Urban and Regional Planning MSc

Night view of the Clyde Arc & Science Centre tower

The MSc in Urban and Regional Planning promotes a thorough understanding of how cities and regions function. As a graduate, this will allow you to make a real and positive difference to the social, environmental and economic welfare of towns, cities and regions.

Programme structure

At its core, the programme aims to promote the social scientific understanding of cities.

You will be taught to understand:

  • the economic underpinnings of urban and regional development
  • the processes and institutions of urban governance
  • the relationships between places and urban society.

You will also learn to demonstrate the value of research-based urban analysis and understanding. In this process, you will improve your own research skills.

You will develop an understanding of cities, property markets, institutions and governance. This provides an essential foundation to effective action in the development and management of cities.

To promote effective work across professional boundaries, you will critically appreciate the roles of a range of urban professionals and other stakeholders.

You will understand the importance of research and reflection as a route to successful urban planning innovation.

Graduate attributes

This degree programme equips you for a wide range of opportunities by providing the knowledge and understanding to:

  • Critically identify cities as dynamic spaces in the local, national and global economic and political system
  • Evaluate the main theories about the uniqueness of cities, their development in time and space, and their particular assets from a social, economic, cultural and environmental perspective
  • Contrast and compare urban trends in different regions of the world, together with the drivers of these changes
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the current urban problems faced by different professions in urban planning and management; as well as city dwellers themselves
  • Evaluate environmental sustainability as a concept, with particular reference to the demands and pressures cities place on the natural environment in different regions
  • Assess the underpinnings of urban planning theory and how it has shaped urban interventions
  • Critique the roles and  functions of planning in cities areas with a view to shaping urban change
  • Compare the rationale for, and assess the effectiveness of, different forms of partnership between the public, private and voluntary sectors in implementing urban development and regeneration, and understand the political variations in the urban development processes in different countries.
  • Evaluate the relationship between market processes, built form, private and public realm, different development models and patterns of movement
  • Assess the economic and financial implications of alternative development strategies and evaluate how best to create high quality places and generate and capture added value for both particular interests and the wider community.


The Programme is taken over two years of full-time study and includes required courses offered by both universities. 

Nankai University courses may include:

  • Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • Intermediate Econometrics
  • Regional Economics
  • Urban Economics
  • Regional Economic Issues in China
  • English Language training.

University of Glasgow courses may include:

  • Global Cities
  • City Planning Theory and Practice
  • Urban Design and Development
  • Real Estate Institutions and Markets
  • Research Methods.

You  will also be required to submit a dissertation in both languages. 

Career prospects

Graduates will find that opportunities exist in planning and development agencies, consultancies, property developers, local and regional authorities, regeneration and development agencies and government; and further study at PhD level. 

Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow

Academic faculty in Urban Studies are leaders in their fields, and their research quality is amongst the best in the UK. Expertise spans social, economic and physical change in cities, and it uses multi-level approaches to understand the relationships between: housing, labour markets, systems of governance, health, crime, education, real estate, planning and the environment. 

English language requirements




Overall score of 6.5, with no sub-test less than 6.0 in each band.




Overall score of 90


Sub-tests no less than:

Reading 20

Listening 19

Speaking 19

Writing 23

How to apply

To apply as a student of Chinese Nationality:

  • Students register online for the China National Postgraduate Entrance Examination and select their desired JGS MSc programme.
  • Students sit the National Entrance Exam
  • Once the results are released, students are selected for joint interviews by Nankai University and the University of Glasgow. Students must fulfil the requirements for both universities.

To apply as a student of non Chinese Nationality:

Please apply through the International Office of Nankai University, which can be contacted at:

Tel: +86 22 2350 8825

Email: studyinnankai@nankai.edu.cn


Session dates

  • Autumn semester: 13/09/2021 - 23/01/2022
  • Winter break: 24/01/2022 - 20/02/2022
  • Spring semester:26/02/2022 - 03/07/2022
  • Summer break: 04/07/2022 - 28/08/2022


Dr. Phillip O'Brien - UofG Programme Convenor

headshotDr. Philip O'Brien is a Lecturer in Real Estate and Housing Economics in Urban Studies, at the University of Glasgow, as well as being a Co-Investigator in the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence.  He was previously a Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, where he was awarded a PhD.

Phil’s research focuses primarily on the land and property development process and the relationship between state and market within this, including issues such as land value capture and the role of planning in stimulating market-led development.  He has conducted funded research in these areas for the RICS and the RTPI.  Phil is also interested in institutionalist theory in planning and has recently published on the role of planning images in institutional change.


Professor Duncan MacLennan - Global Cities

Duncan Maclennan CBE FRSE FAcSS FRSA RTPI(Hon) CIH(Hon) RICS(Hon)

Duncan Maclennan is an applied economist who is a member of the National Academy for Scotland (the RSE)  and has an established, international research and publication record on issues related to housing, infrastructure, neighbourhoods, cities and regions. He is presently Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow and Professor of Strategic Urban Management and Finance at the University of St Andrews, as well as holding a visiting Chair in Urban Economics at City Futures, UNSW, Sydney. He was a senior Professor in urban studies at the University of Glasgow from 1984-2003 and founding Director of the Centre for Housing and Urban Research at the University of Glasgow (that evolved into the Department of Urban Studies). He has previously held visiting chairs in the Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania), in the Department of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and at RMIT (Melbourne). His recent academic publications have been concerned with UK city deals, the role of housing wealth in Piketty’s evidence and models, the impact of housing outcomes on growth and productivity and the evolution of the Chinese housing system since the early 1990’s and the role of public housing transfers in transforming the UK social housing sector. He is currently, as the UK ESRC’s Knowledge Leader on City Deals, writing about ‘metropolitan federalism’ and has just completed a major project for the greater Sydney Commission on productivity effects of housing outcomes.

 Duncan also has considerable experience working as an economist within government, as Special Adviser to the First Minister of Scotland from 1999-2002, as a Chief Economist and Deputy Secretary for Policy and Strategy in the Government of Victoria (2002-4), and then as Chief Economist in the Federal Department for Infrastructure and Cities in Ottawa (2005-9). He has acted as an Adviser to the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada (2004) on cities, advised the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in New Zealand on housing issues (2008, 2009) and served on the Australian Prime Minister’s Expert Advisory Panel on the Future Planning of Australian Cities (2010-12). He was Economic Adviser to the Urban Affairs Group at OECD from 1981-96. He has also advised the World Bank and the EU. He is currently a member of the Glasgow Economic Commission and the Northern (English) Housing Commission. His longstanding role in UK policy debates and advising governments is reflected in his being awarded Honorary memberships of the RTPI, the CIH and the RICS and having been made a CBE in 1997. 


Professor Rebecca Madgin – Urban Design & Development

Professor Rebecca Madgin re-joined the Department of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow in January 2014 following positions at the University of East London, the British School at Rome and the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester. She did her undergraduate degree at the University of Lancaster.

Her current research explores the relationships between the economic and emotional values of heritage and their role in urban redevelopment since 1945. She is also interested in the ways in which cities manage their industrial legacy, both in terms of land-use planning and the socio-economic consequences of deindustrialisation. Her work focuses on the extent to which the urban past informs the future development of the city. She is actively involved with a number of planning and heritage organisations and is writing a report for the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust on the economic value of its world heritage site.

Professor Madgin has academic links with Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou Urbanology Centre and Zhejiang Provincial Government concerning the management of heritage in Zhejiang Province. 

Key publications

Dr. John Carnie - City planning theory and practice

head shot for JohnPrior to joining the University of Glasgow, Dr. John Carnie was a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University for 3 years and led the MSc Spatial Planning programme. Before that he was a lecturer at University of Aberdeen for 4 years and was Programme Director for the Master of Land Economy as well as teaching planning and human geography.  John held a number of roles in planning consultancy and local government before working in higher education, including as head of planning for Bidwells in Scotland.

Dr Amin Kamete – City Planning Theory & Practice

Amin KameteAmin Kamete is a Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning in the Department of Urban Studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences. His research interests are in planning theory and practice with a particular emphasis on governmentality, cities, space and power in the context of development planning, development management and planning enforcement practice vis-à-vis informality, marginality, (in)security and sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before coming to Glasgow, he was a lecturer in planning in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography at Bangor University. A chartered town planner, he did his undergraduate degree at the University of Zimbabwe. Thereafter, he joined the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden as Research Programme Co-ordinator. He is Programme Director for the following four MSc programmes at the University of Glasgow: City and Regional Planning; City Planning and Real Estate Development; City Planning and Regeneration; and International Planning Studies.

Key publications

Dr Jihong Ding – Intermediate Macroeconomics

Jihong DingJihong Ding gained her  M.A. in Economics at Nankai University in 1991 and thereafter studied at the State University of New York at Buffalo, USA, where she gained an M.A. in Economics, an MSc in Computer Science, and a PhD in Economics. She has been an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at Nankai since 2003. She worked as a research scientist with Cymfony Inc in the USA from 2001-03 and has a Graduate Assistant at the State University of New York at Buffalo 1997-2001.

Current research interests include Health Economics, Economic Growth and Development, and Social Insurance.

Key publications

  • Ding, J., Ying and Du, Research on consumer behavior of Chinese rural household,Financial Research, Vol 10, 2013 , p.154-166
  • Ding, J. and Y. Nian, Analysis of the relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution, Nankai Economic Research, Vol. 2, 2010, p.64-79
  • Ding, J. and M. Zhu, A Theoretical Investigation of the Reformed Public Health Insurance in Urban China, Frontiers of Economics in China, 4(1): 1-29, 2009

Dr Chunyuan Huang – Intermediate Microeconomics

Chunyuan HuangChunyuan Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Economics and Trade in the College of Economics at Nankai University. She did both her B.A. and PhD in Economics at Nankai University.

From August 2012-13, she was a Senior Visiting Scholar of Seoul National University, and from January to December in 2014, she taught three economics courses in English at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she was the first global Senior Scholar of the Confucius China Study Plan, organized by China Confucius Institute Headquarters.

