Master of Community Planning Curriculum



Requirements for Graduation

  • core courses
  • elective courses to satisfy the total 48 graduate credit hours (40 for the accelerated program).
  • a summer practicum arranged by the Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning (ProPEL), with a bona fide planning organization (waived for the accelerated program).
  • a graduate thesis, project or capstone course.
  • a level of academic and work performance satisfying the School's faculty that the student has reached a level of professional maturity to practice within the field of planning.

Course Requirements


Predominant Track

Accelerated Track

 Planning foundations



 Planning methods



 Plan-making workshop



 Thesis project or capstone



 Planning focus electives



 Free electives



 Total credit hours




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The following are graduate-level courses offered by the School of Planning, although not all courses are offered every year. These courses are four graduate credit hours unless noted otherwise.

Required Courses

PLAN7001: Planning in Urban Communities (Predominant Track only)
This course provides an overview of historic and contemporary planning practice, policy, and processes related to sustainable development and environmental and social issues in urban communities.

PLAN7002: Structure and Dynamics of Human Settlements
In-depth examination of the factors shaping the physical organization and structure of urban areas and non-urban regions, and the theories available to interpret urban and regional growth. The course analyzes cities as multi-dimensional systems in which social, political, economic, environmental and physical factors interact to shape sustainable neighborhoods and communities. 

PLAN7003: Planning Theory and Ethics
The course is divided into six parts: (1) the need for planning theories; (2) the theory of comprehensive rationality; (3) newer theoretical approaches; (4) ways planners can become more effective; (5) the role of key urban visionaries in the evolution of city plans and city planning processes; and (6) the values and ethical standards affecting the practice of planning.

PLAN7004: Land Use Planning
The course is an introduction to the theoretical and legal underpinnings of land-use planning. How communities shape their built environment reflects their moral, social, ecological, and political values and choices. Urban, community, or regional planners, determine the geographic and topical scope of plans that combine technical know-how and the overall values of sustainable development with community values.

PLAN7005: Methods of Planning Systems Analysis
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the most essential planning-analytical methods, their theoretical foundations, their applicability to real world issues, and their strengths and limitations.

PLAN7006: Methods of Physical Planning and Design Analysis
This is an introductory course for first year graduate students.  Its aim is to familiarize the students to various methods and techniques that are used in plan-making for analyzing the physical city and its metro area.

PLAN7007: Plan-Making Workshop
The course is designed for first year students in urban planning and its goal is to give the students the opportunity to use a variety of methods, approaches, and skills they have learned, and apply to real problems or projects within a studio or workshop setting.


PLAN7008: Master’s Thesis for Community Planning
This course supports preparation of a thesis for the Master of Community Planning program. The thesis can be a research oriented essay to be submitted to the Graduate School to qualify for a thesis requirement or a professional oriented product to be submitted to the School to qualify for a non-thesis requirement.

PLAN7009: Master’s Capstone for Community Planning
This capstone course is one of the options for students completing the MCP degree. Students enrolled in this course will discuss the field of planning and undertake written projects. 


Elective Courses

PLAN6020: The Theory and Practice of Place-making

Placemaking is increasingly becoming important to architects, urban designers, planners, and policy makers.  This course explores the theories and approaches to placemaking.

PLAN6021: Elements of Urban Design
Elements of Urban Design is an advanced course for those interested in better understanding the theory and practice of urban design.

PLAN6022: Urban Design Seminar: Fragmentation, Elusiveness, and Urban Transformation
This seminar focuses on two interrelated, yet separate topics: fragmentation and elusiveness of cities and metropolitan areas.

URBN6023/PLAN6023: Urban Design, Urbanism, and the Contemporary City
The seminar has been carefully structured to help students gain an understanding of the historical and theoretical context from which urban design has emerged.

PLAN6024: Site Planning
This course provides an integrated approach to site planning by covering various relevant issues.

PLAN6031: Sustainable Development: North American Responses
This course will follow the evolution of thinking and application of the concept of sustainable development in the United States and Canada. The policy, programmatic, and planning applications that have emerged will be explored.

PLAN6032: Sustainable Development: Global Responses

PLAN6033: Greening Cities and Neighborhoods: tools, practices, and planning
This course will provide students with a broad range of established and cutting edge tools, technologies, and practices to increase the environmental quality of cities and neighborhoods.

URBN6035/PLAN6035: Environmental Systems, Issues and Policies
This course will provide students with a scientific understanding of environmental systems at the level necessary to participate in and design planning solutions to environmental issues.

