3D architectural model study of a town

How to apply

The potential apprentice will be required to complete an Initial Needs Assessment (INA) with the support of their employer and the University to ensure the apprenticeship programme is an appropriate solution to their skills development needs.
The employer should or can request the Initial Needs Assessment by emailing apprenticeships@plymouth.ac.uk.
Applications for September 2023 are now open!
INA Submission deadline is Friday 30 June 2023.

The total cost of the Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship - Level 7 is:

There are currently two funding models:
  • Fully-funded: Levy paying organisations 
- If the annual pay bill of your organisation exceeds £3 million you will pay for your apprenticeship training through your levy account. 
  • Co-funded: Non-levy organisations (the annual pay bill of your organisation is less than £3 million) and levy paying organisations who have exceeded their levy contribution. 
- the government will financially co-support your apprenticeship training contributing 95% of the total cost. The employer will contribute and be invoiced for the remaining 5% of the total cost.
For more information about Apprenticeship Levy please visit the gov.uk website.
If you need any further information about the fees and/or funding for this apprenticeship please do not hesitate to contact us at apprenticeship@plymouth.ac.ukor call +44(0)1752 583625.

The core modules of the programme are:

  • Issues and values in planning practice: the role of planning in society and other policy frameworks together with the key planning theories through time and the core professional values and skills.
  • Spatial planning and sustainable development: the institutional framework, policy, assessments, appraisals, and the sustainability agenda.
  • Development management and delivery: planning law and procedures, development management, appeal process, finance and project management.
  • Environmental Knowledge: from field to stakeholder: quantitative and qualitative methods used in the planning process in building an evidence base for policy and evaluation, together with preparation for the dissertation project.
  • Urban Design: theories, methodologies and practice: issues facing contemporary and future urban design and place making in spatial planning.
  • Dissertation project: independent research project.
  • Reflective Review modules: used to capture reflective learning and development plans for students through the programme and encourage a life-long learning approach.


In addition, students will take one specialist module from the following list (subject to availability): 

  • Coastal urban regeneration: addresses the challenges of managing urban change in coastal communities ranging from port cities to seaside resorts.
  • Rural planning: considers how planning policies reflect and affect rural economy, environment and society.

How will the apprentice be assessed? 

All taught modules (20 credits each) are assessed by two pieces of coursework, usually an essay, report, research project and/or presentation. The research project/dissertation (60 credits) is assessed by an independent piece of research linked to the student’s specialism option (up to 15,000 words).


The programme aims to provide students with the knowledge and practical skills required by planners today, including sustainable development, plan and policy-making, development management, design and ‘place-shaping’, development viability and delivery, and community facilitation, negotiation and mediation, alongside their own work-based experience with their employer. 
The distinctive strengths of the programme are: the mix of academic and practice based learning; research-informed teaching; regional specialisms; a multi-disciplinary approach; an emphasis on key skills and professionalism; and a culture of support for student learning. 
The programme is delivered on the basis of one day release per week (Year 1 Tuesdays; Year 2 Thursdays) at the campus of the University of Plymouth in Plymouth. The attendance requirements would be one day per week for 30 weeks per annum. The programme has also been fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the End Point Assessment is the RTPI’s Assessment of Professional Competence, which provides a route to Chartered Membership of the professional body. 

Who is the course for?

This degree apprenticeship is intended for the professional development of existing planning staff through a professionally accredited education qualification, whilst gaining practical experience in the work place. Eligible employees are those with at least a lower second class honours degree in a related-subject or at least five years of professional experience in planning as a practitioner.

Areas of specialisms

Course facts

Duration: 2.5 years
Hours of study per week: Class-based 6 hours; Independent study 8 hours
Delivery e.g. online/day release: Day release (Year 1 Tuesdays; Year 2 Thursdays)
Entry requirements: For the Level 7 qualification this will be at least a lower second class honours degree in a related-subject or at least five years of professional experience in planning as a practitioner.
Other key facts: The programme is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Picture of back of person looking at concept board for research planning
 (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

Core skills

1. Knowledge and understanding of planning: Planning theory, policy and practice; planning and related law; political framework; sustainability and resource management; place-making and urban design; stakeholder engagement and community involvement; economic framework; professional ethics and ethical framework. 

2. Key and transferable skills: communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral, written and visual means to a range of audiences and stakeholders in a professional context; undertake effective research information sourcing to establish an evidence base; collate, analyse and interpret data in quantitative and qualitative forms; and work independently and organise his/her own learning.

3.  Employment-related skills: preparation of plans, policies and related documents; plan implementation; creative vision and design; critical analysis and decision-making; stakeholder management and leadership; project management; collaborative and multi-disciplinary working; and interpersonal skills. 

 4. Professional behaviours: demonstrate awareness and understanding of professional working, roles, responsibilities and ethical values; demonstrate negotiation, mediation, leadership, advocacy and networking skills likely to facilitate collaborative policy formulation and implementation; engage effectively in reflection and action planning for personal and career development; prepare for the RTPI’s Assessment of Professional Competence through a range of professional and work-based experiences; and appreciate the importance of life-long, work-based learning and reflect critically on their career plans and skills needs.

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Benefits to the business

1.  Up-skilling of existing planning staff and practitioners.

2.  Increased productivity and professionalism.

3.  Provides route to staff becoming Chartered Members of the RTPI.

4.  Advantages for retention and recruitment of staff.


Benefits to the apprentice

1. Improved knowledge and skills of planning for professional development.

2. Opportunities for the acquisition of skills and experience in a range of professional contexts.

3. Provides a route to Chartered Membership of the professional body, the Royal Town Planning Institute.

4. Professional development and promotion opportunities.

RTPI logo

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2022

We are extremely proud of our outstanding results in the latest Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2022. The MSc Town Planning degree (Level 7 Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship) received 100% overall satisfaction for course quality, 100% assessment and feedback, 100% for support, 100% for skills development, and 95% satisfaction for teaching and learning on the course. These results place our master’s degree significantlyabove the sector benchmark. 100% of students responding to the survey agreed that staff are good at explaining things, enthusiastic about what they teach, has enhanced their academic ability, that there is sufficient contact time, and that students are happy with the support for their learning from staff on the course.

Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship staff

European Social Fund