Transcript for the video: Postgraduate Planning

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (00:05):

Hi, everyone, welcome to the session. We’re going to wait a couple of minutes for everyone to be able to join.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (01:42):

I’m going to start the webinar now. Thank you all very much for attending tonight’s event, this postgraduate Q&A webinar. We are going to be recording this session, so please be mindful that this session will now be recorded. And we will only record audio and screenshare. We will not be recording any video input from you. Any further information that you provide during this session is optional, and will be captured by UTS for teaching and learning purposes for staff involved to share questions and responses that may be important with a broader community and to build an online text catalog of questions and answers for the benefit of other prospective students.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (02:30):

By taking part in this session, you understand and acknowledge that your information will be used for the purposes detailed above. Further to these, the recording of this session may be published online in addition to an online test catalog of questions and answers. In being involved, you are consenting to the recording being publicly available. You may withdraw your consent for these at any time by contacting the contact below. If you do not wish to be involved and be recorded as part of this webinar, you may contact UTS at instead to discuss the any questions you may have. And welcome to this session. My name is Gabriela Quintana and I’m the course director of the planning programs.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (03:31):

So I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands, our City Campus now stands. I would also like to pay respect to the elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land. If you have any questions, please type them at the Q&A box at the bottom of your screen. And an appropriate staff member in our team will then answer your question which it will be me in this case. So we’re going to start by getting to know you a little bit better and all the answers that you submit today, we’re going to share them for a matter of transparency. So the first poll that we’re going to launch is to understand what is your journey in your study path? So please select the answer that suits better your situation.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (05:22):

Great, thank you very much for participating in this poll. As you can see, most of you are interested in the Master of Planning. And some of you are interested in the Graduate Certificate and one of you in the Master of Property Development and Planning. And that’s great, I’m going to be discussing all these options shortly.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (05:45):

So, these are the three main degrees that comprise the planning problems. And that’s what I’m going to be discussing today. So what is the background of our degree? Both the Master of Planning and the Graduate Certificate, and then the joint degree with the Property Development course. So the Master of Planning, we have a comprehensive approach to planning, we go beyond just going to understand development applications and development assessments. And we understand that planning is involved, and there are a lot of elements involved in planning decisions. So in our course, we take a look at sustainability measures of property development, at market and economics, we do a little bit of strategic planning, we do master planning. So we have a holistic understanding of what being an urban planner entails, and all the different aspects for you to be able to then, develop your professional career in the element of planning that you prefer.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (06:53):

In this case, we really provide an understanding and an in depth understanding of the relevance of the context. So planning is not done in isolation, we need to really understand what are the different governmental aspects related to this and the different levels of governments and the different tiers and how the decision making is done at these three different levels. We need to understand the different policies, the market and how it’s moving and definitely COVID. And last year, has taught us a lot about how to do predictions and analysis and how to adjust to the different pressures and shocks that we experience. We also understand the different social dynamics that are embedded into the planning discipline, and that we need to consider when planning for cities and planning for communities.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (07:47):

And, obviously, we also need to be aware of the different environmental aspects and climate concerns that we are experiencing at the moment, and that they’re not going to go away anytime soon. Another characteristic of our course, is that we have a very close link with industry. So, our course is not, we don’t only have different guest speakers from industry, but it was developed in collaboration with industry members. So we have industry advisory groups that guide us in what is required for planners in industry nowadays. And that is why our employability rate is one of the highest in the country.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (08:38):

And as I was telling you before, looking at all the relationship and the interaction that we have with property development, we develop this joint degree that is a two year degree, that is the Master of Property Development, and Planning. If you want a lot more detailed information about our programs, please go to these links. These things are going to be shared by our marketing team and you can always Google UTS handbook Graduate Certificate in Planning or UTS handbook Master of Planning and the same with Property Development. And there you’re going to find all the information about the course structure, about the suggested study path, that we highly recommend that you follow the suggested study path. The admission requirements, depending on your different backgrounds, also the different problem description and aims and the different objectives of the course and the different subjects that we teach in the program.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (09:46):

