • Studies of Planning relevant to Yarrabah's Indigenous community
  • Visits to regional farming, tourism/eco-tourism locations, where you'll gain an understanding of the issues facing these communities and businesses.

Course overview

This JCU Masters course provides you with academic knowledge and practical field experience that will enable you to make a positive impact on communities, and navigate through political environments involved in planning for a changing world. Among the core subjects and optional units you'll study are:

  • Environmental and Regional Planning
  • Urban Geography/Design
  • Field Studies of Tropical Geography
  • Design Communication
  • Urban Ecosystems
  • Disaster Management Principles
  • Natural Hazards
  • Sustainability in Practice
  • Native Title and Land Use Planning
  • Indigenous Environmental Management
  • Practice of Cultural Heritage
  • Asia Pacific Development: Culture and Globalisation.


This JCU Masters degree is accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

How to apply

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.

Our campuses in Singapore and Brisbane operate on a trimester system – three semesters per year. View academic calendars.

Pathway into course

Please consult the admission requirements section in the Handbook for prerequisites and pathways into this course.

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.