MRUP Regional & Urban Planning

Academic Year 2019/2020

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)


Please note the 1 year version of this programme (W178) is only available to UCD internal students progressing from UCD’s Planning, Geography and Environmental Policy degree or UCD's City Planning & Environmental Policy degree. All other eligible applicants should apply for the 2 year Masters of Regional and Urban Planning programme (W032).


This two-year professional planning degree develops the requisite conceptual knowledge and practical skills required by planners in this increasingly complex environment. You will develop an understanding of the administrative, legal and policy frameworks in which spatial planning operates and the social, political, economic and environmental challenges facing planning. In addition students develop practical skills for plan & policy making, including environmental assessment, retail assessment, public participation methods, development & project management, and GIS.

Depending on your interests, you choose to specialise in either development and design, or environmental planning. 

  • A structured combination of theoretical discussion, practical studio-based learning and independent research.
  • Intensive learning experience which is policy relevant and practice related.
  • Potential in year 2 (based on competitive selection process) for 1 semester exchange with the Master in Urban Planning Program at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
  • Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Irish Planning Institute, which are internationally recognised qualifications

Careers & Employability

Graduates of the MRUP are to be found working as professional planners in the public & private sector, as GIS consultants, as policy advisors, property development consultants, and as community & rural development coordinators. Our graduates have found employment with: national and international planning agencies, government departments, local authorities including urban and rural authorities in Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand; transportation agencies including the National Transport Authority; planning consultancy firms including Tom Philips and Associates, John Spain Associates and Future Analytics consulting; urban regeneration companies, large house builders including Glenveagh Properties; wind & solar energy companies including Eirgrid and ABO Wind, and environmental NGOs including An Taisce. The recovery in the development and construction sector sector in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe is creating increasing opportunities for planning graduates here in Ireland and further afield.

Curricular information is subject to change


Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Applications are welcome from graduates from any discipline, though undergraduate disciplines with a thematic link to Planning are preferred. The programme is also suitable for those with a professional background in a field related to Planning who might wish to develop and broaden their skillset.

Please note the 1 year version of this programme (W178) is only available to UCD internal students progressing from UCD’s Planning, Geography and Environmental Policy degree or UCD's City Planning & Environmental Policy degree. All other eligible applicants should apply for the 2 year Masters of Regional and Urban Planning programme (W032).

The Master of Regional and Urban Planning programme is a two-year professional planning programme, providing graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge to begin a career as a professional planner, with specialisation in either development and design or environmental planning. The MRUP is aimed at providing an integrated and inclusive understanding of the challenges required to create places that combine environmental quality, with a vibrant economy, good quality of life and distributive justice. The programme is underpinned by a critical and questioning approach aimed at equipping our students with intellectual confidence and the professional and ethical judgement to make decisions, which promote and ensure sustainable spatial development and manage environmental change.  The programme fosters a learning environment that draws on the research and expertise of our academic staff, combined with insights from innovative practitioners in the planning, development and environmental field. Uniquely, we can draw on our location in Dublin and Ireland to reflect on the challenges of a rapidly developing vibrant city and modern economy set in an unsurpassed natural environment.  The MRUP utilises a mix of lectures, hands on computer lab based work, group projects in a studio setting, regular student presentations, independent research and academic and professional writing, to provide graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge needed in the rapidly changing global environment facing planning.

  • On successful completion of the programme students should be able to: Understand how spatial planning operates within the context of political, institutional and legal frameworks, and understand the wider social, economic, political and environmental context for planning sustainable environments
  • Appreciate planning and environmental policy research, exhibit the skills of autonomous researchers and recognize the value of research as an input into improved planning policy and practice.
  • Apply their knowledge and research skills to generate integrated and well substantiated responses to spatial planning challenges at various spatial scales.
  • Work effectively both on their own and as part of a team in an interdisciplinary context.
  • Demonstrate effective research, analytical, evaluative and appraisal skills and the ability to reach appropriate evidence based planning decisions.
  • Communicate effectively verbally, graphically and through written documents and to communicate ideas, concepts, knowledge and conclusions to peers, specialist and non-specialist audiences within an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Diagnose problems, define solutions and make decisions based on balancing a range of competing professional and stakeholder interests.
  • Understand the challenges and responsibilities of balancing competing economic, social and environmental requirements in shaping space, will be open to critically assessing these, reflecting on them and acting in a professional and ethical manner in the interests of the common good.
  • Appreciate societal diversity and recognize the importance of equality and equality of opportunity in spatial planning processes.
  • Apply their knowledge and research skills to generate integrated and well substantiated responses to spatial planning challenges at various spatial scales.
  • Appreciate planning and environmental policy research, exhibit the skills of autonomous researchers and recognize the value of research as an input into improved planning policy and practice.
  • Appreciate societal diversity and recognize the importance of equality and equality of opportunity in spatial planning processes.
  • Communicate effectively verbally, graphically and through written documents and to communicate ideas, concepts, knowledge and conclusions to peers, specialist and non-specialist audiences within an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Demonstrate effective research, analytical, evaluative and appraisal skills and the ability to reach appropriate evidence based planning decisions.
  • Diagnose problems, define solutions and make decisions based on balancing a range of competing professional and stakeholder interests.
  • On successful completion of the programme students should be able to: Understand how spatial planning operates within the context of political, institutional and legal frameworks, and understand the wider social, economic, political and environmental context for planning sustainable environments
  • Understand the challenges and responsibilities of balancing competing economic, social and environmental requirements in shaping space, will be open to critically assessing these, reflecting on them and acting in a professional and ethical manner in the interests of the common good.
  • Work effectively both on their own and as part of a team in an interdisciplinary context.

MRUP Regional & Urban Planning (W032) Full Time
EU          Year 1 - € 7640
EU          Year 2 - € 7640 aa
nonEU    Year 1 - € 19200
nonEU    Year 2 - € 18700 aa

MRUP Regional & Urban Planning (W178) Full Time
EU          Year 1 - € 8705
EU          Year 2 - € 8705 aa
nonEU    Year 1 - € 24800
nonEU    Year 2 - € 24200 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2019 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2018/19
***Fees are subject to change

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see www.ucd.ie/international/scholarships.

The College of Engineering & Architecture also offer scholarships for non-EU students, for more information see: www.ucd.ie/eacollege/study/noneuscholarships.

  • Applicants should present an honours undergraduate degree (NFQ Level 8 or equivalent) with a 2.1 classification (Second Class Honours, Grade One or equivalent*)  in any academic field, with a preference for fields of study related to Planning and/or equivalent relevant professional experience. 
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

*(equivalencies vary depending on grade scale of award presented but will generally require a grade average of B or a GPA no less than 3.08)

Graduate Profile

"I completed the Master of Regional and Urban Planning in UCD in 2016. I was working for an architecture firm in the US at the time and looking for a way to transition into the European job market. As an international student, I found the ancillary courses in Irish planning law, European property markets and comparative planning from the MRUP program to be particularly helpful, as they gave me the foundation I needed to engage with an unfamiliar industry and understand some of the cultural context at play in Irish policy making. The program also provided excellent opportunities to network with professional planners in Ireland, which gave our class a helpful snapshot of the various career paths available in the area. I completed an internship with a large private planning consultancy in Dublin that was offered by one of the UCD guest lecturers over the summer and accepted a permanent position there shortly after graduation. My job has evolved somewhat since then, and I now lead the research efforts at the firm as a Geospatial Analyst, a position which combines traditional town planning expertise with more technical data management skills (using GIS software and other related BIM tools)."

Hannah Breshears, Tom Phillips & Associates

The following entry routes are available: