The two-year Master of Planning (MPlan) degree is a distinctive programme of course work and research, with a professional focus. The course is housed within the Department of Geography. The Programme Coordinator, a professionally qualified planner, and staff member of the Department of Geography, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Programme. Teaching input is provided by staff from Geography - and other departments (e.g. Law, Surveying) as well as by external practitioners in relevant fields. Case studies and hands-on involvement in real planning situations are important elements of the programme. There is regular input from practicing planning professionals working in regional and local government and private consultancies.
The objectives of the MPlan Programme are to provide an understanding and appreciation of:
Emphasis is placed on attracting candidates from a wide range of academic backgrounds - not only those with an arts or science Geography Degree. Other disciplines from which our students are drawn include political science, history, ecology, zoology, botany, law, Maori studies and commerce. This is because it is well recognised that a range of expert skills and knowledge systems needs to be brought together to address environmental and community planning issues.
To maintain close personal contact between staff and students, the two-year Masters course is offered as an intensive programme of teaching, project and research work with small class sizes. This allows for considerable discussion, interaction and small group work.
The two-year MPlan programme has a broad-based curriculum in view of the wide ranging knowledge and skills that planners require to be effective planning professionals. The structure of the course is designed to give students competence in core planning skills and the opportunity to specialise in areas in which they are particularly interested. These specialisms are usually related to the teaching and research interests of academic staff members at Otago, which include:
The MPlan programme at Otago is fully accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute. The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) is a professional body for planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners in New Zealand. Those enrolled in a course accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) are eligible for free NZPI Student membership.
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