URP Graduate Degrees

Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP)

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree program is nationally recognized by the Planning Accreditation Board; our alumni enjoy competitive starting salaries in a wide variety of fields across the United States and the world.

The primary goal of the MURP degree is to facilitate the development of technical skills and intellectual qualities necessary for students to meet the broad and varied range of problems associated with urban and regional development. It is intended that, upon completion of graduate study, that students should be able to enter the profession as competent practitioners and be able to learn and improve throughout his or her career so as to respond to the changing needs of society and the profession.

We strive to help students develop basic knowledge of the history and theory of planning, presentation techniques, legal and administrative procedures and their applications, and technical skills in survey, research and analysis of the structure and growth of communities. The graduate program offers strengths in community economic development, environment and sustainability, transportation, health, housing and real estate in a global context.

Students use our core curriculum as a foundation, and then tailor the program to their interests and needs.

Those enrolled in this degree develop an advanced knowledge of the history and theory of planning, presentation techniques, legal and administrative procedures and their applications, and technical skills in survey, research and analysis of the structure and growth of communities.

The MURP curriculum comprehensively integrates knowledge, skills, values and ethics to educate our future generation of planners. The MURP curriculum is designed to prepare graduate students for a changing future: It provides them the analytical and research capabilities to be innovative and adaptive in diverse environments and in changing societies. It provides them with skills to be leaders. The curriculum also prepares students to meet a broad range of problems associated with the urban and regional development. Unlike a student graduating with a bachelor's degree who is prepared for an entry-level planning position, upon completion of graduate study, the MURP graduate student should be able to enter the profession as a more advanced practitioner, capable of responding to future and changing needs of society and the profession.

Current faculty research and teaching expertise covers a wide range of planning subjects, including urban design; land use planning; land use law; housing; community, economic and real estate development; research methods; international development; transportation; environmental planning; and public policy.

What Are Core Areas of Study?

The foundation of the degree is contained in eight core courses:

  • Planning and Development.
  • Land Management and the Environment.
  • Applied Research Methods.
  • Geographic Information Systems.
  • Planning Theory and Ethics.
  • Economics of Planning.
  • Planning Law.
  • Planning Practicum (capstone).

What Focus Areas Are Offered?

Students pursuing this degree will have opportunities to focus on topics, including:

  • Community and economic development.
  • Environmental planning and policy.
  • Urban transportation planning.
  • Housing and real estate development.
  • Geographic information systems.
  • Healthful urban environments.
  • International development.
  • Environmental and resource economics.
  • Planning law – dual degree option (MURP-JD).

What Are Career Opportunities?

  • Planning departments and agencies.
  • Community development organizations.
  • Housing and real estate firms.
  • Environmental planning.
  • Policy-making.
  • Consulting.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MURP program does not require prior urban planning coursework and is designed to build on undergraduate strengths.

We encourage students from various backgrounds and different stages in their professional careers to apply. We take into account a number of factors including:

  • A personal statement about your interest in the program.
  • Undergraduate GPA.
  • Letters of recommendation.

Ideal students are those with strong intellectual ability; good written and verbal communication skills; basic statistical methods and have demonstrated a proven potential for leadership in the field of urban and regional planning.

Degree Requirements

The degree requirements include a set of core courses, which are designed to provide essential knowledge and understanding to function as a planning professional. The second part of the program requires students to choose an area in which they wish to focus their studies. This requirement provides flexibility within the program to allow students to develop expertise and competency within a certain area of planning practice. Students may speak with an advisor to develop a specific area of study within the program or university.

The MURP program culminates in an intensive practicum course that applies the full range of planning skills, with students then completing
the degree with a research thesis (Plan A) or comprehensive exam (Plan B).

The MURP curriculum comprises 43 credits that can start in the fall or spring semesters. It requires a minimum of two-year, full-time study. According to MSU Graduate School guidelines, nine credits constitute one full-time academic semester. Searchable course descriptions are available online. Below is the suggested sequencing of courses for MURP students which would allow for students to complete the degree in four semesters. Courses taken out of sequence may result in a longer time to degree.

