Master of Regional Planning by Research - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Master of Regional Planning by Research

Drive change through research for regions of the future.

The planning profession demands real-world solutions for the constantly changing environment we live in. Work with industry experts to conduct research that will advance the way town planners approach complex issues, and provide new insights into the evolving needs of diverse communities and regions, both within Australia and globally.

Study locations
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Caboolture
  • Fraser Coast
  • Gympie
Refer to the program footnotes
Semester 2
Program length (full-time)
2 years
Annual tuition fee 2021
Estimated total tuition fee *
  • Only a full-time option is available to international students on a Student visa. Online programs are not available to Student visa holders.
  • * Estimated tuition fees are based on 2021 rates. Refer to international fees for more information.
  • Not all majors/minors and elective options are available at every campus. You should refer to the What Can I Study tab, and the proposed study sequence for your chosen campus and intake for further information.
Study locations
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Moreton Bay
  • Caboolture
  • Fraser Coast
  • Gympie
USC program code
Semester 2
2 years full time or equivalent part time
Study mode
Blended Learning
Total units
Program coordinator
Dr Nicholas Stevens

In this advanced program, you’ll complete one required research course and an original thesis on a topic of your choice, from coastal management to water allocation and planning, urban planning and design issues to dispute resolution, and more.

This program is designed for planning professionals who hold a degree accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia and are looking to advance their careers in the planning industry.

In this program you will:

  • Produce original research on an area of professional interest
  • Develop advanced skills in research design, analysis and written communication
  • Advance the way town planners approach complex issues, and contribute to the future of planning practice
Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission to Master of Regional Planning by Research candidature, applicants are normally required to hold:

  • a Planning Institute of Australia (or other professional planning accreditation body affiliated with the World Planning Schools Association) accredited four-year degree in planning
  • an honours undergraduate degree in a planning-related area and relevant planning experience to the satisfaction of the Program Coordinator

Refer also to the University’s English language requirements.

Admission is subject to availability of appropriate supervision and facilities.


Program structure

During candidature you must complete one required course, SCS725 Advanced Social Research, and compile a thesis of 30,000–35,000 words.

You are required to conduct research that can be written up as a scholarly thesis. You must demonstrate research competency and the ability to make a significant and original contribution to the body of knowledge in your chosen area of specialisation.

As a candidate you must clearly articulate in your research outline, the topic, background, rationale, research question, aim and objectives, methodology, research methods and techniques, and timeframe. Your research outline is to include a literature review that relates to the research question and objectives.

The results of your research activities should be presented succinctly and accurately and as necessary could be supported by more detailed annexures. Your syntheses analysis and discussion must clearly focus on the research question and the objectives of the work.

Conclusions and recommendations must be drawn from your analysis and discussion and reflect the attainment of the aim and the way in which the research question is addressed.

Program requirements and notes
  1. Prospective applicants wishing to undertake a Master of Regional Planning by Research can use the Research Supervisor Search to find a suitable supervisor.
  2. For further information, refer to the Higher Degrees by Research - Academic Policy
  3. Refer to related policies, rules, plans and procedures.
  4. Refer to the University's English language proficiency requirements.
  5. Only a full-time study option is available to international students on a Student Visa.
Enrolment and fees
  1. Domestic candidates: Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents will be assessed for a Research Training Program Fee Offset Scholarship as part of the admission process. The RTP Fee Offset Scholarship may cover tuition fees for a period of up to 2 years for Masters candidates. Candidates who do not complete their degree within the 2 year period will be required to pay fees for any additional periods of enrolment. Please refer to Higher Degree by Research fees.
  2. International candidates: tuition fees apply. Refer to International HDR tuition fees.
  3. In any semester, full-time enrolment comprises 0.500 EFTSL.*
  4. In any semester, part-time enrolment comprises 0.250 EFTSL.*
  5. The census date for withdrawal without financial penalty or academic penalty is the Semester 1 or 2 census date.

* EFTSL - Equivalent Full-Time Student Load. One year of full-time study equates to 1.000 EFTSL.

Total units: 192

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