PLAN6037: Landscape Resources Analysis and Planning
Increasingly, the integration of environmental resources into the land use planning and design process holds a central role in growth management, landscape preservation, and sustainable development.

URBN6038/PLAN6038: Managing the Urban Environment in Developing Countries
The course presents an overview of a major city in a developing country and presents its demography, economy, sectoral composition and environmental issues and problems.

URBN6040/PLAN6040: History of Urban Form (3 credit hours)
The course focuses on comparative analyses of growth and development of urban forms from prehistory to the present time.

URBN6050/PLAN6050: Housing Systems
The course is divided into five parts (1) the nature of housing problems and housing markets, (2) alternative low-income housing strategies (public housing, subsidized housing and rental vouchers, community development corporations), (3) addressing housing market failures (fair housing, senior housing, housing for the disabled), (4) middle-income housing programs, and (5) local housing plans.

URBN6056/PLAN6056: Power, Politics & Persuasion: Candidates & Campaigns (3 credit hours)
From a perspective on politics that is strategy-level and power-centered, this course introduces students to the practice of political campaigning.

URBN6057/PLAN6057: Power, Politics & Persuasion: Causes & Organizations (3 credit hours)
From a perspective on politics that is strategy-level and power-centered, this course introduces students to the  broad spectrum of interest groups actively engaged in attempts to influence public policy.

PLAN6058: Transportation Planning (3 credit hours)
This course will introduce urban transportation planning and provide overview of transportation system evaluation.

PLAN6062: Energy Planning, Conservation and the Environment in Developing Countries
The course presents a brief overview of the energy sector by first explaining its importance in the process of economic development and then reviewing its complicated physical structure.

PLAN6071: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3 credit hours)
This course is designed to address a wide variety of issues associated with the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course will provide students with a fundamental understanding of GIS theory, technology, applications, implementation, and related issues.

PLAN6072: Introduction to Planning Graphics and 3D Design

URBN6076/PLAN6076: Organizational Theory and Behavior: Applications in Community Planning 
This course examines major approaches and concepts in organizational theory and uses them to analyze planning environments, practice, processes, and organizations.

PLAN6078: Introduction to Historic Preservation in Planning
The course is designed for students in urban planning, architecture, and urban design, and for those graduate and undergraduate students who pursue the Certificate of Historic Preservation Certificate program

URBN6079/PLAN6079: Social Justice and the City
The course begins with an overview of different perspectives toward social justice. We then spend the major part of the course focusing on two to three case studies.

URBN6081/PLAN6081: The City in Cinema
This course demonstrates themes of urbanization, transportation, the environment, social conflict, land use planning, etc., and generates discussion about them through the medium of commercial film.

PLAN6089: Sustainable Development Planning for Overseas Fieldwork
This is a course carried out overseas under the School of Planning Summer Field School in Sustainable Development. Overseas locations in different parts of the world are selected upon invitation by local universities and/or government agencies.

PLAN6090: Introduction to Making of Pubic art in the City Through Time

PLAN6097, 6098, 6099: International Field Study (2-8 credit hours)
This course will either have a substantial component that takes place in a setting outside of the US or it will take place in its entirely outside the US.  The purpose of this course is to provide a field learning experience related to one or more planning and development issues of relevance in the international location of the course.

PLAN7012: Methodologies of Economic Development Planning
This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of selected methods and techniques used widely in the context of economic development planning.

PLAN7061, 7062, 7063: Graduate Independent Study (1-8 credit hours) 
This is a self-directed research inquiry under faculty supervision on a topic beyond that which is available within the curriculum.

PLAN7064, 7065, 7066: Special Topics in Planning (4 credit hours) 
This elective course deals with special topics of priority issues in planning processes, planning administration, implementation or evaluation.

PLAN7076, 7077: Peace Corps Practicum 1, 2 (0~4 credit hours)
Seminar sessions and independent study based on experience gained on assignment through the Peace Corps programs.

PLAN7078: Peace Corps Master's International Guided Study (0~15 credit hours)
Independent study based on hands-on experience while on assignment through the Peace Corps Master's International program.

Master of Community Planning


Admission Requirements



Additional Information
for the Master of Community
Planning Program

Joint Degrees

Career Opportunities

Financial Assistance


Additional Educational Opportunities
through the School of Planning

International programs

US Peace Corps

Study Abroad