Use your subject

Urban Studies and Planning

Think about what 'using your subject' means to you and what you're really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it's a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

As a start, use the resources below to create your own list of career ideas to research.

Remember that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject.

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for Urban Studies and Planning graduates on Prospects but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start-ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject.

Some career options

Our information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start to explore the following occupational areas. However you are not restricted to these and you should also consider any other additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Commercial / residential surveyor

Is primarily involved in the purchase, sale and leasing of both private and public property and land, which can include its valuation and the drawing up of contacts. Negotiates on behalf of their client and produces detailed reports for the purpose of mortgage applications, rent reviews etc. Can also be involved in managing property portfolios and advising on proposed new developments.

If you don't hold an accredited degree in surveying, you are likely to need a postgraduate conversion course at Master's level to meet the academic requirements for most employers.

Use our Occupations section Property and real estate for more information and links to useful websites.

Community development worker

Brings people together often from 'disadvantaged' or marginalised groups in society. As a community development worker you will help communities to bring about social change and improve the quality of life in their local area. You have goals to help to empower individuals, families and whole communities to increase positive health or educational outcomes. You will show a genuine passion for assisting others and understanding causes and ways to tackle structural inequalities. You may be employed by charities or local authorities.

Relevant work experience eg through volunteering or a related area of work is essential in order to secure a career in this field.

Use our Occupations section Community, guidance and social care for more information and links to useful websites.

Estate agent

Specialises in sales or letting of residential or business properties, businesses or land. Agents value the property based on its condition and location, and market it to potential customers, negotiating deals to get the best price for their client.

They liaise with lenders, mortgage brokers, solicitors and other estate agencies, using strong negotiation and communication skills and the ability to secure sales.

Use our Occupations section Property and real estate for more information and links to useful websites.

Geographical information systems (GIS) analyst

Uses computerised systems for the collection, storage, analysis, of complex geographical information. GIS technology allows multiple forms of data eg river locations, population centres, to be overlaid on a map, converted to the same scales and then manipulated, so as to better understand their inter-relationship and implications of planned changes and new developments.

GIS officers work in government bodies and private companies. A postgraduate master's GIS qualification is desired by most employers for this career.

Use our Occupations sections Transport and Environment and conservation for more information and links to useful websites.

Housing manager / officer

Manages the provision of housing on behalf of housing associations, local councils, charities and private sector companies. This involves setting and managing the collection of rent, advising tenants on tenant-landlord relationships, and inspecting properties and arranging repairs.

They may specialise in housing for specific groups in the community such as the homeless, minority groups or people with disabilities. Some employers run graduate training schemes which lead to relevant professional housing qualifications.

Land / geomatic surveyor

Measures and collects data on areas of land such as information about boundaries, buildings and features, ahead of redevelopment.

Tasks can include the use of geographical information systems to analyse and interpret site features, produce surveys and provide detailed information to planners and developers. Most employers prefer an accredited surveying qualification.

Landscape architect

Plans and designs open spaces in natural and built environments, to provide aesthetically-pleasing areas that are also fit-for-purpose.

They work closely with other professionals, collaborating on a varied range of projects in both urban and rural settings, eg gardens, country parks, and housing developments through to city-centres and leisure/sports sites.

To become a landscape architect, you would need to take an accredited professional qualification typically completed via postgraduate study.

Planning and development surveyor

Devises and manages the strategies for development projects, for example new-build projects or the regeneration/redevelopment of a site.

Following initial assessments to judge the viability and impact of proposals, they advise clients on the different options and costs for potential developments and continue to be involved in the management of the project once it starts, liaising with other planning and construction professionals.

A relevant qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is required.

Regeneration officer

Develops projects to support business growth and develop the workforce as part of neighbourhood renewal. This can include collaborating with local communities and a network of agencies to deliver regeneration projects, and helping secure grants to support improvements in infrastructure.

You would use your communication skills to work with a variety of people to secure positive outcomes to projects.

Sustainability consultant

Uses knowledge of scientific and legal issues related to the environment to help organisations develop sustainable ways of operating. Most opportunities are in the construction and engineering sectors, working on urban regeneration schemes, residential development, transport infrastructure and industrial facilities.

A degree in geography, urban studies or planning can be the basis for entry into this area of work.

Town planner

Involved in the management of the built environment in order to balance the conflicting demands of housing, industry, farming, business development, the transport infrastructure and the needs of the local population. They aim to ensure sustainability of new developments and regeneration of towns and cities, alongside the preservation of the countryside and in light of climate change issues.

If you don't have a relevant planning degree, it's advantageous to study for an accredited Master's qualification.

Transport planner

Transport planners work on the implementation of traffic systems for road, rail and air, seeking to improve transport systems and bring about more efficient transport networks. They need to consider environmental, economic and social issues, taking account of government policies that address the need to deliver a modern transport infrastructure, reduce pollution and promote public transport or cycling.

A relevant postgraduate qualification is not essential but can add to your prospects if your degree does not include transport planning modules.

Urban designer

Develops ideas for the design of the environments people live and work in, ranging from entire towns to individual streets.

As well as creative design skills, you'll also need the ability to research and understand the physical and economic nature of a location and the needs of people using it. A specific urban design qualification is not always necessary if you have a related qualification and/or relevant design and software skills.