Urban and Regional Development

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Undergraduate Major


The Urban and Regional Development major within the Bachelor of Development Studies provides students with an understanding of the key issues in urban and regional development at local, national, and international levels. Areas of study combine the disciplines of geography, environmental and indigenous studies, sociology, politics, tourism, and economics.

Graduates have the knowledge and abilities to suit government advisor and policy consultant roles in private industry, non-government organisations, international aid agencies, and research organisations. Too, the major allows one to follow one’s interests in related areas, such as the potential for tourism in regional development and the implications for indigenous people in regional development.

For more information about Development, visit the School of Environmental and Life Sciences site.


View our Bachelor of Development Studies in the Program Handbook and the online prospectus What Can I Study?.

Academic advice: view Study Pathways for this major »


An Honours year is available to students as a separate program in the form of an additional year to those who meet the entry requirements. For more information about this program, see Bachelor of Development Studies (Honours).

Postgraduate Study

Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options following the Bachelor of Development Studies include:



Postgraduate coursework programs can add further specialisations in areas including business, safety, quality assurance and teaching. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/

Planning Accreditation:

The Planning Institute of Australia website contains a list of courses that are accredited for those interested in the field of urban and regional planning. www.planning.org.au/becomeaplanner/accredited-courses


Sample Jobs

Graduates majoring in Urban and Regional Development can find employment in a variety of roles in many different types of organisations. The list below provides typical job titles for graduates majoring in Urban and Regional Development.

Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.

Not everyone uses their degree in the same way and the transferable skills gained through university study may allow graduates to pursue a range of careers that might not be directly linked to their study. Below is a sample list of job titles that might be suitable for graduates with the skills gained majoring in Urban and Regional Development.

Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.  

Getting the Edge

Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.

  1. Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
  2. Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
  3. Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
  4. Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
  5. Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
  6. Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
  7. Consider volunteering.

Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.


Sample Employers

Graduates majoring in Urban and Regional Development find employment opportunities in a wide variety of industries in small, medium or large organisations. Some large international aid organisations offer internship programs as well as employment opportunities. Most of these organisations require postgraduate qualifications at either Masters or PhD level as well as relevant paid or unpaid experience. Below is an example of some of the major organisations.

Recruitment Timing

Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.

Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .

Societies and Associations

Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.

Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.

Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.

Job Search Sites

Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:

Australian and International

  • CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.


  • CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
  • MyCareer: Australian and international listings
  • Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
  • The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs


Graduate Attributes and Employability

Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Development Studies are the skills, abilities and knowledge that are highly sought after by a broader range of employers. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.

Graduate Attributes

On completion of the Bachelor of Development Studies Degree, a graduate will:

  1. Be committed to knowledge creation, ethical practice and critical perspectives about development and underdevelopment.
  2. Possess substantial & broad knowledge of cultural diversity; globalisation & economic development; environmental sustainability; and urban & regional development as development issues.
  3. Demonstrate a capacity for logical, critical and creative analysis.
  4. Have high level communication skills and the ability to engage in constructive public and professional discourse in community, cross cultural and policy context.
  5. Be able to perform both autonomously and collaboratively with advanced skills in collecting organising and presenting information.
  6. Have the capacity to be engaged, responsible, sensitive and effective world citizens.