It is a double celebration for one of the University of Ulster's most innovative planning degrees this week as it receives dual accreditation from the industry's most prestigious bodies.
The Integrated Masters in Planning and Property Development, which was launched by the School of the Built in Environment in 2008, is the only one of its kind on the island of Ireland.
With accreditation from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awarded earlier in the programme's development, the course has now received the seal of approval from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
Such endorsements underline the course's commitment to representing the highest standards of professional practice, ethical behaviours and innovative thinking in dealing with the use and development of land.
Course Director of the MSci Planning and Property Development programme, Dr Neale Blair, said: \"This course complements the established degrees in the School of the Built Environment at Ulster and builds on the excellent reputation of the University for its teaching and research in the area of planning, property development and regeneration. This new style of qualification is designed to reflect the sector's changing needs and growing societal expectations at a time of considerable uncertainty.
\"Our students understand that land and property are of fundamental importance to the overall wellbeing of the economy, society and the environment and appreciate that the appropriate use and development of land requires a sensitive approach to meet the competing demands and expectations of different communities of interest, place and identity.
\"The MSci in Planning and Property Development is the only integrated masters spatial planning qualification on the island of Ireland and we are proud to have received accreditation from both the RICS and the RTPI, reflecting the high regard in which the University of Ulster's courses are held within the profession.\"
Visiting the University of Ulster this week to meet staff from the School of the Built Environment, President of the RTPI Ann Skippers said:\"RTPI accreditation is a huge achievement and I applaud the University of Ulster's commitment to ensuring that their students have the very best education.
\"In such economically uncertain times I am confident that University of Ulster's Planning and Property Development students will be well prepared to make the most of the opportunities that exist.\"