Geography and Urban Studies

Heriot-Watt is one of the leading UK providers of education in the fields of property development and management, spatial and town planning, housing, regeneration and urban design. We are ranked 9th in the UK for Town and Country Planning and Landscape Design in the Complete University Guide 2022. 

View all Geography and Urban Studies courses

The challenge faced by built environment professionals today is to build more sustainable communities through development that integrates economic, social and environmental goals.

Our degrees equip students with the specialist knowledge and skills needed to help create these communities and to deliver better places and spaces in which to live, work, rest and play. Our professional links with industry and government ensure that our teaching is relevant and grounded in the real world, and the cross-disciplinary learning style we use helps to build the mutual understanding between professions that graduates require for a successful career.


The Urban Planning and Property Development degree is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). 

Industry networks

External speakers give guest lectures and presentations. Students also hear from and interact with industry professionals during the various field trip opportunities.

In year 3, all students take part in a professional mentoring scheme that matches them with local practitioners. Students have the opportunity to discuss careers, job prospects, internships and professional membership.

Teaching and assessment

Learning methods include:

  • directed reading
  • lectures and seminars
  • small group tutorials
  • group projects with written, graphic and oral work
  • field trips, including one to Europe.

Guest practitioners contribute to teaching. Assessment is a mix of projects, essays and exams. Students in their final year will produce a research dissertation.

Graduate destinations

Graduates from our Urban Planning and Property Development course have gone on to successful careers in the public and private sectors at national and international levels. 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. Whether your future lies in the private, public or voluntary sectors of planning, in property consultancy or in the land and property development industry, our planning course will help get you there.

Our geography degrees are fairly new, so information about graduate destinations is limited. Some recent graduates have gone into transport planning and environmental consultancy, while others have gone onto further study in Geographic Information System (GIS), public policy and sustainability. As our degrees cover a variety of human and physical geography topics, our students become flexible and creative graduates, able to apply their skills and knowledge to a range of careers.

Key information

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