Urban and Regional Planning is what you would also call Town Planning. It is a course of study which is involved with the physical ordering of land uses, natural resources and infrastructure. All of which is aimed at creating an aesthetic, safe and convenient environment for living.
It is an interesting course to study, so I urge you to enrol for it in when registering for Jamb.
Urban and Regional Planning is very broad in itself as there many specialisations such as urban design, rural planning, landscaping, transportation planning, urban law all of which you can study after obtaining your degree or diploma in Urban and Regional Planning.
It is important to note that this course is actually a professional course. How is it a professional course? Well they actually have 2 registered professional bodies which I will discuss later in this article.
In this article we are going to look at a number of things you need to know in relation to Urban and Regional as a course of study and why it is relevant in Nigeria.
Why You Should Study Urban and Regional Planning
There are reasons why it is important to venture into studying this course. This course seems new to most as they have not heard of it before while some are aware that universities and polytechnics in Nigeria offer this course. Well, the competition for admission into the department of URP is low not because it is not relevant but because a high standard is set for you to gain admission.
Nevertheless, if you meet the admission requirements, you will easily be admitted. It is an interesting course to study I must say, you will definitely learn a lot about interpersonal communication skills as planning a neighborhood is not done in isolation.
You will gain technical knowledge on how to manage people, capital, land and its resources. Also, you will learn about how to approve architectural building plans, how to design different types of plans, how to control physical development on land, how to read a map and know the planning hierarchies from the Federal, States, down to the local level as planning is both technical and political.
Basic Requirements for Admission
Urban and Regional Planning as a course is offered in Universities of Technology or Polytechnics in Nigeria. So you can’t study it in any regular University or College of Education. It should be noted that Urban and Regional Planning is a science course.
This means that in your WAEC or NECO certificate you must have a minimum of five credits in English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Geography but there are some exceptions as some polytechnics will accept a subject combination of five credits in Mathematics, English Language, Geography, Physics or Chemistry and Economics.
Is Urban and Regional Planning a Professional Course?
The answer is yes, it is indeed a professional course and as far as I know, it is actually the only professional course you can study in environmental science. There are currently two registered bodies who train and retrain professional Urban and Regional Planners.
These bodies are the National Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and the Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC). Both of which are responsible for training students to become registered Urban Regional Planning practitioners in Nigeria and a given a seal as a proof of being registered. When you are registered, you will be enlisted and inducted into the body as a registered member.
What can you do with a degree or diploma in URP?
Well, there are tons of option to choose from if you wish to practise as a town planner. You can work and specialize in any one of the following;
Main Jobs that are directly related to this degree include;
Local Government Officer
Conservation Officer-Historic Building Inspector
Other jobs where URP degree is useful
Civil Service Administrator
Community Development Worker
Places where you can work in the public sector include
Ministry of Works and Housing
Ministry of Transport
Government Federal and State Development Control
Local Government Planning Authorities
Places where you can work in the private sector include;
Neighborhood Planning Organisations
Large Retail Businesses
How do you gain working experience while studying?
Gaining working experience is an essential part of studying URP. This gives a sense of how a town planner dispatch his or her duties in the real world. Well, thankfully there is Industrial training for both University of Technology and Polytechnic Students. Meanwhile, polytechnic students spend more time in gaining industrial experience than university students. Let me explain how.
Urban and Regional Planning students spend five years in school studying this course. A student from any university of Technology spend roughly 6 months of industrial training in any private or public town planning organisation while a polytechnic student spend 4 months of industrial training during his Ordinary National Diploma Programme and 1 year before enrolling for his Higher National Diploma Programme, making it roughly 1 year and 6 months for a polytechnic student studying Urban and Regional Planning.
How much money do Urban and Regional Planners Make?
Well, in some countries like the United States, Urban Planners in the public sector usually make of $116, 280 a year but if you are working privately you are likely to earn way higher than that in the United States especially if you into designing of city plans.
In Nigeria on the order hand, urban planners monthly salary for a start is N80,000- N120,000 depending on your qualification. In addition to your salary, you can earn much more when you go out for field work as field work pays even more higher than your basic salary especially if you are to design a city or neighborhood plan within a district or places like Abuja, Lagos and Portharcourt.
I personally hope this article has helped you in your research as regards some of the relevant courses to study in Nigeria.
In my next article, we are going to look at the job of Urban and Regional Planners and their work environment. So stay tuned to Tropics Nigeria.