Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P.)

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 program offers both an accredited five-year Dual Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning (BSURP)/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree (Fast-Track Option), and an accredited MURP degree.

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. This program has a Strategic Plan.

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.

Urban and regional planning graduate students meeting and discussing plan documents.

Core areas of study include:

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)

Focus areas include:

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).

Admission Requirements

This document outlines the details for admission to our Masters programs.

Degree Requirements and Graduate Handbook

More information can be found under Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Degree Requirements and in our Graduate Handbooks

MURP Degree requires a total of 43 credits and can be achieved in two ways: Research Track (Plan A) or Professional Practice Track (Plan B). The foundation of the degree is contained in eight core courses (28 credits) required of all students:

  1. Urban planning core courses (28 credits):
    1. UP 801: Concepts and Issues in Planning and Development.
    2. UP 814: Applied Research Methods for Planning and Development.
    3. UP 823: Urban Land Management and the Environment.
    4. UP 824: Geographic Information Systems and Design Tools for Planning.
    5. UP 844: Planning Theory and Ethics.
    6. UP 854: Economics of Planning and Development.
    7. UP 865: Planning and Development Law.
    8. UP 894: Planning Practicum. 
  1. In addition to the core courses, all students take nine credits of Approved Electives (UP/PDC courses at or above 400 level).

Additional Requirements for the Research Intensive Track (Plan A)

Students are expected to write a Masters Thesis. This is a two-step process whereby the student must enroll in UP 889 Masters Research for two (2) credits with their major faculty advisor who will chair their research before they can enroll in four (4) credits of UP899 Master's Thesis Research or additional elective courses usually in their second year. A maximum of six (6) credits can be taken in UP889 and UP899.

Additional Requirements for the Professional Practice Track (Plan B)

Students choose six (6) additional credits from the list of approved electives (UP/PDC courses at or above 400 level). If a student wishes to take electives not already approved by the program, they must get approval from the Program Director or their major research professor.

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 (This sequencing is modified for Fast Track MURP Option candidates.). Courses taken out of sequence may result in a longer time to degree. 

Students are encouraged to consider the URP Study Abroad program titled European Planning and Practice" offered during the summer semester in odd years (2021, 2023, 2025) for their six credit electives. The program is usually three to four weeks long and includes study in Germany and one or two additional European countries.

 

Year 1 Year 2
Fall 1 Credits Spring 1 Credits Fall 2 Credits Spring 2 Credits
UP 801 4 UP 814 4 UP 844 3 UP 894 4
UP 823 3 UP 865 3 UP 854 4 Electives 3
UP 824 3 UP 400 3 UP 889 (Plan A) 2 UP 899 (Plan A) 4
Electives 3 Electives (Plan B) 3 Electives (Plan B) 3
Total Credits 10 Total Credits 13 Total Credits  9-10 Total Credits 10-11
 

Career Opportunities

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

 

Contact Us

School of Planning, Design and Construction
517-432-0704
Human Ecology Building, Room 101

Meet Your Advisor

For academic, research and program-related inquiries.

Zenia Kotval Ph.D., FAICP

Zenia Kotval Ph.D., FAICP

Professor and Program Director, Urban & Regional Planning
kotval@msu.edu
517-353-9362

Graduate Program Assistant

For application, admission and administrative inquiries.