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You should consider a career in town/ urban/ regional planning if you have a passion for making physical space like property, transport and housing work economically, socially and environmentally, especially for those using it as a home, or to access work.

Urban planning is both a technical and a political process. It relies on technical knowledge about the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and urban infrastructure. (Urban infrastructure includes transport networks, public amenities, sanitation, communications, roads, and distribution networks for water and electricity.) It is also a political process because optimising land use and the built environment aims to meet socio-economic needs, requires the buy-in of affected communities and decision makers, and requires the dedicated allocation of the necessary resources. Urban planning is an interdisciplinary field that includes social science, architecture, human geography, politics, engineering, and design sciences.

As a town planner you would need to combine socio-economic elements and current political insights into your planning, and work with relevant role players towards a common goal.

Your knowledge of spatial economics and geography is needed when planning, rezoning or working out the best way to use space.

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As an urban planner your duties might include:

  • assisting with planning and implementing policies, strategies and plans for an efficient transport network that includes cycle routes, rail and road routes, new airports and runways, and
  • advising on the refurbishment or re-use of buildings.

Choose your subjects

The road to a career in urban planning begins in high school. It’s important to choose the subjects you need to be able to complete the necessary undergraduate degree so that you can do an Honours or Masters degree in in town/urban/regional planning.

Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) at UCT

A BAS is needed to study towards a Bachelor of City Planning Honours degree and Masters of City and Regional Planning degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT). In addition to a portfolio, high school subjects needed for a BAS are:

  • Mathematics
  • English

Selection into the Bachelor of Architectural Studies at UCT is based on the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE) Weighted Point Score (WPS), EBE Faculty Points Score (FPS) and the portfolio score.

Visit UCT’s website for more information about points admission to the BAS.

Bachelor in Engineering (BEng) at Stellenbosch University

To study towards a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at Stellenbosch University you need

  • a professional Bachelors’ degree in Urban and Regional Planning or Development Planning, or Engineering, or
  • an Honours degree in Geography, Economics, Public Administration, Sociology, Demography, Statistics or Mathematics with a pass mark of 60%.

For admission to an undergraduate Bachelors’ degree in Engineering for example you need these high school subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Physical Science, and
  • English

Visit Stellenbosch University’s website for more information on what you’ll need to study towards your Masters in Urban and regional planning.

Apply for a bursary

We can help you study towards becoming a town/ urban/ regional planner with our Masakh’iSizwe bursary programme.

We give financial and non-financial support to qualifying students with the aim of developing built environment, transport and engineering professionals. The Department of Infrastructure partners with these higher education institutions to offer bursary study support:

More about the Masakh’iSizwe bursary programme