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University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

The planning programme at the University of Witwatersrand 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 planning programme is forging a strong network of links with other institutions in Africa and internationally and a number of collaborative initiatives are underway. It is engaging 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.

The Department at Wits have a broad understanding of the nature and role of planning and, apart from the undergraduate programme in Urban and Regional Planning, offer postgraduate programmes in Development Planning, and in Housing. Programmes are regularly restructured in response to the changing nature of planning in South Africa and internationally. The undergraduate degree programme in urban and regional planning offers specialisms in urban design and housing, whilst the postgraduate development planning programme includes a variety of options.

Planning at Wits is designed to provide learners with the practical and theoretical knowledge, and the moral sensitivities, required by professional planners working within a complex changing world. The programme focuses on developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities so that graduates can respond to the changing demands of planning practice throughout their careers.

Students enjoy a combination of studio- and lecture -based learning, coupled with field trips and site visits which give them real-life experience in planning practice. Students also spend time in offices learning about the work of planners.

Planning offers an exciting career and is the right choice for those who wish to make a meaningful contribution to our society, and who wish for personal fulfilment in their working lives. Our graduates have varied and rewarding career opportunities.

List of SACPLAN accredited planning qualifications currently being offered:

Qualification SACPLAN Registration Category Notes
Bachelor of Science Honours in Urban and Regional Planning
(BSc Hons (URP))
Professional Planner Must have completed the BSc (URP)
Bachelor of Science in Town and Regional
Professional Planner Discontinued
Master of Science in Development Planning
(MSc (DP)) (SAQA Qualification ID – 9937)
Professional Planner Two year Master’s degree
Master of Science in Development Planning
(MSc DP) (SAQA Qualification ID 9937)
Professional Planner Duration One year.
Candidate must have completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Planning (SAQA Qualification ID 96533 – 150 SAQA credits) that feeds into the MSc DP (SAQA Qualification ID 9937)