Urban and Regional Planning

Planning, also called urban, town, city and regional planning and development planning, is a dynamic profession that works to create more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient and attractive places for present and future generations.


This is a professional degree only offered to BSc URP graduates from Wits. It has been accredited by the South African Council of Planners (SACPLAN) at NQF level 8, which equips candidates with critical, practical, and research skills. 

Candidates acquiring the degree can register as a professional planner after two years of relevant work experience in the planning profession. 

The BSc Hons URP also provides entry into Masters coursework programmes offered by the School (such as the MSc(Development Planning), the Masters of Urban Design, and the Masters of Urban Studies in the fields of Urban Management, Urban Politics, Housing, Research and Sustainable and Energy Efficient Cities), as well as the research-based MSc Urban and Regional Planning.

The Honours programme aims to develop and consolidate candidates’ undergraduate planning skills. It includes courses of direct significance to engage with and contribute to the profession: professional practice and ethics, planning law, and advanced planning theory. It includes a major integrated planning project, allowing candidates to apply their cumulative understanding of theory and practice in the preparation of a spatial framework. The Honours programme also contains a substantial research project, which develops candidates’ capacity to research an issue independently, to synthesise knowledge in an area, undertake field research, analyse findings, and write up an extended report.   

Why Study Planning at Wits?

The planning programme at Wits is located within the most economically important metropolitan complex in Africa, Johannesburg - a centre of vibrant urban development and change. The programme strives to provide quality education that is appropriate to the needs of a rapidly urbanising country, and a continent facing enormous developmental changes. The programme is committed to producing students equipped to work both locally internationally, who can respond to challenges of globalisation, new technologies, inequality, economic and cultural practices.

The planning programme at Wits is the oldest and largest university-based planning programme in South Africa. The programme is forging a strong network of links with other institutions in Africa and internationally and a number of collaborative initiatives are underway. It engages directly with issues of critical concern to the management and future development of human settlement through service learning, focused research and supportive relationships with policymakers. Areas of research focus in the programme include human settlements, sustainable cities, housing, gender and the role of planners and other actors in shaping urban space.

Career Opportunities

Urban and regional planning is a rapidly growing profession, which is of fundamental importance to the development of South Africa and the region: planners help shape the future! While cities are rarely planned ‘from scratch’, planners are crucial in managing their growth in strategic and sustainable ways. The discipline of planning has many facets: sustainable development, spatial planning, land use management, housing, urban regeneration, environmental management, local economic development, tourism planning, and urban environmental design. Many planners are involved in urban renewal projects, the regeneration of inner cities, and township redevelopment.

Planning is about the organisation of places and activities in ways that make towns and cities more attractive and people-friendly places. It is concerned with the design, functioning and management of all elements in a town or urban environment, from the smallest settlement or town to the largest city. 

The courses in urban and regional planning and development planning at Wits offer a stimulating entry point into this rewarding career.


Duration and structure of the BScHonsURP

This degree is taken on a full-time basis from February to October/November. It is however possible to take the degree over two years, doing some courses in the first year, and others in the second.

All courses are held during working hours (8 am – 5 pm) on weekdays.

The degree includes a substantial project, which will involve a week long field trip, generally out of South Africa. All course work is completed by the end of June, with the rest of the year focused on the research report, which is submitted mid-October, with orals in November.

Click here for curriculum information.

Entry Requirements

The minimum admission requirements are:

  • BSc URP from the University of the Witwatersrand with a minimum average mark of 60% for their 3rd year subjects.
  • Graduates of the Wits BSc URP with a lower mark than 60% will be expected to obtain at least a year of relevant work experience. As part of their application, they will need to submit a CV, complete a written exercise, and, if necessary, attend an interview.

Please note that graduates of degrees other than the Wits BSc URP cannot be admitted to the BSc (Hons) URP due to SACPLAN requirements that both the BSc URP and BSc (Hons) URP from Wits are required for professional registration with SACPLAN. They are advised to apply instead for the PG Dip Planning, which will allow them entry to the MSc DP, leading to professional registration with SACPLAN.

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at www.wits.ac.za/askwits.

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.