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Spatial Planning

Please note due to the great demand for our programmes early applications are assessed when received and dealt with promptly. Therefore it is advisable to make early applications for an early response. If you do not yet have your final degree results this will not hinder your application as we are happy to issue conditional offer letters in such circumstances.

This part-time programme provides an opportunity for practitioners (with five years relevant experience) who work in the area of the Built Environment in Ireland or abroad, to become professional planners by attending a part-time planning course. Through a modular delivery of lectures, tutorials and seminars over a period of 2.5 years, including the successful completion of a dissertation, students can obtain a recognised planning qualification.

The course is presented within the new School of Spatial Planning in the College of Engineering and the Built Environment in DIT Bolton Street. It is envisaged that the intake of students will be approx. 10-15 individuals of different disciplines and backgrounds, all with substantial experience in the built environment. Because students will be experienced practising professionals from different disciplines, the course provides scope for a considerable degree of inter-disciplinary learning and evaluation of experience both within the student group as well as between lecturers and students.

The group environment fosters a creative atmosphere of interactive problem-based learning. Students are set real-life challenges often involving actual problems facing planning agencies, who also get involved in tuition and assessment. The teaching faculty is made up of committed DIT personnel in addition to practising professionals, considered some of Ireland's leading experts in their respective disciplines.

Students and staff engage directly with agencies and community/industry in project work on a routine basis. A high level of industry involvement is ensured in guest lectures, programme development, project work, feedback and critique, etc.

The Spatial Planning Graduate Network, an alumni network organised by graduates of the programme and the programme chairperson, runs a CPD and forum programme which directly involves and is linked to the current programme.

Graduate Testimonials

The programme has an active alumni, the Spatial Planning Graduate Network. A survey of all graduates found that: -

•90% of respondents said their career progressed following the course with 79% attributing this to the course

•92% of graduates said they would recommend the course to a friend or colleague

•97% said the course makes a positive contribution to the professional practice of planning

Entry requirements

In order to be admitted to the course, applicants must meet the following requirements:

•Have an appropriate honours (2.2 grade or higher) bachelor degree.
•Have five years relevant experience in an area generally related to planning.
•Have an ability to undertake practice during the course that is relevant to planning (see attached note on "Planning Practice Logbook Requirement" for details).

See also: Planning Practice Logbook Requirement

Prospective students are expected to address the above matters in their written application as well as in an interview. Acceptance onto the programme is by interview. A Selection Interview Panel is convened, usually in early-June, to decide on course intake for the following September.


Part Time - 2.5 Years

This is a part-time programme which is delivered over monthly, 1-week blocks.

Careers or further progression

The course is accredited by the Irish Planning Institute.
Many graduates use their knowledge to supplement their existing professional practice. Equally, many others use the programme to reskill into planning positions within local authorities, agencies, government bodies or private practice. Others still, use the course to develop practice in new and emerging areas of planning, which like any contemporary profession is an evolving field.

Further enquiries

For Further Information

Paul Lawlor
School of Transport, Environment & Planning
College of Engineering & Built Environment
DIT Bolton Street Dublin 1

T: 01 402 3610
F: 01 402 3999

Subjects taught

Students undertake a range of modules covering all areas of the social and environmental sciences. They gain practical knowledge of core planning practices; including planning law, development management, infrastructure planning, area planning, environmental assessment and urban design. The completion of a dissertation allows students a specific and relevant planning issue on an in-depth basis.

The following modules are included in the programme and a full descriptor for each is available on the DIT CourseWise website: -

Year One

SSPL 9001 Rural Environment and Planning
The module provides an understanding of current and emerging theory in the rural environment. As well as gaining a practical awareness of current problems and issues, students will focus on the incorporation of environmental, cultural and economic values for rural areas. Students will undertake exercises in providing for and promoting biodiversity in spatial plans.

SSPL 9002 History & Theory of Planning
This module provides a high level understanding of the evolution of spatial planning, key concepts and current themes. The student is also trained to critically evaluate the theoretical and ethical justification for planning policies and their implementation.

SSPL9003 Planning Law & Institutions II
Planning law and governance is becoming ever more complex and fast-changing. The Planning Law & Institutions II module provides an essential grounding in the administrative structures, statutory instruments and applications necessary in the implementation and administration of planning policies.

SSPL9004 Local Area Plan
The aim of this Module is to develop advanced planning skills through the formulation of plans for local areas. Students will learn how to combine design and innovation with planning objectives. The Local Area Plan is a fundamental tool for planners. It is the principal junction between policies and zoning which increasingly must take account of actual dimensions and local context.

SSPL 9005 Socio Economic Environment
This module provides the learner with the relevant socio-economic context for understanding the dynamics of settlements and communities. The module utilises contemporary examples from Ireland and internationally to illustrate these concepts and provide a strong context for policy evaluation.

SSPL9006 Research Techniques
This module provides the skills to understand sources of information, data analysis and computation relevant to research. The student is introduced to research and report writing skills. The module also prepares the student for writing the MSc Spatial Planning dissertation.

SSPL9055 Technology & Infrastructure
This module provides an overview of the principles and techniques for building and site development. The student also obtains an understanding of energy conservation in sustainable construction and building design.

Year Two

SSPL9008 Cultural Heritage & Urbanism
The module provides a systematic understanding of the cultural context for spatial planning and urban design. It also considers what skills might be necessary to anticipate the consequences of urban interventions. Students will learn how to evaluate a proposal in a heritage context.

SSPL9009 Environmental Assessment II
An overview of theory and current practice in the preparation and undertaking of Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.

SSPL 9010 National & Regional Planning

Economic growth increasingly concentrates in new spatial patterns caused by changes in the geographic distribution of flows of people, goods and information. This module explores how increasing integration and globalisation of economies have implications for the distribution of economic activities in space and how strategic planning policies respond to this.

SSPL 9011 Planning Practice logbooks
While undertaking the programme the student must maintain a logbook detailing the areas in which work experience has been gained. The logbook should demonstrate that the student has worked for at least 40 days in each of four practice areas selected from a range of areas of professional planning. The range of elements from which a choice can be made reflects the diverse nature of the planning profession.

SSPL 9012 Urban Design
This is a group project which synergises many of the lessons learned from the full range of modules and learning activities on the programme. The group will step through an evolved process in order to structurally address a given area and propose how it might be regenerated and redesigned towards the creation of a vibrant, resilient and healthy neighbourhood. The group will engage with stakeholders and agencies who are involved in the areas future.

SSPL 9013 Planning Techniques
This module covers advanced and specialised techniques for data and information management used in contemporary spatial planning. The module looks at population, labour force and housing projection methodologies. Familiarisation will be gained with methodologies underpinning transport assessment, retail impact assessment and health impact assessment. Participatory planning and decision-making techniques will also be considered.

SSPL 9014 Transport and Urban Development
Modern transport networks form the backbone of city regions and influence real estate development through accessibility profiles. The module explores the implications of transport infrastructure for urban development and settlement patterns. Issues of governance, policy and design will be explored as well as understanding techniques for the design and appraisal of sustainable urban mobility solutions.

Year 3
SSPL 9027 Dissertation
This is a self directed learning module which is reported in a dissertation between 15,000 and 20,000 words. The dissertation must be an original piece of work by the student on a topic relevant to the theme of Spatial Planning and is a mandatory requirement for the award of the masters degree. The dissertation offers each student an opportunity to explore, on an in-depth basis, a particular and specialised problem or aspect of planning.


The course is delivered at the DIT School of Transport, Environment and Planning, part of the College of Engineering and Built Environment, DIT Bolton Street, Dublin 1. The practical nature of the programme also necessitates a number of off-site field-trips and seminars. A number of weekend seminars are included in the programme and these normally take place off-site, which may include rural and / or international venues.

The degree of MSc in Spatial Planning of the Dublin Institute of Technology will be awarded to participants who successfully pass the formal examinations and assessments of the programme and successfully pass the dissertation.

Timetable / Hours
The course is presented on a part-time basis through a five semester cycle. During each of semesters one to four, attendance will be required for four full-time periods of one week as well as one weekend seminar.

Total course attendance over the 2.5 years will therefore amount to sixteen weeks of lectures and tutorials, weekend seminars and exam periods. Written examinations will be held at the end of years one and two. During the fifth and final semester, students work primarily on their dissertation.

Assessment method

Assessment is by examination and coursework, however a large portion of the programme is assessed by practical project-work, undertaken both individually and in teams. Projects undertaken include:

•Local Area Plan Project
•Urban Design Project
•Strategic Environmental Assessment Project
•Other module assessment projects (often incorporating field work)
•Planning Practice Logbook requirement
•Research Dissertation (undertaken in final semester)

Application date

Closing Date: The general closing date is 27th April 2019. Please note that late applications may be accepted subject to availability.

Enrolment and start dates

Course Start Date: September 2019

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