We start talking a little bit about the admission requirements. For the Grad Certificate in Planning, if you have a bachelor degree, that’s basically all we require or you can also enter the Graduate Certificate with relevant work experience. And relevant work experience is employment that relates to urban planning. And for the Master of Planning, or the Master of Property Development and Planning, we require a bachelor degree in one of the following disciplines, that are architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and Regional Planning, and all the others that you have in the screen. But as I was telling you before, in the website, you’re going to have all the different admission requirements for these masters also be mindful that the Graduate Certificate is a pathway into the masters.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (10:42):

So, if you don’t have a bachelor degree, in one of these different disciplines, you can always enroll into the Graduate Certificate and from there, you can transfer into the master program. And depending on your work experience, you could be into the Master of Planning or the joint degree Master of Property Development and Planning that provides you this broader understanding of the environment. So I was just reading one of the questions. Is there a maximum years limit for relevant work experience? No, there is no maximum. If you have 20 years experience, well, we welcome you and it will be great to have you on board. And it’s the same if you have five years experience.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (11:34):

So, to continue, we have government funding, supporting the Master of Planning. So we have five Commonwealth supported places for the Master of Planning for domestic students. So it is a competitive approach and is based on previous studies and your GPA. Once you apply and applications for the spring 2021 session closed on the 27th of June. Once you apply, all applications are assessed, and then based on your GPA, you’re going to get the offer with the CSP place or you’re going to get first, the full offer, the full fee paying offer and later it can be transformed into the CSP place. These don’t apply for the Master of Property Development and Planning, but it does for the Master of Planning.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (12:37):

This year we have an exception with the Graduate Certificate. We also have government funding and CSP places for the Graduate Certificate in Planning with the only thing is that you have to do the full Graduate Certificate during the spring session. So you have to take the four subjects in this session. So what are the usual career paths? And what is our accreditation? So we are accredited, the Master of Planning is accredited by the planning Institute of Australia. That allows you to then enroll into and register into the Planning Institute and get all the benefits that you can get from that institution, including different job ads and networking events that are very, very useful.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (13:35):

And also you can register as a planner and be a registered planner. And that provides further advantages when applying for planning jobs. And with regards to the career path, we always have this mindset that planning and planners you should work in councils, but planning goes a lot beyond that. So a lot farther than that. With planning you can definitely go work in government, in [LG 00:14:04], in councils, but generally also work in state government and in federal government. And also you can work as a consultant in the private section. And there are different consulting firms such as Erbis and AECOM that are quite recognized worldwide.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (14:26):

So, how is the course is structured? And how is the experience of studying in the Master of Planning, the Master of Property Development and Planning or the Graduate Certificate? The three programs, they share that we are structured in blocks. What does that mean? We don’t have sessions every week so if you work full time, you don’t have to ask your employer to let you go off work once a week or twice a week to take your subjects. With this, we have our subjects structured in two blocks, or three blocks of two full days. For example, one subject that we have next week, that is urban design, is Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 6pm all day, with different interactive sessions. We’re delivering our subjects from next semester onwards in a blend mode approach, which means we’re going to have some face to face sessions, and we’re going to have some of the lectures online.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (15:34):

And the face to face sessions are going to be interactive sessions. But all of this is going to happen during the blocks that are allocated per subject. There are some subjects that we share with Property Development. And that applies to the Master of Planning to the Graduate Certificate, there are three subjects that we share with the other program. And that allows for interaction with this other discipline. And we also have the joint degree in which you’re going to have all the core subjects of planning and the core subjects of Property Development, which enhances your knowledge on the field and makes you in the end a better trainer and a better property developer.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (16:18):

And, as I was mentioning before, part of the experience of studying at UTS and the Master of Planning or the Property Development and Planning, is all the industry connections that we have, both in the online environment and the face to face environment. We have a lot of guest speakers from different government and entities and private companies that are current in their practice And we invite people from different levels. People that are recently graduates sharing their experiences as we invite to our sessions, directors of different companies. So you can get that industry experience of what is currently happening in the professional practice. At the same time, all of our assignments, and all of our subjects are focused on professional experience.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (17:18):

And in that sense, you’re always going to have a real life case study to work on and developing your skills. Even the subject planning theory and decision making that is mostly about theory, it has a practice component. Because it’s really focusing on how theory shapes practice. So the main focus of the subject is that professional practice of ours. So to talk a little bit more about the experience of studying at UTS, we’re going to hear now from Peter Yang, he is a current student of the Master of Property Development and Planning, and he just graduated first from the Master of Property Development and wanting to enhance his studies into the planning field. So, Peter, welcome. Thank you Peter for coming and please go ahead and share your experiences as a student, well undergraduate from UTS.

