Community Planning


Why study Community Planning?

The challenge this urbanized world poses is the substance of the planning profession. Planners are dedicated to developing innovative approaches to managing cities and planning their development. The constructive management of change is at the heart of the profession. Planning is growing in importance throughout the country, and the number of planners is rising rapidly.

Planners often work in local governments and communities, but their concerns are issues that affect the world - land use, social policy, historic preservation, transportation, housing, economic development, policy planning, environmental protection, urban design and international development. Planners are visionaries working for a better future through improvements in the quality of life in one or more of these areas.

Admission Requirements

The application for the Master of Community Planning program requires: 

  • Professional résumé 

  • Unofficial Transcripts (to be uploaded with online application). Upon acceptance to the program, official transcripts, stating an undergraduate degree was conferred, must be submitted to complete the enrollment process. (For International Students: Official transcript evaluations from a NACES member organization are required.) 

  • Statement of purpose. This two-page paper should describe your broader goals within the field of planning, and why pursuing an MCP degree is the right path for you. Please also describe your significant academic experiences and touch on why you believe that you can successfully undertake graduate study. 

  • What Planning faculty members would you like to work with?

  • Applicants interested in a graduate assistantship should upload a one-page description of relevant skills and knowledge (such as teaching experience, computer programming, design software, statistics, languages, drafting/design, and knowledge of research tools such as SPSS or SAS) that could be utilized as a graduate assistant. Be sure to include some qualitative judgment of your skills, and describe how you have used these skills in prior academic/work experiences. 

  • International Students also need: TOEFL (Minimum score: 87), IELTS (Minimum score: 6.5), ELS (Minimum Level: 112), or Duolingo (Minimum score: 110) scores. 

  • A portfolio is optional 

Attention International Students: An important characteristic of the MCP program at the University of Cincinnati is that it is recognized as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree. Not all Master's degrees in planning have this designation. The importance of the STEM designation is that international students who graduate from a STEM program are given the opportunity to remain in the States for 3 years of OPT (Optional Professional Training) if they obtain a planning position. Non-STEM programs only allow an international graduate one year of OPT. 

People who are successful in urban planning tend to have the following qualities or characteristics: 

  • visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning ability

  • an interest in design combined with a heightened social consciousness

  • people-oriented outlook

  • strong communication skills and comfort in meeting with many different types of people 

  • understanding of the role of attentive listening in effective communication

  • a concern for difficult multidisciplinary issues and dedication to working collaboratively to solve them

  • an openness to international opportunities

The MCP degree prepares students for the professional practice of planning at local, regional, state, federal, and international levels of government, as well as within the private sector with a planning consultant, land developer, law firm, economic development agency/corporation, non-profit organization, or other related business. 

Master of Community Planning Program Coordinator: 

Dr. David Edelman, PhD


  • The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists.
  • UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is one of the most comprehensive colleges of its type in the country. A collection of nationally respected design and art programs is housed in a unique and educationally stimulating architectural setting. Students have opportunities to enroll in courses in a range of related disciplines and to participate in interdisciplinary studios or special projects.
  • Students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally.
  • Other educational opportunities include study abroad and certificate programs within the college and the university. Students are encouraged to share their interests in these opportunities with their academic advisor.
  • The Robert A. Deshon and Karl J. Schlachter Library for Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history, and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalogue, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
  • DAAP’s multiple labs, centers and initiatives support our programs and the creative work and research of our faculty, staff, and students

Complementary Certificates

Master of Community Planning students may wish to complement their degree with a certificate.

This GIS Certificate Program is designed to meet the needs of both the novice, and experienced GIS professionals. Students who graduate from this program will have a solid understanding of the theoretical of GIS and rich hands-on experience with GIS software packages.

This program is designed to develop an appreciation for and a working knowledge of the issues and techniques involved in historic preservation. The Certificate is awarded upon the successful completion of a minimum 18 semester credit hours, including a core curriculum of four required courses and an internship, and other courses, studios, or projects required by particular departments.

Public spaces are vital contributors to the physical design and the social fabric of urban areas. For centuries they have been platforms for public gatherings, both social and political, and for leisure activities. Sometimes artwork enhances or defines public space. Historically that art has typically commemorated events or people. More recently, temporary and quasi-permanent public art installations occupy public spaces. The process and the practice of art in public space is the focus of this graduate certificate program. All stakeholders in the process are considered: artists, community members, city planners, public and private sponsors, municipal government officials, and final users, amongst others. Physical, historical and socio-political context is also addressed.

The Real Estate certificate is designed to provide students with a foundational knowledge of real estate financing and management while also allowing them to customize their course work based on their individual goals and interests, such as real estate valuations and/or real estate investing.

The Urban Design Certificate will provide individuals with foundational knowledge about the art and science of cities through history to inform future visions for cities and places; introduce the skills and techniques to design livable, functional, and aesthetically appealing places in response to the current and future challenges of cities; and provide the ability to think critically, to encourage multidisciplinary solutions and appropriate sustainable design and management options that serve to promote harmony between the different facets of cities and places by considering them from a holistic perspective.

Application Deadlines

All application materials should be received prior to January 10 to ensure first consideration for a financial award from the School of Planning. Assistantships and scholarships are merit-based and extremely competitive. However, the School of Planning will accept applications not requesting financial consideration up to June 30 of each year to begin studies at the end of that month. 

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Master of Community Planning program is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, an organization formed jointly with the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

Contact Information

School of Planning
PO Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-4943

Find related programs in the following interest areas:

Program Code: 23MAS-CMPL-MCP