Suggested Course Sequence for MURP Students Entering in Fall 2016 Semester
Fall 1 Cr Spring 1 Cr Fall 2 Cr Spring 2 Cr
801 4 814 4 854 4 894 4
823 3 865 3 844 3 899 or
Elective
3
824 3 Elective 3 899 or
Elective
3 Elective 3
Elective 3
TOTAL per Semester
10 13 10 10
TOTAL MURP DEGREE CREDITS 43

 

Suggested Course Sequence for MURP Students Entering in Spring 2017 Semester
Spring 1 Cr Fall 1 Cr Spring 2 Cr Fall 2 Cr
814 4 801 4 894 4 854 4
865 3 823 3 Elective 3 844 3
Elective 3 824 3 899 or
Elective
3 899 or
Elective
3
Elective 3
TOTAL per Semester
10 13 10 10
TOTAL MURP DEGREE CREDITS 43

Master's Handbook and Academic Program Area of Study

Download the MURP Handbook (2015, 2016, 2017). All graduate students must complete and have a signed 2016 Academic Program of Study on file with the School. Note: This PDF is an Acrobat form and must be opened with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If a “Please wait…” page pops up when you clicked the PDF link, then go back to the previous page and simply right-click on the link from your browser and select save. Then, you can open up the file using your Adobe Acrobat Reader software. Students should consult with their faculty advisor and file original and amended forms as appropriate.

Planning, Design and Construction - Doctor of Philosophy (Urban and Regional Planning Concentration)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in urban and regional planning in SPDC focuses on leadership in analyzing and creating our future built environment. The doctoral program offers strengths in community economic development, environment and sustainability, transportation, health, housing and real estate in a global context.

Graduates of the PhD program will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the effects of plans, regulations, design, materials, project management techniques and construction systems on the economic, environmental and social concerns of stakeholders and society.

Those enrolled in this degree develop an advanced knowledge of the history and theory of planning, analytical methods and dissertation research that exemplifies excellence and leadership in the field.

Doctoral students work with their supervisors and committee members to plan a course of study that builds on current strengths and adds expertise in core areas of urban planning.

What Are Core Areas of Study?

The foundation of the degree is contained in two introductory courses and a program of study designed to provide Ph.D. candidates with the expertise needed to undertake successful and rigorous applied research.

What Focus Areas Are Offered?

Students pursuing the PhD define their focus in consultation with faculty, with common areas of interest, including:

  • Sustainable and resilient cities.
  • Urban transportation planning.
  • Housing and real estate development.
  • Urban health and food security.
  • International development.
  • Environmental science and policy.
  • Community and economic development.
  • Hazard and disaster management, and planning.

What Are Career Opportunities?

  • Academic positions.
  • Planning departments and agencies.
  • State and federal government.
  • Housing and real estate firms.
  • Consulting.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the PhD program with an urban planning focus requires a prior degree in planning or a related field. We encourage students from various backgrounds and different stages in their professional careers to apply.

We take into account a number of factors, including:

  • A personal statement about your interest in the program.
  • Prior degrees and grade point averages.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Professional experience.

Prospective PhD students are encouraged to reach out to our urban & regional planning faculty members to champion their applications.

Degree Requirements

The PhD Curriculum culminates in a dissertation that represents state-of-the-art analysis combined with practical applications. This is a 45-credit program that can start in fall or spring semesters.

PhD Student Handbook

Download the PhD Student Handbook (2015, 2016, 2017) for more information.

Meet Your Advisors

Student Services Office
(517) 432-3393
Human Ecology Building, Room 102

Master's Degree

Photo of Professor Mark Wilson.Mark Wilson, PhD
Professor and Program Leader, Urban & Regional Planning
Human Ecology Building, Room 113
(517) 353-9056
wilsonmm@msu.edu 

 

PhD Degree

Prospective PhD students are encouraged to reach out to our urban & regional planning faculty members to champion their applications.

Helpful Links

For application and admission information, visit The Graduate School and the Office of Admissions.

For more information about planning or planning resources, visit the Michigan Association of Planning.

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