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 6101 History and Theory of Planning Fall 1
URP 6200 Planning Methods Fall 1
URP 6840 Urban Spatial Structure Fall 1
URP 6270 Introduction to GIS in Planning Fall 1
URP 6873 Site Planning Spring 1
URP 6115 Urban Governance Spring 1
URP 6211 Statistics for Urban Planning Spring 1
URP 6406 Sustainable Cities Spring 1
URP 6131 Legal Aspects of Planning Fall 2


Elective Courses (15 credits):
Electives 6 credits Fall 2
Electives 9 credits Spring 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 Number Title
URP 5958 Planning Abroad
URP 6237 Regional and Scenario Planning
URP 6272 Managing GIS Projects
URP 6277 GIS Applications in Planning
URP 6425 Environmental Analysis in Planning
URP 6429 Environmental Policy and Programs
URP 6540 Tourism and Economic Development
URP 6545 Urban Revitalization Strategies
URP 6549 Economic Development Planning
URP 6711 Introduction to Transportation Planning
URP 6716 Land Use and Transportation Planning
URP 6719 Shared and Automated Transport: The Future of Urban Mobility
URP 6732 Capital Facilities Planning
URP 6742 Seminar in Housing
URP 6841 Urban Development and Design
URP 6881 Urban Design
URP 6886 Urban Design Workshop
URP 6905 Directed Independent Study
URP 6930 Special 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 Number Title
GEA 6277 Human-Environmental Interactions
GEO 6337 Culture, Conservation, and Land Use
GIS 5038C Remote Sensing of the Environment
GIS 5100C Applications in Geographic Information Systems
GIS 5103C Programming in Geographic Information Systems
GIS 6306 Spatial Data Analysis
GLY 6737 Coastal Environments
GLY 6746 Global Environmental Change
GLY 6888 Coastal Hazards
PAD 6063 Managerial Leadership in State and Local Government
PAD 6333 Strategic Planning in the Public Sector
PAD 6436 Administrative Ethics
PAD 6807 Local 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 561-297-3700.