B. Planning Course in India – Exam, Subjects, Jobs, Future Prospects

National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts examination for B. Planning admission through JEE (until 2019, B.Plan and B. Arch had a common exam) Students appearing have now an option to appear for all three tests, i.e., Paper 1 for B.Tech or Paper 2 for B.Arch, and Paper 3 for B.Planning, or any two, or one paper, as per their choice.

B. Plan exam in India

Earlier, the students who were interested in planning had to appear in JEE paper 2 which had maths, aptitude and drawing. It was same as the exam for architecture despite being a very different in its course structure. It also had drawing as a limiting factor for interested students which is now redundant for the course. Also, the JEE paper 2 exam was only open to people with Physics , Chemistry and Maths or Commerce with mathematics as their subjects in 12th. This limited the entry of social science students who had a knack for urban development and an aptitude for social sciences which is an important element and a useful skill for planning.

As per the new pattern :
Paper – 1 : It will be for B.Tech – will consist of Physics, Chemistry and Maths
Paper 2 : It will be for B.Arch – It will consist of Aptitude Test, Mathematics and Drawing Test
Paper 3 (The new B.Planning addition) – It will consist of Aptitude test, Mathematics but the drawing test will be replaced by Computer based. More info about the exam and syllabus are available here

The entire B.Planning paper will now be computer based. Also, Students can now select whether they want to pursue a career in Architecture, a five year course which involves completely different set of skills based on design or B.Planning a four year course based on Planning and Urban and regional development. The new pattern opens the doors of B.Planning for students who have opted not just for sciences but also various diverse disciplines including social sciences with mathematics as the only compulsory subject.

The Planning community considers it as a welcome move because it will open the doors of b.planning to a greater candidature and hence will attract more talent and expertise. Also, it gives B.Planning a separate identity as course which is not “similar to architecture but of lesser duration” but a course entirely dedicated to understanding city and its dynamics. It will help build the case for B. Planning as a needed, interesting and lucrative course for nation development in the future.

Components & Learning in B. Plan Course

The information provided below will focus on B.Planning with minimal comparison and relation of planning with other courses such as B. Arch.

In architecture main focus is on design related concept but in Planning there is a lot of variation in subjects you learn. More focus is on analysis of data. These two courses are often confused and many students takes up planning because they don’t get admission in Architecture but are interested in studying at top colleges. In case you are passionate about designing and that’s the reason for you joining B. Arch then we would suggest not to take up B. Planning as it’s no where related to designing part.

Main purpose of the B. Planning course is to provide better understanding of policies and ultimately making policies & master plan which helps in improving the living condition in a place. But due to the number of subjects & skilled developed during the course you will be free to try your luck in number of other fields. There are visiting faculties in planning because of the diverse subjects which require professional who can provide ground reality info. Various colleges in county are having undergraduate and post-graduate planning course, information of undergraduate course is provided below.

B.Planning course in India

Some details of what is taught in B. Planning and what are future prospects in brief

B. Planning is of 4 years unlike B. Arch which is of 5 years. In each semester from 2-7 of B.Planning you will be taught different aspects of planning. Details of each semester is provided below (as per course structure followed till 2015, new structure differs in terms of subjects but main focus area of studio exercises remains same). The number of semesters remain same across of the institutions however the subjects might vary, the structure followed by School of Planning & Architecture Delhi has been mentioned below.

1st sem is about basic works like types of lines, idea of scale (linear, aerial), then some parking related study as parking is a great problem in Cities. You will be doing some survey to collect data & do analysis and present your work. Presentation is at core of the course as your main Subject will be “Studio” in which you will be doing survey followed by Analysis & presentations called as reviews

Studios are meant for first hand experience of ground conditions and to find the gap between policy/documents and their actual implementation. Theory subjects are taught to give background knowledge of how cities evolve, how the function, history of town planning, micro & macro economics, geology, history of human settlements, transportation networks, roads & their standards.

2nd sem is about comparing different study areas on basis of surveys & data collected by you. Comparison is done on basis of availability of water, electricity, traffic jams, parking space, availability of parks, schools, hospitals. This will provide you with idea of difference between “planned” & unplanned areas

Subsequent semesters are 3rd sem is about Transportation (30-50 hac.); 4th Sem about – Site Plan (200-300 hac); 5th Sem – Zonal Plan (300-400 hac); 6th Sem – Master Plan (40-50 sq Km.); 7th Sem Regional Plan (800-900 Sq. Km) The range written in brackets are the approx. size of study area for which you will be doing surveys to give proposals to make it better.

