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Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours)

About this course

The Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours) provides graduates with the environmental, engineering, legal, economic, social and urban design skills required to work as planners throughout Australia and internationally.

Students develop the capacity to produce and critique environmental, economic, social, transport and urban design plans, utilise relevant acts and case law, implement planning regulations and policies, analyse data, assess social and environmental impacts, identify and resolve planning problems, communicate in written, oral and graphical form and resolve planning conflicts.

Graduate planners will have the knowledge and skills to design, allocate and manage land use, implement suitable governance, interpret planning law, implement and administer plans and proceed in a professional and ethical manner.

The distinctive features of this course include engineering and law units and a focus on sustainable regional and rural communities.

Career opportunities

Graduates can build careers in a range of planning fields including environmental protection, urban design, development assessment, housing, transport, health, sport and recreation, heritage and conservation and tourism. There are opportunities to work in federal, state and local governments, large development companies and private planning consultancies.

Planning is a growth industry with above average earnings, and employment has risen strongly over the last 10 years and is expected to continue growing.

Professional recognition

Southern Cross University is undertaking staged accreditation for the degree from the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and has received interim accreditation until December 2019. Graduates are eligible to apply for membership of PIA. Accreditation also enables the degree to be recognised worldwide.

Professional placement

At the end of the third year of study students undertake an eight-week (40 day equivalent) internship (work placement) in the planning field. The internship seeks to introduce students to the requirements of the working environment and to refine and practise workplace skills in a structured setting with the support of the University.

Students gain exposure to the practical application of their knowledge and skills in readiness to enter the workforce. The internship also provides students a structured framework to develop their generic workplace skills such as preparing a CV, addressing selection criteria and resolving conflict.

Major areas of study

The course incorporates cross disciplinary studies to equip graduates with an understanding of the social, environmental, economic and legal background required to practice as a professional planner. It provides integrated learning experiences in other disciplines including environmental science and management, engineering, law and social science, to prepare graduates for employment in a wide range of urban and regional planning positions.

In the final year, students undertake a planning research thesis, or an impact assessment project. The thesis enables students to explore critical planning issues and gives them the opportunity to contribute to new knowledge in their chosen topic. The project enables students to hone their social and environment impact knowledge and skills. The practical application of planning skills suitable for the workforce will also come together in the final year of study through the capstone project.

Assessment methods

Assessment varies for each unit and generally comprises a mix of assessment types, including laboratory and readings-based assignments, seminar presentations, field and practical investigation reports, and formal practical and written examinations.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including face-to-face lectures and tutorials. Some units offer online activities, classes, pre-recorded and/or live lectures. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

The online study option is highly interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive online pre-recorded and/or live lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

In addition, students in this course have access to Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratories.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours), a candidate shall successfully complete thirty-two (32) units (384 credit points) comprising:
    1. all units listed in Part A; and
    2. four (4) units from Part B

Class of Honours

A candidate may on the recommendation of the School Board be awarded Honours in one of the following grades:

  • First Class Honours (GPA of 5 overall and GPA of 7 for the following project units - Planning Thesis I, Planning Thesis II and Capstone Project; GPA of 6 for the following capstone units - Development Assessment Studio and Strategic Planning Studio)
  • Second Class Honours – Division I (GPA of 5 overall and GPA of 6 for the following project units - Planning Thesis I, Planning Thesis II and Capstone Project; GPA of 5.5 for the following capstone units - Development Assessment Studio and Strategic Planning Studio)
  • Second Class Honours – Division II (GPA of 5 overall and GPA of 5 for the following project units - Planning Thesis I, Planning Thesis II and Capstone Project; GPA of 5 for the following capstone units - Development Assessment Studio and Strategic Planning Studio)

Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'