Her research is focused on the World Economy, International Trade, Regional Economic Integration, and the Chinese Economy. In 2012, she was awarded first prize in the University Teachers’ Teaching Contest of Tianjin. She was a twice-weekly commentator from 2012-13 on the Korean economy for China Central Television.

Key publications

Translation works:

  • Chunyuan Huang. (2011). International economics (Steven Husted, Michael Melvin 8th Edition), China Machine Press

Journal Papers:

  • Gang Gong, Chunyuan Huang, Qiancheng Zhang, Weitao Chen, Liangliang Zhao. (2013). From technological introduction to independent R&D, the growth mode of Chinese economy in the new era, Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5. 2013(10).
  • Chunyuan Huang, Zhenmei Chen. (2013). The political economic motivation of US to return Asia Pacific in the process of East-Asia regional economic cooperation, Korea-China Social Science Study. Vol. 4. 

Dr Zhi-Qiang Zhang – Urban Economics

Zhiqiang ZhangZhang Zhi-Qiang has been an Assistant Professor in the School of Economics at Nankai University since 2010. He gained his PhD in Economics at Nankai in 2009, having done a B.A. in Business Administration and a Masters in Regional Economics at the Inner Mongolia University.

His research interests are in Agglomeration Economics and Urban Spatial Structure; New Economic Geography; and the Theory and Application of Spatial Econometrics. He is the Principal Investigator in a number of research projects, including: “Financial Development, Research and Development and the Development of New Emerging Industry of Tianjin”; Agglomeration Economics and the Optimisation of Spatial Structure of the Urban System of China.

Key publications

  • The Scheme of Spatial Weight and the Efficiency of Spatial Econometrics Estimators - from Macro and Micro Data Perspective, Journal of Quantitative and Technical Economics, 2014,6, (forthcoming) (in Chinese) (CSSCI)
  • Financial Development, R&D and the Materialization of Regional Productivity, Journal of Economic Review, 2012,3 (In Chinese) (CSSCI)
  • Agglomeration and Chinese Urban Economic Growth - Empirical Test Based on Dynamic Panel Data, Social Science of Nanjing, 2010.10, (in Chinese) (CSSCI)

Dr Yue Li – Chinese Regional Economic Problems

Yue LiYue Li has been an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at Nankai University and Director of the Taiwan Research Association in Tianjin since 2009. Her specific research interests are the “Growth and Development Economics” and “Taiwan Economics, Cross-Strait Economic Co-operation”.

Dr Li completed her B.A., Masters and PhD in Economics at Nankai University; she was a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley in California from August 2012 to September 2013 and was an exchange students from March 2007 to March 2008 at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Key publications

  • Empirical Study on Taiwan's Escaping the Middle-Income Trap and Its Experience Reference for Chinese Mainland, Taiwan Studies, 2014(5).
  • Middle-income Trap, Structural Transformation Ability and Government Macroeconomics Effect, The Journal of World Economy, 2013(1).

Dr Hongmei Zhao – Intermediate Econometrics

Hongmei ZhaoHongmei Zhao is a member of the Institute of Statistics and Econometrics in Nankai University’s School of Economics. She gained her PhD in Economics – on “The Effect of Productivity on Inflation and Unemployment” – at University College Dublin in 2004 and her B.A. in International Economics from Hebei University in Baoding City, China.

Dr Zhao was a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Economics at University College Dublin and has been an Associate Professor at Nankai since 2005. Her research focus has been on “the application of structural VAR model in the study of GDP growth rate in China”; forecasting China’s vehicle stock and the relationship between economic variables and vehicle sales.

Key publications

  • Measuring the NAIRU — A structural VAR approach, Frontiers of Economics in China, first author,Volume 6, issue 1 (2011) P76-91.
  • The Medium and Long Term Forecast of China’s Vehicle Stock per 1000 Person Based on the Gompertz Model, Journal of Industrial technological Economics, first author, issue 225 (2012) P7-24.
  • The Study of Influencing Factors for the Demand of Property Insurance in China -- Based on the Regional-weighted And Time-weighted Panel Data, Insurance Studies, first author, issue 298 (Feb, 2013) P38 – 45.

Dr Xuelian Gao – Regional Economics

Xuelian GaoXuelian Gao is an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at Nankai University, where she gained her PhD in 2004. She graduated with an M.A. in Regional Economics at Zhenzhou University in 2001.

Her research is focused on Regional Economics and Public Economics and Politics. She is currently Principal Investigator on a research project examining “How to cultivate the public environment of new-emerging industrial clusters” and a “Study on the infrastructure and public services in Chinese co-ordinative urban-rural development”. She has been teaching the Masters-level course “Real Estate Economics” since 2008. From 2013-14 she was a Visiting Scholar at Aichi University of Japan.

Key publications

  • Xuelian Gao. (2007). The form and development of spatial industrial configuration in Metropolis, Economic Science Press,
  • Xuelian Gao and Bo Zhou. (2009). Policy Evaluation., Standards Press of China