Practicum Course

A cornerstone of our practical engagement with communities is our Capstone Practicum Course. Practicum allows us to involve university faculty and students to work on community issues with community partners for an entire semester. It is the perfect example of service learning that exposes students to both the research and outreach side of planning issues.

The faculty in MSU Urban & Regional Planning Program are unanimous in their support of the Planning Practicum course as an important method for integrating classroom work and pragmatic planning in “real world” situations. This experience is essential in the progression from student to trained practitioner.

The following goals have been established for the Practicum course:

  1. To master basic techniques concerning data collection, interviewing, field work, map making and report writing.
  2. To apply analytical techniques needed to create an understanding of the state of a community and the problems in question.
  3. To have the student gain a thorough knowledge of planning processes and experience in the establishment of participatory procedures, which are applied for the duration of the project.
  4. To apply the basic inventory and analytical techniques, which have been taught within the context of the project in question.
  5. To gain experience in the development of recommendations for implementation in the following areas: regulation, (e.g., zoning), process (e.g., special permits) and funding (e.g., capital improvements, grants).
  6. To prepare near-professional quality reports and graphics.
  7. To present the materials before client groups.
    Students in Practicum Presentation
    Students in Practicum Presentation

There are a few criteria that must be met to ensure a successfully experience both for the community, as well as the students. Following is a list of requirements asked of communities who participate in UC outreach projects:

  • Require an established community partner to provide feedback and guidance for the duration of the project.
  • Require modest matching funds to meet expenses. Typically this ranges from $3000-$5,000 depending on the project.
  • If the UC has the capacity to meet a community’s request, and it falls within our mission, we will match you with a group of undergraduate and graduate students who will carry out the project under the direction of MSU professors.
  • The UC will work with communities to help you stay involved in the project, and to make sure that it continues to meet your needs to the greatest extent possible within the allotted time frame. Generally, a project is completed in one semester and usually during the Spring semester (January to May).
  • The UC will make a final presentation to your community and your partners, and present you with a final report, which your community may use to help carry out your project.

Download the Practicum RFP and Request Form

For more information on responsibilities, requirements and how to apply, download the Practicum RFP and Request Form. Applications are due annually by November 20. Notifications are made by December 15. Projects will run January through May.

The MSU Urban & Regional Planning Practicum Experience

URP Practicum Project on the US-23 South Plan

Red Cedar River Corridor Trail Plain

2024 Practicum Projects

  • Civic Park Neighborhood Renaissance Plan

    Published on June 12, 2024
    The City of Flint, Michigan, engaged Michigan State University’s Urban and Regional Planning Practicum to create an implementation plan for the Civic Park Neighborhood.

  • Downtown Utica Sub-Area Plan

    Published on June 12, 2024
    This report focuses on ways to revitalize Utica’s downtown to improve connectivity, streetscape, and downtown form.

  • East Lansing Student Engagement

    Published on June 12, 2024
    The City of East Lansing is interested in student input for its 2024 East Lansing Comprehensive Plan Update.

  • Ladybug Sustainable Community

    Published on June 12, 2024
    The Ladybug Sustainable Community project in Lansing, Michigan, is a pioneering initiative aimed at creating an inclusive, environmentally sensitive urban agri-community.

  • Morningside Housing Revitalization Strategy

    Published on June 12, 2024
    Organizations in the community of Morningside - a neighborhood located on the eastside of Detroit, MI - who work to improve housing conditions and increase homeowner education are seeking further research to assess community housing needs.

  • St. Johns Gateway Improvement Plan Executive Summary

    Published on June 12, 2024
    The goals of this project aim to introduce strategies focusing on land repurposing and economic development on the project site to improve the St. Johns community.

2023 Practicum Projects

2022 Practicum Projects

2021 Practicum Projects

2020 Practicum Projects

2019 Practicum Projects

2018 Practicum Projects

View Practicum Projects Archive



melvindale poster

Melvindale Economic Development Strategy Executive Summary and Poster

December 31, 2018

An examination of the City of Melvindale, with a socio-economic profile and economic development strategy that can be built into their master plan.