Peter Yang (18:20):

Hi Gabby and Jess and everyone, thank you for having me. As Gabby has mentioned, I have undertaken my bachelor degree in building or in construction management as my major. And I have subsequently undertaken in my post grad around probably about 10 years following my bachelor degree, following I’ve got a little bit of industry experience in the field I was interested in. Now in Property Development, I was nurtured a bit more on the property industry. And as I progress in the development, a variety of interesting experiences has sort of opened up to my interest. I further my education in postgrad of Property Planning.

Peter Yang (19:22):

Now, this is quite a journey. So I’ve been undertaking Property Planning now for my third year. And like what Gabby was describing it is a block study, which is flexible for postgrad students and myself being a full time manager in a full time position, it is very good. Very manageable in terms of work, and also the time management of working as well as generally in, the running of a family. I’m sure some of you are sort of in that category. Now, in the studies that I have experienced in the Master of Planning, and or Property Development, I found this course is very interactive. There’s plenty of opportunities for Q&A, especially, and just regurgitating what Gabby was saying, the lectures were all professionals in the property industry. The cases that are all real time, real projects and that’s fascinating, it is.

Peter Yang (20:50):

Everywhere I go, I run into projects that we have either talked about or some other students, classmates, colleagues that are currently working on it’s fascinating. Because of the sheer experience, there’s a magnitude of viewpoints as a postgrad student of different industries or different professions. Some of you may be architects, surveyors, property developers, valuers, builders, they are all facets of life who are just genuinely interested in planning. So everyone’s views will be appreciated and thought of and this is really critical for my part of learning. Now for me, the course and the material, like I said, it is in real time, that’s very important to me. It promotes critical thinking, for my professional experience and in the postgrad, we have the opportunity of reflection, every time after the classes.

Peter Yang (22:11):

So that’s, really important for me to reflect back what has been discussed in the class and after the class in aspects of the studies. So in the planning itself, it enhances my knowledge in what we would generalize in the five W’s, which I think this is one of the big pluses on what we are doing in planning. When, how, why and where, this is really terrific, sort of reflecting on how the industry is progressing, how we could contribute, how we can make things better. So I think if you’re interested in the studying postgrad, planning is definitely a great choice. And don’t think too much. Just do it.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (23:22):

Thank you very much, Peter, for sharing your experience and encouraging the potential students to become actual students of our program. Thank you very much.

Peter Yang (23:31):

You’re welcome.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (23:33):

So, to continue, we’re going to launch a second poll. And it’s final, we’re not going to continue bothering you too much. And in this second poll, after the poll, I’m going to answer the second question that we have there in the Q&A. We’re going to ask you, what style of learning is your preferred learning styles. So if you could please answer the poll, so we get a better understanding of what you are expecting.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (24:20):

Right. Thank you very much. As you can see, in the results, there are between hybrid learning and face to face learning, which is actually quite good. Because as I was mentioning before, we from next semester onwards, obviously, if restrictions and New South Wales Health allows, we’re going to start coming back to campus, and we’re going to start having a blended approach to our subjects, delivering all the lectures and all the things that you can do at home, at your own time, to watch them and really go through the different materials that you’re provided. And then we can have some discussions on that material, and then have all of the interactive classes and some panels with industry members, we’re going to have all of these face to face in the classroom.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (25:23):

We were ready to tell you that we are also having an alternative option. That is, with online learning, we’re going to be launching two fully online masters, one in urban design, and one in the master of urban planning, but a slightly different version. But as all of you prefer the face to face, or the hybrid learning, I’m just going to just leave it like that. And thank you very much for attending this, and I’m going to start answering the questions that we have in the Q&A. So we have a first question about the real life examples. And if they are mostly Australians, or if there’s an international aspect to the degree? Yes, definitely we have an international aspect to the degrees.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (26:21):

I cannot say that all subjects because obviously all subjects are different. And for example, we have a subject that is planning on environmental law that focuses on New South Wales law and we cannot really discuss any… Other international examples wouldn’t be that relevant. But in most of our subjects, we do bring international case studies for you to compare and to know what is happening out there in the world, because planning is a global disciplines. And we’re not only creating planners to be able to practice you’re in Australia, we are providing you with the knowledge to be able to work anywhere in the world. So yes, we definitely have these aspects.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (27:10):

And it’s not just about best practice, because we also show some other practices that are not that great and happen internationally, but yes. And we don’t develop projects internationally, but we do some analysis on international case studies. How many days a semester are in person? We are thinking to do between 40 and 50%, face to face, and between 60 and 50% online. So it would mean that if one subject has four full days, so two blocks of two days, two will be in campus, and two days will be online. And definitely, yes, it is possible to do the program in the distance and to come in for the, for instance, for the days that you have to be in person. Yeah, actually that’s what we were expecting. If we’re having half and half, we’re expecting for you to be there only the days that we are doing face to face sessions.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (28:33):

So is the Commonwealth placement option, a part of the normal administration process? So yes, it is offered to all of the students. So it’s not that you have to click on it, you just have to apply. And after you apply, and we assess all the applications, you’re going to be offered a place, sorry, you’re going to be offered a place in the Master of Planning, in this case, or the Graduate Certificate in Planning, if you’re applying for that one. And after you’re being, you’re going to be offered a full fee paying place. However, after we have all the applications we have about a week to assess all of them. And then we offer the different Commonwealth placement options. So unfortunately, we cannot give it to everyone, but we do assess all the applications without you needing to apply for it specifically.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (29:42):

I will go to the Urban Design Masters shortly. But before that one, I’m going to answer the other one. So, “I have a full time job, how many courses should I take?” So we advise for people having full time jobs to enroll part time, which is two subjects a semester. And what subjects, it depends on when you enroll and the sequence that we suggest in the handbook that I was mentioning before. And how long will it take? It will take double the time, because it’s only half the subjects or semesters. So if you’re doing the Graduate Certificate instead, if you do it full time it is one semester, if you do it part time, it is one year. If you do the Master of Planning, if you do it full time, it’s one and a half years, if you do it part time, it is three years. If you do the Master of Property Development and Planning, if you do it full time is two years, if you do it part time is four years.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (30:47):

“So how long my PTE score is valid?” We don’t consider PTE test scores. So you just have to apply with your bachelor degree and we start assessing that. With the Urban Design Masters. So the Urban Design Masters is a new offering that we’re going to launch and applications are going to be open from the third of June. And it’s a fully online Master’s, is master that is 15 subjects and the online environment, the UTS online environment is quite different from the face to face. For example, in [inaudible 00:31:31] we have six sessions a year, and each session is about seven weeks. And the idea is for students to take one subject a session.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (31:43):

So, students will be taking six subjects a year if you do all the subjects that are recommended. For more information about that master, please go to our website from the 3rd of June, that is going to be live. And you can always contact the support team that is, an email that is I’m going to copy that in the chat. Give me a sec.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (32:31):

So yes. So it’s going to be launched after the 3rd of June. So be attentive to that, or you can email me and I can provide more information on the Master of Urban Design. Do you guys have any other questions? More than happy to answer any other questions you guys have. Right now in the webinar, we still have another 10 minutes. Or if you want to use the chat, please feel free to do so too. Okay, apart from the tuition fees mentioned in the website of the course, what all other costs will incur? So usually we don’t have exams, so no exam fees. We have all the books and texts available through the UTS library. And the only costs that you may concur would be field trips in Sydney.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (33:36):

So usually, there are several subjects that we do field trips, and you will only have to pay the cost of public transport to get to that field trip or if you want to drive and want to pay for parking that is also going to be on your top. But basically, those are all the fees that you have to pay for the course. I know that UTS also have some amenity fees, but I think they are not that significant, so. This is a master without a thesis, so this is a master by coursework, is not a master’s by research. However, in both master’s of the Property Development and planning and in the Master of Planning, we have one research seminar in which you have to develop a small research project, because it is important for planners to understand how research informs practice to. And understand how to get to know what problems we have to analyze those problems and to provide creative solutions from it and to understand what other people have done about these problems.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (34:54):

