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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.

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.

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
This course introduces you to the theoretical and legal underpinnings of land-use planning. How communities shape their built environment reflects their moral and political values and choices. As an urban, community, or regional planner, you will determine the geographic and topical scope of plans while creating plans that combine technical know-how 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

PLAN6009: Planning and Program Evaluation (3 credit hours) 
Familiarize students with various components of program evaluation, including needs assessment, research, budget/value justification, development of metrics/benchmarks, implementation/monitoring and outcomes assessment

PLAN6011: Essential Economics for Planners (3 credit hours)
This course is designed to equip students with the rudiments of planning-relevant economic theories and analytical tools, preparing students to recognize and to analyze the context within which community and urban and regional development planning proceeds.

PLAN6012: Policies and Strategies of Regional Economic Development Planning
The purpose of this course is to survey the theoretical foundation and the specific strategies, programs, and plans used in economic development planning practice and policy making at the regional level.

PLAN6019: Cultural Resources, Tourism and Development
This course looks at the practical aspects of national, regional and local development philosophies, policies and programs, but focuses specifically on those policies and programs that use tourism as a key sector for the economic growth of communities and regions, and the social and economic development of their populations.

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.

PLAN6025: Social Factors in Urban Design
An experimental attempt to study, appreciate, and analyze the relationship (both one-way and reciprocal) between human behavior and other social factors on the one hand, and the man-made and designed environment on the other.

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
This course will place the concept of sustainable development within the larger context of development theory and practice.

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.

PLAN6034: Sustainable Development Workshop
This course will be taught through the implementation of a real world project. An actual planning problem will be chosen for which a sustainable development approach is desirable.

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.

PLAN6036: Landscape + Urbanism
This is an introductory course that focuses on the emerging hybrid practice and education that cross planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.

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.

URBN6051/PLAN6051: Leadership for Community Change (3 credit hours)
This interdisciplinary seminar covers the history of formal and informal community change efforts by individuals and collectivities in developing communities that are creative, effective, inspiring and/or inclusive.

PLAN6052:  Planning and Crisis
This course examines the forms, meanings, and uses of crisis rhetoric and realities, with emphasis on cities, urban regions and neighborhoods, and subnational governments.

PLAN6053: Planning and Politics (3 credit hours)
This course introduces students to the politics of community planning in the context of various policy areas.

PLAN6054: Policy Analysis for Planners 
The focus of this course is on the systematic analysis of public policy from a planning point of view.

PLAN6055: Utopian, Intentional and Planned Communities
This seminar/fieldwork course introduces the students to the concept of planned environments and their manifestations over time, with particular emphasis on the planned communities of the Midwest from the 18th to the 21st century.

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.

PLAN6059: Developing an Effective Comprehensive Plan (3 credit hours)
Students will develop a broad understanding of the steps involved in creating the various elements of a comprehensive plan.

PLAN6060: Healthy Urban Planning
This course examines how urban planning practice influences key factors of the natural and built environment that impact human health outcomes.

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.

PLAN6065: Policy Formulation and Plan Implementation
This course provides an analysis of how policy is formed, adopted and implemented, and addresses a series of fundamental questions: How are policies formulated? By whom? How are policy agendas set? How can the relationships between politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and media experts be defined?

PLAN6066: Participatory Planning Processes
This course explores the different kinds of participatory processes present in planning practice and questions the purpose and effectiveness of various participation modes they promote.

PLAN6067: Planning in Multicultural Communities
The purpose of this course is to situate present day planning practice within its cultural framework and understand the implications for present day planning activities which occur in culturally diverse places. Through this course students will explore their own racial, ethnic, classed, religious, geographic, and gendered ways of seeing and encountering the world.

PLAN6068: Scenario Planning Workshop
Scenario planning offers planners an alternative to planning processes such as visioning, consensus building, and strategic planning. This workshop will draw on traditionally corporate approaches to scenario planning, and students will learn how to think “scenarically.”

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.

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.

URBN6077/PLAN6077: The City and Social Theory
This course introduces students to the theories of urban life. Students will explore the classical writings of urban social theory, as well as more recent theories of urbanism.

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.

PLAN6091: GIS Project Formulation and Management (3 credit hours)
In this course students will design and carry out a GIS project in analyzing a real world local or regional issue such as land use, housing, environment, transportation, and economic development.

PLAN6092: Mediation: Conflict Analysis and Intervention
This seminar introduces students to the theory and practice of conflict intervention. Students will discuss the analysis of conflicts at all levels (micro to macro) and focus on the mediation of disputes and the facilitation of meetings.

PLAN6093: Public Policy Dispute Resolution
This course covers selected conflicts and disputes that face local and national governments and discusses a range of intervention strategies that can be used to prevent, reduce or eliminate problems.

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.

PLAN7011: Urban Poverty and Local Economic Development
The course analyzes, assesses and quantifies urban poverty, poverty concentration and racial, ethnic and economic segregation in American cities, reviews major poverty theories, develops a strategic planning framework for use in local economic development plans, and applies this framework to the assessment of several economic development plans.

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.

PLAN7013: Development Workshop
This is a hands-on course designed as a workshop in which students implement knowledge of economic development planning which they have previously acquired through theory and methods courses, such as 6011, 6012, and 7019.

PLAN7015: Finance and Budgeting for Planners
This course focuses on budgeting and finance from a professional planning perspective.

PLAN7016: Case Study Research
This course explores the theoretical and epistemological underpinnings of case study research.

PLAN7017: Fiscal Impacts of Planning on Local Governments
This course focuses on the contributions of planning to the fiscal status of local governments. The structures, forms and roles of US local governments will be explored, as will sources of revenue, service responsibilities and costs, and the challenges faced in generating sufficient revenue to fund desired services.

PLAN7025: Intergovernmental Relations and Planning in the United States
The purpose of this class is to teach planning students about trends and significant features of intergovernmental relations that they will need to incorporate in the development of plans.

PLAN7026: Politics of Plan Implementation
This course teaches students about the important roles that politics plays in the implementation of plans, and how plans are created and implemented in a political environment.

PLAN7057: Political Economy of Cities and Regions
This course introduces students to political economy approaches to the analysis of cities and regions, and the debates that have grown up around this particular approach.

PLAN7058: Planning and Democratic Theory
This course introduces students to important modern and contemporary works in democratic theory and their application to problems in planning. Students examine the various strategies, methods, and techniques that planners employ or could employ in response to democratic values and professional obligations.

PLAN7059: Political Economy of Inequality and Poverty
This course examines inequality in the US and developed societies, with some focus on the determinants and spatial features of poverty in contemporary US cities and regions.

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.

PLAN7080: Issues and Policies in Urban and Regional Planning in Developing Nations
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to issues of urban and regional development in developing nations, based on readings from various disciplines.

PLAN7092: Social Science Research
This seminar introduces graduate students to the research process with a focus on (1) selected qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research approaches as well as (2) grant proposal development.

PLAN7094: Field Research Methods in Planning
This course provides an overview of methods employed in field research in both developed and developing countries.

PLAN7095: Advanced Methods in Planning and Policy Analysis
This course examines communicative and persuasive activities in community planning practice and conflicts. The rhetoric of environmentalism, localism, growth and decline, security, sustainability, equity, and liberty are examined in case study format.

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