8th Sem – In this semester you will be required to do a thesis on the topic of your interest. Guides will be allotted by your college who will help you in formulating goals and objectives of your study and will evaluate your work throughout the semester. At end of this semester you will make and submit a thesis report which will most probably your first publication, you can consider as a book written by you 🙂

Internship – During the course you will be required to do internship which can be once or two depending on your college. Most of the colleges ask for 2 internships, each of 6 weeks duration at end of 4th & 6th semester. This helps in gaining the experience about how the work actually take place in professional world.

By this you might be clear that the working area for a planner and architect is much different. Site Plan in 2nd sem is only related a bit to Architecture unlike other semesters. The subjects are as per the course structure being followed, the subjects mentioned above are from ITPI’s syllabus for B.Plan but studios which are main part are more or less same for all course syllabus.

Future Prospects after B.Planning

Future prospects planning is not lucrative in short run. There is lack of jobs in cities even though there is large need of planners. This is due to lack of awareness & understanding about the course. Moreover B. Arch degree holder can pursue M.Plan & they are more preferred in many companies as companies feel the person with B. Arch + M.Plan have both the skills of planner & Architect which turns out to be wrong in long run when things go wrong. If you study well & develops interest than good jobs are there but you will be required to search for them on your own because of lack of placement cell in some colleges. Starting will be 20-30K per month after B. Planning, you can expect 20% difference in the mentioned salary depending on the company and the project on which you will be working.

M.Plan is a must if you want a good job in long run as B.Planning do not give you details or specific knowledge. B.Planning is a mix of most of the Master Degrees so having specialization will help but again starting salary will be only somewhat more than that of a B.Planning degree holder. You can expect a good income on basis of experience & contacts.

Contacts do matter in this field and can be developed while perusing course. You can expect a good income only after 4-5 years of work experience & hard work. Brand name of SPA Delhi will be helpful but not much so choose carefully. Scope & income of planners is much less in India as compared to that of developed and some developing countries, if you wish to go abroad then you can expect a good income from start.

Working area & job opportunities for planners

Government Sector

Coming to the job prospects, the jobs in planning are more in Govt. Sector. Planners are employed by Development Authorities for making Master Plans, Land Use Plans, Development Plans. It’s due to the fact that the working scale of planner is much larger & it requires huge investment which is usually done by govt only or very large builders working on townships. The problem is that the post of planners can also be taken by Architects, Civil Engineers, Geographers, Sociologists because of the reasons we mentioned earlier i.e. lack of awareness about working of planners and also because students from these field can pursue M.Plan which makes them “planner”. Also a B. Arch degree holder can do M. Plan but vice versa is not possible. Also Architecture is a licensed course but planning is not.

Apart from Development Authorities there is Town & Country Planning Department known as TCP department under state government. It can be a part of development authority, municipality or a separate division in itself. You might have heard of Planning Commission. now NITI Aayog which made policies for development through 5 year plans, they also recruited planners. In addition to this municipal corporation also employ planners.

Jobs for Urban Planners

Private Sector

In private sector real estate companies hire planners for determining potential land for growth, analysing future prospects & land speculation purpose. While in Planning you will be dealing with land all the time. B.Planning will be more or less dealing with assigning land for activities like commercial areas, industries, residential areas. In both B. Arch & B.Planning you will be required to search for job on your own.

Working in MNCs like Feedback Infra, JLL, E&Y and in smaller companies and consultancies is another option. The work assigned is dependent on the project being undertaken by consultancy or department.

What makes planning awesome! 

The best part about planning is that it is not restricted by any person but by yourself. You define your own boundaries. Sometime you may become too ambitious and faculty will not understand your work & give you low-grade but the knowledge you get while collecting data will be of use in future. Moreover there are no specific books in planning, you need to do a lot of research from Internet. It’s like teaching yourself on basis of guidance from faculty. Planning will be challenging for a long time (5-6 years) but if you enjoy challenges & find it interesting the future will be very promising. It’s about making plans, policies for 10-20 years in future and thus requires experience. This is the reason growth in planning field is mainly due to experience

We hope that we gave you a brief idea of what planning is. It’s actually difficult to explain in brief due to nature of work which planner do. It will take a minimum of 30-40 minutes of interaction with a planner to give a clear picture of planning. If the provided information about planning triggers your interest then you may wish to get more details from the students and professionals.

For further reading and getting more information about Urban Planning you can read the following articles (all articles open in new tab/ window):

  1. Urban Planning Job Description
  2. Why political agendas never actually solve your problems whereas planners can!
  3. Planning process without planners
  4. Loss to community because of incompetent planners
  5. Planners as knowledge workers
  6. Understanding the limitations of planning
  7. Urban Planning – Largely Unknown Profession

Read about: Urban Planning Colleges in India, Land Use PlanningDelhi Master Plan