Section 12(1)(a)(ii) of the Planners Registration Ordinance (the Ordinance) requires that an applicant for registration as a Registered Professional Planner (R.P.P.) with a professional planning qualification other than that of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP) must possess a full membership of a planning institute accepted by the Board as being of a standard not below that of the HKIP. As elaborated in the Guidelines for Considering New Applications for Registration promulgated by the Board, there is currently no planning body the membership of which is accepted by the Board as being of a standard not less than that of the HKIP particularly in terms of knowledge of planning law and practice in Hong Kong. To ensure that this requirement is adequately fulfilled, the Board requires such an applicant to pass an examination equivalent to the Qualifying Examination currently implemented by the HKIP, unless otherwise exempted.
For applicants who are not members of the HKIP or a professional planning body recognized by the Board, section 12(1)(a)(iii) of the Ordinance requires, inter alia, that such an applicant shall have passed such an examination in planning and other subjects as a qualification of a standard not less than that of a member of the HKIP. To ensure that this requirement is adequately fulfilled, the Board requires such an applicant to pass an examination equivalent to the Qualifying Examination currently implemented by the HKIP.
The Board requires that the Qualifying Examination shall consist of the following two parts, which are equivalent to the current requirements of the HKIP :-
Part 1 – Planning Theory and Techniques
Part 2 – Planning Law and Planning Practices in Hong Kong
The Board has entrusted the administration of the Qualifying Examination to the Department of Urban Planning and Design (DUPAD), the University of Hong Kong. The DUPAD runs a two-year planning course leading to the degree of Master of Science (Urban Planning). This course is at present the only planning course offered locally in Hong Kong fully recognized by the HKIP for the purpose of election to HKIP’s full membership.
To pass the Qualifying Examination, a candidate is required to satisfy all requirements of the following three papers offered by the DUPAD :-
(a)”Values in Planning” and “Research Methods in Spatial Planning” for Part 1 of the Qualifying Examination; and
(b)”Planning Practice, Law and Ethics in Hong Kong” for Part 2 of the Qualifying Examination.
These three papers are core components within the curriculum of the DUPAD’s planning course, each lasting for one semester.
Since the examination papers set out in the above are equivalent to those required by the HKIP, the successful completion of the Qualifying Examination would provide an applicant with the same qualification for application to the HKIP for its full membership. An applicant is required to apply to the HKIP for their Qualifying Examination to put this into effect.
The Board would exempt a candidate holding any one of the following professional and/or academic qualifications from Part 1 of the Qualifying Examination :-
- Members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI);
- Members of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA);
- Members of the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI);
- Members of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP);
- Members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP);
- graduates of the planning courses which are fully recognized by any one of the above institutes; and
- persons who have passed the necessary examinations required for full membership of any one of the above institutes.
The Board would also exempt a candidate possessing a degree or diploma in town planning obtained in Hong Kong which is recognized by the Board from Parts 1 and 2 of the Qualifying Examination. This means that graduates from the Master of Science in Urban Planning programme offered by the DUPAD are fully exempted.
An applicant with a professional town planning institute membership or a town planning degree or diploma or a pass in all the necessary examinations required for full membership of a professional town planning institute not recognized by the Board, or a degree or diploma in town planning obtained outside Hong Kong at a territory which has no professional town planning institute, shall have to pass both Part 1 and Part 2 of the Qualifying Examination.
Persons interested to enroll in the Qualifying Examination should refer to the guidance notes for HKIP Qualifying Examination and submit their applications in the prescribed forms to HKIP in accordance with their schedule. Details of the application procedures can be found under the “Examination Board” page of the HKIP website (https://www.hkip.org.hk).