MRUP Regional & Urban Planning

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, with the threats posed by climate change, economic crisis and rapid urban growth, planners face the challenge of creating places that combine environmental quality with a vibrant economy, quality of life and distributive justice. This two-year professional planning degree develops the requisite conceptual knowledge and practical skills required by planners in this increasingly complex environment. You will develop an understanding of the administrative, legal and policy frameworks in which spatial planning operates and the social, political, economic and environmental challenges facing planning. In addition students develop practical skills for plan and policy making, including environmental assessment, retail assessment, public participation methods, development and project management, and GIS. Students will also engage with understanding the role of planning in public policy and sustainability.

The UCD School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy has an established international track record as a leading research centre in spatial planning and is in the Top 150 QS World University Rankings by subject area. The School is a member of the Association of European Schools of Planning and has an exchange programme with the University of Illinois in Chicago.

* Please note this programme is currently undergoing a structural review and will be changing to a 1 year full time programme. Further information will be available in due course on this page or to find out more information please email

The current 1 year version of this programme (W178) is only available to UCD internal students progressing from UCD’s Planning, Geography and Environmental Policy degree or UCD's City Planning & Environmental Policy degree. At this time all other eligible applicants should apply for the 2 year Master of Regional and Urban Planning programme (W032).

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The Master of Regional and Urban Planning programme is a two-year professional planning programme, providing graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge to begin a career as a professional planner, with specialisation in either development and design or environmental planning. The MRUP is aimed at providing an integrated and inclusive understanding of the challenges required to create places that combine environmental quality, with a vibrant economy, good quality of life and distributive justice. The programme is underpinned by a critical and questioning approach aimed at equipping our students with intellectual confidence and the professional and ethical judgement to make decisions, which promote and ensure sustainable spatial development and manage environmental change.  The programme fosters a learning environment that draws on the research and expertise of our academic staff, combined with insights from innovative practitioners in the planning, development and environmental field. Uniquely, we can draw on our location in Dublin and Ireland to reflect on the challenges of a rapidly developing vibrant city and modern economy set in an unsurpassed natural environment.  The MRUP utilises a mix of lectures, hands on computer lab based work, group projects in a studio setting, regular student presentations, independent research and academic and professional writing, to provide graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge needed in the rapidly changing global environment facing planning. Also there is potential in year 2 (based on competitive selection process) for 1 semester exchange with the Master in Urban Planning Program at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

  • Apply their knowledge and research skills to generate integrated and well substantiated responses to spatial planning challenges at various spatial scales.
  • Appreciate planning and environmental policy research, exhibit the skills of autonomous researchers and recognize the value of research as an input into improved planning policy and practice.
  • Appreciate societal diversity and recognize the importance of equality and equality of opportunity in spatial planning processes.
  • Communicate effectively verbally, graphically and through written documents and to communicate ideas, concepts, knowledge and conclusions to peers, specialist and non-specialist audiences within an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Demonstrate effective research, analytical, evaluative and appraisal skills and the ability to reach appropriate evidence based planning decisions.
  • Diagnose problems, define solutions and make decisions based on balancing a range of competing professional and stakeholder interests.
  • On successful completion of the programme students should be able to: Understand how spatial planning operates within the context of political, institutional and legal frameworks, and understand the wider social, economic, political and environmental context for planning sustainable environments
  • Understand the challenges and responsibilities of balancing competing economic, social and environmental requirements in shaping space, will be open to critically assessing these, reflecting on them and acting in a professional and ethical manner in the interests of the common good.
  • Work effectively both on their own and as part of a team in an interdisciplinary context.

Graduates of the MRUP are to be found working as professional planners in the public and private sector, as GIS consultants, as policy advisors, property  development consultants, and as community & rural development coordinators. Our graduates have found employment with: national and international planning  agencies, government departments, local authorities including urban and rural authorities in Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand; transportation agencies including the National Transport Authority; planning consultancy firms including Tom Philips and Associates, John Spain Associates and Future Analytics consulting; urban regeneration companies,  large house builders including Glenveagh Properties; wind and solar energy companies including Eirgrid and ABO Wind, and environmental NGOs including An Taisce. 

View All Modules Here

This section links to general module information, for a more detailed description including module selection rules click here.

MRUP Regional & Urban Planning (W032) Full Time
nonEU    Year 2 - € 20500 aa
EU          Year 1 - € 8610
nonEU    Year 1 - € 21520
EU          Year 2 - € 8200 aa

MRUP Regional & Urban Planning (W178) Full Time
EU          Year 1 - € 9810
nonEU    Year 1 - € 27720
EU          Year 2 - € 9340 aa
nonEU    Year 2 - € 26400 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2023 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2022/23
***Fees are subject to change

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see

The Master of Regional and Urban Planning (MRUP) is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Irish Planning Institute (IPI) and these qualifications are recognised internationally.

  • An honours undergraduate degree (NFQ Level 8) with a minimum upper second class honours or international equivalence in a cognate discipline including Geography, Sociology, Economics, Politics, Social Science, Law, Engineering, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Property Economics, Surveying and/or equivalent relevant professional experience. 
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

Graduate Profile - Hannah Breshears, Tom Phillips & Associates

"I completed the Master of Regional and Urban Planning in UCD in 2016. I was working for an architecture firm in the US at the time and looking for a way to transition into the European job market. As an international student, I found the ancillary courses in Irish planning law, European property markets and comparative planning from the MRUP program to be particularly helpful, as they gave me the foundation I needed to engage with an unfamiliar industry and understand some of the cultural context at play in Irish policy making. The program also provided excellent opportunities to network with professional planners in Ireland, which gave our class a helpful snapshot of the various career paths available in the area. I completed an internship with a large private planning consultancy in Dublin that was offered by one of the UCD guest lecturers over the summer and accepted a permanent position there shortly after graduation. My job has evolved somewhat since then, and I now lead the research efforts at the firm as a Geospatial Analyst, a position which combines traditional town planning expertise with more technical data management skills (using GIS software and other related BIM tools)."

The following entry routes are available:

MRUP (AP) FT (W178)
1 Years
Full Time
MRUP FT (W032)
2 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised