Master of Urban Planning and Design - 2019

Postgraduate - Course

Commencement year

This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2019 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.

Other commencement years for this course: 2018

Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.

Course code


Credit points


Abbreviated title




Managing faculty

Art, Design and Architecture


Professor Carl Grodach

Admission and fees


Course progression map

F6004 (pdf)

Course type

Master by coursework

Standard duration

2 years FT, 4 years PT

You have a maximum of 6 years to complete this course including any periods of intermission and suspension, and must be continuously enrolled throughout.

Mode and location

On-campus (Caulfield)


Master of Urban Planning and Design


The Master of Urban Planning and Design, offered by the Department of Architecture is a project-based urban planning and design course which offers education for urban planners and is recognised by the Planning Institute of Australia. Working on urban projects based in real settings, the course integrates policy and research approaches with the process-oriented approaches of design as central methods for addressing the challenges facing planners in the twenty-first-century city.

Expanded methods for the planning professional

The role of planners is critical in developing effective, sustainable and equitable approaches to the complex urban issues facing cities around the world, such as rapid urbanisation and climate change. Planning education needs to adjust to meet these challenges; planners can no longer rely on traditional policy focused approaches and needs to develop expanded methods for understanding, critiquing and re-framing the contemporary and future city.

By foregrounding design process as an iterative method for developing problem-solving skills, planners can extend their techniques in researching, developing, testing and improving planning processes. Such an approach provides future planners with the necessary abilities to actively engage with a range of stakeholders in flexible ways that lead to clear directions and implementation plans.

Real-world projects in research settings

The course offers an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach that engages with the urban planning interests in the Department of Architecture as well as other research interests in Monash University, such as the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, the Monash Sustainability Institute and the Monash Infrastructure Institute.

The focus of the project studios is on understanding the impacts around the growth and transformation of cities as we move through this century. As such, projects are themed around central issues for planners, such as the Compact City, the Ecological City, the Sprawling City and the Inclusive City. For instance, the Compact City project might develop integrated strategies for urban renewal transitions that address housing affordability, public transport, the walking and cycling opportunities, lower energy consumption and quality local amenities; the


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that you will be able to:

  1. understand, reflect critically upon, and proficiently apply the necessary skills to become a professional planner according to the requirements of the Planning Institute of Australia
  2. integrate relevant knowledge and skills to develop, appraise and evaluate planning solutions in complex urban contexts, sensitive to environmental, economic, governance, social and cultural considerations
  3. collaborate and communicate effectively in multi-disciplinary teams, demonstrating intercultural competence, team membership and leadership in diverse environments
  4. critically assess international planning discourses and practices, applying interdisciplinary research methods to contribute to advancing planning and urban design practice and knowledge
  5. apply critical judgment to situate research and urban planning practice in a wider context, to appropriately consider the impact on an international community.

Professional recognition

The Department of Architecture is in the process of seeking to meet the requirements for registration of this course as an accredited planning course of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA). If successful, the qualification will be recognised for graduates to become members of the PIA.


The knowledge and skills required for professional recognition as a planner with the Planning Institute of Australia, will be integrated throughout the course structure, which comprises four project studio units, four stand alone complementary depth study units, two applied professional practice units and two open elective units.

Part A. Urban planning projects and study units

Planning projects

Cumulative, project-based learning is attached to real world settings and research projects that provide the framework/structure for the development of the conceptual, creative, analytical, critical, ethical and communication skills required by planning professionals and appropriate to postgraduate study. Working in multi-disciplinary groups on research projects, you will learn how to synthesise planning solutions within the constraints of a given project. Projects work across a range of spatial settings, allowing a broad exploration of issues and development of skills and knowledge.

The delivery of the project integrates lectures from leading academics and practitioners, workshops and seminars, field visits and examinations of case studies of projects, plans and policies used in cities around the world. In each project, students develop skills around applied knowledge that considers how the physical, social, cultural, economic and governance issues are all integrated. Ideas, concepts and outcomes of projects will be communicated through presentations, draft policies, plans and urban designs. You will be assessed through regular critiques of your work and through the final outcomes of written and visual work at the end of the semester.