Within this research seminars, we have two different strings in both masters. You have the minor project stream in which you do this small research seminar in one semester and you take one elective. Or you can do the major project stream that is major project methods and then major project analysis on outcomes. And with through the path, you develop your research on your preferred topic with a supervisor as the same as you doing minor project over one year. The advantage of doing the major projects stream, is that then if you want to progress into a master’s by research or even a PhD, you can use the work that you produce there that in total is about 1600 words, sorry 16,000 words in the major project stream. You can use that as the initial research proposal to drive those further studies.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (35:56):

And the support for the students in these different minor projects stream, or the major project is that you’re going to have a supervision by one of the lecturers. So what is the difference between the Master in Planning and the Master of Urban Design? So, we are also going to have a Master of Urban Planning online aside from the Master of Urban Design. But the Master of Urban Design focuses more, we share a lot of subjects with urban planning. So the core about the context and understanding how the planning environment work, is shared between both master’s, but urban design focuses on the specific shape of the built environment.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (37:00):

So it’s not just about the allocation of The functions and how the city is going to work and the densities. It’s about how the buildings are going to be shaped, how the public spaces are going to be designed, how the… So you get to design those aspects in five urban design studios that we’re going to be also delivering.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (37:27):

Final, accommodation and living support will be given by UTS? We have UTS housing, however, you have to apply for it and pay for it. It is not free accommodation. UTS provides some scholarships and some support, but that is separate from our specific program. So please feel free to go to the UTS website and inquire about those. But definitely that’s not something that relates to the program specifically. And about the cost of living, there are a lot of different websites that can tell you how the cost of living is in New South Wales. And it depends on your lifestyle, and it depends on your budget. So I would advise you to Google it. I think that would be the best approach. That’s the great thing about technology these days that it provides us with a lot of answers for all of these questions that we have.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (38:30):

And I remember when I came to Australia, about a decade ago, I actually did that to understand what my costs were going to be. What programs are used for design. So if you do the Master of Planning, or the Master of Property, Development and Planning, we have an urban design subject in which we provide an initial SketchUp tutorial. So SketchUp is more than enough and it’s on a basic level, because the aim in a planning degree of understanding urban design is to be able to assess good urban design proposals, more than actually making them and understanding what good spaces are and understanding how to make initial guidelines for urban design projects.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (39:28):

If you want to do the Master of Urban Design, we’re going to be teaching SketchUp in a little bit more depth. So you can keep on using that tool throughout your career. However, as in most programs around the world, we’re going to provide some other resources and tutorials, but you would have to brush up your 3D skills at least during the first four subjects of the Master of Urban Design. UTS is in [inaudible 00:40:12], do we get regional points for PR purposes. So if the migration lists remain like migration is completely changing environment. So you need to actually go to a migration lawyer or a migration agent to answer the question. I don’t have the capability to answer that migration question. So please contact a professional in the field.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (40:59):

The Master of Urban Design will start in August. So as I was saying, the UTS online environment is different from the face to face on campus, so we have different calendars. As I was mentioning, we have six different sessions a year. So we don’t have an autumn and spring session, we have session 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and six. And we are going to start the Master of Urban signing session five, which is at the end of August. And as I was saying before, a lot more information is going to be available and applications are going to be open since the 3rd of June. And the Accreditation of that degree because it’s a new degree, we’re going to apply through the Planning Institute of Australia to get that decree accredited. We’re going to do that accreditation application this year. So I cannot promise that it is going to be accredited or not. But definitely we are going to seek accreditation for the degree.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (42:09):

And we have three minutes left, so more than happy to answer any other questions in this three minutes. And Alternatively, you can always email me. You can always look for me online, my name is Gabriela Quintana. Or if you just Google planning staff UTS, you’ll probably find me there and Jess, from our marketing team, the great person who organized this webinar, she’s also going to provide you with my email address and other links that we need. So you can contact us and answer any questions that you may have. So with the last question that we have here, is UTS one year course accredited by Engineers Australia? So this is not an engineering course, so we’re not accredited by Engineers Australia. Properly, you would have to go to the Faculty of Engineering and IT and look for the courses that they have there to get a course accredited by them.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola (43:23):

But urban planning definitely is not one of those. And well, thank you very much for your feedback about the session. I am really glad that you guys enjoyed it. And please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions. And as Jess is saying through the chat, please take a moment to complete the short survey that will display on your screen at the end of the webinar. So thank you all very much for being here and I look forward to see you in class. Thank you. Bye.