MURP Curriculum

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning curriculum is a two-year, 48-semester hour program. It is designed to allow timely completion for both full-time (9-12 credits per semester) and part-time (6 credits per semester) students. The MURP curriculum is structured into three components: core courses (27 credits), electives (15 credits), and synthesis (6 credits).

Core Requirements

The core component provides planning knowledge, skills, and values. Planning knowledge includes: the structure and functions of urban settlements; history and theory of planning processes and practices; and administrative, legal, and political aspects of plan-making and policy implementation. Planning skills focus on: problem formulation, research skills, and data gathering; quantitative analysis and use of computer software; written, oral, and graphic communications; collaborative problem solving, plan-making, and program design; and the synthesis and application of knowledge to practice. Discussion of planning values provides students with the basis for becoming ethical practitioners who are aware of, and responsible for, the way their activities affect and promote societal and individual concerns.

Planning Internship (URP 6945) is required for students who do not have significant professional experience in planning. It is optional for other students. Find tips on obtaining an internship and the form here.

The synthesis component of the curriculum involves taking either Planning Workshop (URP 6920) and Planning Project (URP 6979) or Master’s Thesis (URP 6971, 3 credits in each of two successive semesters for a total of 6 credits). The Master’s Thesis option is intended mainly for students planning to continue in a doctoral program.

The following tables show the typical course progression for a full-time student taking 12 credits per semester. Fall 1 refers to the Fall semester in the first year, etc. Part-time students should plan to complete core courses before electives and synthesis courses.

Required Core Courses (27 credits):
URP 6101History and Theory of PlanningFall 1
URP 6200Planning MethodsFall 1
URP 6840Urban and Regional TheoryFall 1
URP 6270Introduction to GIS in PlanningFall 1
URP 6873Site PlanningSpring 1
URP 6115Urban GovernanceSpring 1
URP 6211Statistics for Urban PlanningSpring 1
URP 6406Sustainable CitiesSpring 1
URP 6131Legal Aspects of PlanningFall 2
Elective Courses (15 credits):
Electives6 creditsFall 2
Electives9 creditsSpring 2
Synthesis Courses (6 Credits):
URP 6920 or
URP 6971
Planning Workshop or
Master's Thesis
Fall 2
URP 6979 or
URP 6971
Planning Project or
Master's Thesis
Spring 2


Electives are offered on a variety of topics, including transportation planning, environmental planning, geographic information systems, housing and community development, and urban design. Also, the Planning Abroad course (URP 5958), which is offered each Spring semester, gives students the opportunity to study planning in another country and to visit that country during Spring Break. Students may also take relevant courses offered by other departments (a list of courses that are approved automatically is given below). Although the program does not offer formal specializations, students can enroll in sets of related courses if they wish to focus on particular areas. Graduate electives offered in the School of Urban and Regional Planning include:

Course NumberTitle
URP 5958Planning Abroad
URP 6272Managing GIS Projects
URP 6277GIS Applications in Planning
URP 6425Environmental Analysis in Planning
URP 6429Environmental Policy and Programs
URP 6540Tourism and Economic Development
URP 6545Urban Revitalization Strategies
URP 6549Economic Development Planning
URP 6711Introduction to Transportation Planning
URP 6732Capital Facilities Planning
URP 6742Seminar in Housing
URP 6841Urban Development and Design
URP 6881Urban Design
URP 6886Urban Design Workshop
URP 6905Directed Independent Study
URP 6930Special Topics

The following courses offered by the Department of Geosciences and the School of Public Administration are automatically approved as electives for MURP students:

Course NumberTitle
GEA 6277Human-Environmental Interactions
GEO 6337Culture, Conservation, and Land Use
GIS 5038CRemote Sensing of the Environment
GIS 5100CApplications in Geographic Information Systems
GIS 5103CProgramming in Geographic Information Systems
GIS 6306Spatial Data Analysis
GLY 6737Coastal Environments
GLY 6746Global Environmental Change
GLY 6888Coastal Hazards
PAD 6063Managerial Leadership in State and Local Government
PAD 6333Strategic Planning in the Public Sector
PAD 6436Administrative Ethics
PAD 6807Local Government Administration

Note that some of the courses listed above count toward the Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. Note also that some of the courses listed have prerequisites. Students interested in geographic information systems or environmental planning may be interested using elective courses to complete graduate certificates in those areas while working on the MURP:

Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate Certificate in Environmental Restoration
Graduate Certificate in Environmental Studies
Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

Portfolio Requirement

The MURP program requires each student to complete a portfolio that is to be submitted at the end of the semester in which the student is enrolled for URP 6979 Planning Project or the final three credits of URP 6971 Master’s Thesis. The portfolio achieves two objectives: (1) it provides students with an opportunity to reflect upon their graduate education and relevant prior experiences and (2) it provides evidence that demonstrates attainment of desired learning outcomes. The latest version of the portfolio requirements is available here: MURP Portfolio Requirements.

Academic Standing

Students are considered to be in good academic standing if they are making satisfactory progress toward the MURP degree. Students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative average throughout the course of study; failure to maintain this average for two successive semesters will result in recommended dismissal. Only grades of “C” or higher are acceptable in fulfilling the requirements for the MURP degree. Students may not graduate with more than one grade below a “B-” in core courses (in such cases, these courses must be repeated for a grade of “B-” or higher).

Acceptance of transfer credits from approved institutions is dependent on the relevance of the work to MURP degree requirements. Transfer of credit should normally occur at the time of admission and is limited to six semester credit hours. Transfer credit can be given only for courses that have not been applied to another degree.

Waivers from specific course (but not the associated credit) requirements may be granted upon approval of the Director of the School. For more information about certificate programs, please click on the following:

Transition Rules for Students Who Enrolled Prior to the Fall 2016 Semester

The curriculum outlined above goes into effect starting with the Fall 2016 semester.

The primary changes to the curriculum are as follows:

  • Seminar in Urban Planning (URP 6310) is deleted from the core and from the catalog.
  • Urban Design (URP 6881) is replaced in the core by Site Planning (URP 6873); URP 6881 will become an elective.
  • Statistics for Urban Planning (URP 6211) is added to the core.
  • Sustainable Cities (URP 6406) is added to the core.
  • Specializations are discontinued.
  • A thesis option is introduced for students interested in careers in research and doctoral study.

The following rules apply to students who enrolled prior to the Fall 2016 semester:

  • Students who have not completed URP 6310 (which will no longer be offered) will take an elective instead.
  • Students who have not completed URP 6881 may take either that course (which will continue to be offered as an elective) or URP 6873 to satisfy core requirements.
  • Students will no longer be required to complete a specialization, but must complete 18 credits of electives if URP 6310 was already completed or 21 credits of electives otherwise; the number of elective credits needed is reduced by 3 if the student is required to take Planning Internship (URP 6945, formerly titled Guided Practicum).
  • Students are encouraged to take the new core courses (URP 6211, URP 6873, and URP 6406) as electives.
  • Students who wish to undertake a thesis may do so in lieu of Planning Workshop (URP 6920) and Planning Project (URP 6979); however, students who have already completed URP 6920 or URP 6979 may not choose the thesis option.

For any questions regarding the Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree program, please contact Dr. Jesse Saginor (Program Coordinator) at

For questions about advising, please contact the College Advising Center at 561-297-2316.