Master of Urban Planning and Development

Course of Study

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The MUPD Program curriculum includes twelve (4 credit hour) classes for a total of 48 semester hours. A full-time student can complete the program in two academic years. The program is structured to accommodate both full-time students and working part-time students. Most of our required classes are offered in the evenings, with some courses offered during summer sessions and weekends. The planning core consists of eight classes (32 credits), leaving four classes (16 credit hours) for electives. For those students so inclined, six specialization fields are offered, which require completion of three or more classes. Internships are available for elective credit. Courses taken in a specialization area, electives, or an internship must total 16 credit hours.

Required Planning Core Courses: (32 credit hours)
The planning core courses are required, and are designed to provide students with a solid analytical, methodological and theoretical basis for work in the planning specializations or elective courses.

The planning core includes three largely quantitative courses (Applied Quantitative Reasoning I, Public Finance and Economics, and Urban Spatial Structures), and four topical courses on key planning areas: Urban Planning, Urban Design, Planning Law and Development Process/Market Analysis. Students should strive to take UST 601 and 603 in their first or second semester. These classes should be completed prior to taking UST 605 and 610. After completing the balance of their coursework in electives and/or a specialization, students generally take the UST 611. This integrative course synthesizes the tools and skills around a collective project in a studio environment.

The planning core is as follows:

Core Courses Typical Schedule Offered

UST 601: Applied Quantitative Reasoning I

Fall, Spring, Summer

UST 603: Public Finance and Economics

Fall, Spring, Summer

UST 605: Urban Spatial Structures

Fall, Spring

UST 607: Introduction to Urban Planning

Fall, sometimes Summer

UST 608: Urban Design Seminar

Fall, Spring

UST 609: Planning Law

Spring only

UST 610: The Development Process/Market Analysis

Fall only

UST 611: Studio

Spring only

Areas of Specialization:
The Master of Urban Planning and Development Program offers six specializations in subfields of planning. Students generally complete a minimum of 16 credit hours in one of these optional specializations:

  • Housing and Neighborhood Development
    The specialization in Housing And Neighborhood Development provides an introduction to the planning, production, financing, and management of housing. It also analyzes housing policies and programs and legal issues that arise from these, as well as land use and zoning. It provides an overview of neighborhood planning, including housing, and the factors, policies and organizations that influence neighborhood development. This specialization will provide the necessary background for those interested in working for nonprofit community development corporations and housing providers, public agencies that engage in housing and neighborhood development activities, and for-profit development and planning organizations.
  • Economic Development
    The specialization in Economic Development introduces planning students to urban economic development. Economic development is focused on the process of creating jobs and wealth. It is the role of the private sector to create wealth by producing tradeable goods and services and engaging in these exchanges. It is the role of the public sector to facilitate and promote the creation of jobs and wealth by the private sector, and to ensure that it does so in a way that serves the short and long-term interests of the broad population. The economic development specialization helps planning students acquire the skills to responsibly invest public money on behalf of worthy job-creating ventures.
  • Real Estate Development and Finance
    The specialization in Real Estate Development and Finance focuses on financing built improvements in the urban environment. This focus is most often needed because the planner is responsible for providing or seeking government loans or grants. Types of urban development projects may include housing for sale, rental housing, retail/commercial investment property, office buildings, and industrial development. Because of brownfields and other problems in assembling and developing urban projects on previously used land, a typical real estate deal would have a financing “gap”. This specialization familiarizes the student with financing issues such as mortgage subordination, valuation, and tax issues so that these difficult multi-layered financing structures can be devised.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    The Specialization in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is designed to provide students with skills in the use of GIS, a computerized data base management system for capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial (locationally defined) data. GIS has been widely spread into fields such as land use, transportation, utility management, housing, emergency services, natural resource management, environment, demographics, public safety, and public health. The application of GIS technology in the planning context is becoming increasingly common as large and small planning offices begin to take advantage of all this information system has to offer. Through the GIS specialization, students gain both an understanding of the theoretical foundations of GIS, and hands-on experience in the use of this technology.
  • Environmental Sustainability
    The environmental sustainability specialization provides students with an understanding of concepts, methods, and practice in environmental planning. Environmental planning entails integration of ecological and human health concerns into other areas of planning, most particularly in land use decisions, land development regulation, ecological function (surface water, ground water, habitat, etc.) and ambient quality of life for humans. Environmental planners work on planning problems such as storm water management, land use and stream quality, wildlife habitat preservation, open space and parks, urban sprawl/growth management, air quality, land remediation, and water quality.
  • Historic Preservation
    The specialization in historic preservation introduces students to the context and techniques required to preserve America's material culture in its cities and countryside. Historic preservation in America as a movement began in the 1960s to protect buildings and sites with cultural, economic, or historic value from destruction or inappropriate renovation. Historic preservation planners work within a framework developed by the United States Secretary of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation with local, regional, and state governments and with nonprofit agencies and organizations.

Graduate certificate programs in the economic development, real estate development and finance, and GIS specializations are also offered through CSU and the College of Urban Affairs. Students may also be admitted only to the Certificate seeking program and earn a certificate in Urban Economic Development, Urban Real Estate Development and Finance, and Geographic Information Systems(GIS). Students should meet with the Graduate Advisor or the MUPD Program Director to plan their schedules.

Elective Credit:
Students who do not wish to specialize in a single area may fill out their program of study from a number of graduate classes. Four classes beyond the planning core are required. These may be in planning, public administration, or outside the College of Urban Affairs. These courses should be chosen in consultation with the Program Director.

An internship is not required; however, students without related work experience are encouraged to seek an internship placement. Paid and unpaid internships are arranged through Student Internships and Mentoring. Interested students may receive elective credit for internship work.