Urban Design and Planning Courses

A planning course will qualify you for jobs as an urban, regional, town or city planner. Here are online planning courses from Australian universities. Majors include town planning, urban and regional planning, and urban design.
Urban and regional planning.

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 planning. 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 a masters degree in urban planning or urban design.

Diploma in Town Planning Course

Town of Aratula

UNE Diploma in Town Planning

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

Urban Planning Degree

Urban planning degree

UNE Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning

The University of New England has a 4-year course 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 urban planning degree, giving UNE graduates a career head start.

USQ Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning

The University of Southern Queensland offers a career-focused degree in Urban and Regional Planning. The 4-year professional course 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.

Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design

Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design

A Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design is a short course that gives you a university qualification. You can complete the 4-subject course over 8 months of part-time, online study.

The graduate certificate is embedded within a masters program. Each subject counts as credit towards a graduate diploma or masters degree.

In urban planning and design, the graduate certificate is a foundation and pathway course. You gain basic skills and knowledge while positioning yourself for further studies.

UTS Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design (Online)

The 100% online Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design is designed for aspiring urban planning and urban design professionals who want to gain the foundational knowledge and skills to become effective planners and/or designers of sustainable urban environments. This course welcomes candidates from various professional backgrounds, providing a pathway into a dynamic and rewarding career in urban planning and urban design. Through industry-informed content and real-world case studies, students will gain the practical skills and experience they need to enter the worlds of urban planning and urban design.

What are Urban Planning and Urban Design?

City planning

Urban planning and urban design represent a formal and deliberate approach to managing community growth and development. Urban planners and designers help communities choose their futures rather than letting growth occur haphazardly. They design and facilitate the development of liveable communities in city and suburban areas.

Urban planning and design ensure that cities and towns have vibrant economies and communities, provide for a high quality of life, and are environmentally sustainable. Effective planning requires a rounded understanding of the way in which societies, economies and environments operate and interact.

Urban planning and urban design are overlapping fields but focus on different aspects of the planning process. Urban planners must take a high-level view and their work is more connected to business and infrastructure. Urban designers tend to be preoccupied with the practical and creative task of designing spaces and facilities.

What You Learn in an Urban Planning Course

Urban sale model

An urban planning course teaches you about the intelligent organisation of buildings, infrastructure and landscapes. Urban planning students learn how to structure developments to achieve the best overall outcome – subject to resource, technical and legal constraints.

An urban planning program develops your understanding of how cities and sites are constructed physically, socially and environmentally. You develop communication skills, reasoning ability and analytical processes to contribute to policy, technical and regulatory aspects.

In a good planning course, students discover how to bring principles and knowledge together to formulate effective plans. You learn how to:

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

Urban planning courses prepare students to be professional planners. Students learn important concepts and become familiar with the breadth of planning considerations.

Urban Design Courses

Urban design course

Specialist urban design courses look quite different from urban planning courses. A large percentage of the curriculum should be allocated to design studio projects. Students need to develop their drawing, analytical and design skills.

Urban design programs are often postgraduate. To support working professionals, you can complete urban design courses online on a part-time basis. Qualifications include a graduate diploma and masters.

UTS Graduate Diploma in Urban Design (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 qualify for the Graduate Diploma, you need to complete 8 subjects from the masters program.