The results of each project will become part of a compendium that collects and builds knowledge and expertise in the course. This compendium will be in effect a living document that compiles all of the theoretical, historical, propositional and final reports of the course.

Urban planning study

Complementary study units deepen knowledge areas and introduce you to the methods and approaches of urban planning research that engage with the multidisciplinary socio-cultural, political, economic, historical, theoretical and governance dimensions relevant to planning and urbanism. These units are run as lectures and seminars and are delivered in each semester. The study units incorporate literature and case study material that reflects on a wide range of approaches in Australia and internationally. This will ensure a relevance of material to students who come from or wish to work overseas.

Part B. Applied professional practices

In these studies you will focus on the generic capabilities and specific competencies that contribute to the practice of a quality urban planning professional, and the development of their abilities to work at a high level and in an ethical way in multi-disciplinary teams that address a range of complex issues in the city. Issues covered include the development and constant refining of skills in research, project management, spatial analysis, data collection and management, policy writing, plan-making and urban design, architectural plan-reading, and presentation and communication skills. The units include:

Part C. Free electives

These studies provide complementary depth units that enable students to tailor studies to individual interests. You can select units from either planning-specific advanced planning studies depth units or other units offered by the University. Free electives in which you are eligible to enrol can be chosen from across the Monash University faculties. In any given year a range of units relevant to urban planning (e.g. transport, architecture, sustainable development, economics, project management, indigenous perspectives, professional writing) will be available.

If you are interested in progressing to research training, an independent research project unit may be taken in place of the final elective unit. In this unit, you will conceptualise and present a final project work in the context of contemporary theory and practice.


This course comprises 96 points structured into three parts: Part A. Urban planning projects and study units, Part B. Applied professional practices and Part C. Free electives.

Note: If you are able to provide evidence of successful completion of equivalent study for particular unit(s) you may be eligible for credit for prior studies. Each case will be considered individually.

The course progression mapcourse progression map ( provides guidance on unit enrolment for each semester of study.

Units are 6 points unless otherwise indicated.

Part A. Urban planning projects and study units (72 points)

You must complete:

  • UPD4001 Planning project 1: The compact city (12 points)
  • UPD4201 Planning study 1: Regulating the city
  • UPD4002 Planning project 2: The ecological city (12 points)
  • UPD4202 Planning study 2: Economics and the city
  • UPD5001 Planning project 3: The sprawling city (12 points)
  • UPD5201 Planning study 3: History and theory of planning and urban design
  • UPD5002 Planning project 4: The inclusive city (12 points)
  • UPD5202 Planning study 4: Democratic engagement

Part B. Applied professional practices (12 points)

You must complete:

  • UPD4101 Applied Professional Practice: Planning capabilities and competencies
  • UPD5102 Applied Professional Practice: Urban planning and design research methods

Part C. Free electives (12 points)

You must complete a. or b. below:

a. UPD5500 Independent research project and one 6-point unit

b. 12 points of units from across the University (including at least 6 points at level 5)

Free electives can be identified using the browse unitsbrowse units ( tool and indexes of unitsindexes of units ( in the current edition of the Handbook. The level of the unit is indicated by the first number in the unit code. You may need permission from the owning faculty to enrol in some units taught by other faculties.

Progression to further studies

Successful completion of this course may provide a pathway to a higher degree by research if you are completing the research option. If you wish to progress to research training studies you will be able to do so following the successful completion of this course as outlined. The planning studies units are framed to support the development of relevant research skills, and the sequence of planning project units require you to integrate research in a variety of contexts as part of project proposals developed. Two aligned units are offered to enable graduate progression to further research training and study:

  • UDP5102 Applied professional planning practice: Urban planning and design research methods
  • UDP5500 Independent research project