Urban Planning and Property Development BSc

  • UCAS code K490
  • Duration Up to 4 years
  • Delivery type Full Time
  • Study location Edinburgh
  • Number of places 50 across the programme


The Course

Until quite recently, planners and real estate professionals studied different degree programmes and interacted very little before entering graduate employment. Our Urban Planning and Property Development programme brings together theoretical, practical and policy content from both spheres – planning and real estate. Accreditation by both RICS and RTPI reflects the wide scope and relevance of this combined degree.

Heriot-Watt is rated 3rd in the UK and top in Scotland among all planning schools in the UK in the National Student Survey 2013 and ranked 2nd in the UK and top in Scotland for Building and Town & Country Planning in the Guardian League Table 2015. 

Career Prospects

Urban planners and real estate professionals are needed in all sectors – public, private, environmental and voluntary – to design, develop, regulate and deliver regeneration schemes, infrastructure and development projects. Graduates from our Urban Planning and Property Development programme go on to successful careers in the public and private sectors at national and international levels.

Heriot-Watt graduates can be found throughout the planning and property professions, including in local and central government and consultancy, and working for housing associations, property developers and house builders. Several of our most recent graduates are now employed by major investment institutions such as Scottish Widows and Standard Life while others have secured roles in planning and property consultancies like Jones Lang LaSalle and CBRE.

For more information about the programme structure, the type of job it can lead to, and why you should consider studying it, see our 'Further Information' webpage.

Programme content

Level 1

Introduces students to the main features and professions of the built environment sector. Students study a range of topics with an emphasis on sustainable development. These include: Introduction to the Environment, Construction Technology, Introduction to Design and an interdisciplinary practical project. Students also take part in a residential study tour of a major British city.

Level 2

Lays down solid foundations in planning through courses such as Design of Place and Development Planning, and in property studies through courses including Principles of Property Valuation, and Commercial Law.

Level 3

Advanced planning and property studies are combined in courses including: Urban Design Theory and Practice, Planning Theory, Real Estate Development, and Sustainable Environments. A professional project offers a one-week European study tour.

Level 4

Students undertake a research dissertation and core courses that include Current Debates in Practice, and Urban Economy and Property
Markets. Students also take one specialist option in either: Social Sustainability, Urban Infrastructure or Real Estate Management and Sustainability.

Your career

Adam Gordon

  • Degree BSc Urban & Regional Planning
  • Present Job North West Development Agency

“After graduating I became a Graduate Planner in the Scottish Government’s Directorate for the Built Environment. I had a wide range of responsibilities which included providing Ministers with advice on planning applications and commenting on draft development plans produced by local authorities.

“Edinburgh is a fantastic place to live and study. The Campus is accessible from the city centre so you can live in Edinburgh and easily travel to the University.

“My advice to anyone choosing a university would be to make sure you do your research first and decide what you want from the programme. Get the best you can from it and try to find summer work placements that are relevant to your chosen career because it makes such a difference when you graduate and you are looking for permanent employment.

“Every graduate from my programme has gone on to a career in planning. Employment prospects in the sector are really good, there are lots of jobs available and employers are actively recruiting graduates.

“I am now a Planner at the North West Development Agency in Warrington, where I am working on the Regional Strategy and generally helping to secure infrastructure and economic growth for the North West of England.”

Andy Armstrong

  • Degree BSc Real Estate Management
  • Year2010
  • Present Job Real Estate Analyst at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership

Andy graduated from the BSc Real Estate Management programme in 2010 with First Class Honours. After a brief spell at CB Richard Ellis he moved into the fund management industry working for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in the Real Estate Strategy and Research team.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Heriot-Watt. Not only does it have a fantastic reputation from an academic point of view, it’s also a great place to be socially. The university has a great range of societies and sports clubs to get involved in. After a brief spell at CB Richard Ellis, I currently work as Real Estate Analyst. My job has a variety of roles associated with it ranging from advising investment managers on which segments of the property market to invest in, to forecasting rental values of offices throughout the UK. Essentially though it’s about providing fund managers with strategic and analytical support to help them make the best decisions for our clients.

"Working in investment management requires a well-developed understanding of investment fundamentals. I received this at Heriot-Watt through some excellent lecturers that are very well respected in the property industry. 

"I’d highly recommend Heriot-Watt as a place of study. My advice to anyone starting their studies is to get as much industry experience as they can either before they commence or during their summer breaks. A pro-active approach to getting a foot in the employer’s door is a key attribute of candidates who are successful in securing employment after graduation."

Entry requirements

The University offers as its normal entry routes:

  • entry at Level 1, mainly for students with Scottish Highers (or similar)
  • entry at Level 2, mainly for students with A-levels (or similar).

There is nevertheless considerable flexibility, depending on the level of qualifications, for entrants with A-levels to opt to enter at Level 1 and for Scottish students to enter at Level 2.

Level 1 entry

  • Scottish Highers BBBBC or AAAB
  • GCE A Level BBB
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
  • Scottish Baccalaureate pass

Level 2 entry

  • GCE A Level ABB
  • SQA Advanced Highers BB plus AAAB at Higher
  • SQA Higher National Cert A in graded unit
  • SQA Higher National Dip pass
  • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points
  • Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction
  • Alternative Qualifications For all years, applications are welcomed from holders of non-school qualifications and mature candidates

Tuition fees

Tuition fees by residency status
Status*Scotland / EU**England / Northern Ireland / WalesInternational
FeePaid by SAAS9,000.0012,280.00

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the 3 years before the start of your programme. Find out more about tuition fees.

** European Union countries, not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales.

Scholarships & bursaries