The Urban Studies and Planning (URSP) Program at the University of Maryland brings together an active community of scholars and students to creatively confront the issues facing our cities. Through instruction, participation in research and community interaction, students explore the changing character and critical problems of modern urban development.
URSP offers the Master of Community Planning (M.C.P.), a professional degree accredited by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and the American Planning Association. More than 200 students have earned M.C.P. degrees since 1973, when the program began at the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus. The aim of the program is to prepare planning practitioners who will be generalists with a specialization. The core curriculum emphasizes student understanding of the political, institutional and social context in which professional planners develop and implement programs. Areas of specialization include local and community economic development, housing, land use and environmental planning, urban design, international urban and regional development, and social planning, organizing and administration.
College Park is an ideal location for studying the urban environment because of its proximity to the great cities of Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, DC. The historic state capital, a major industrial port, and the nation's capital are all within a 30-mile radius of campus. In addition, several planned communities, including Columbia, Greenbelt and Kentlands, are nearby in Maryland. The program's location enables students to intern at the international, national, regional, state and local levels of government.
A new feature of the program is the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, founded in the summer of 2000. The State of Maryland has attracted national attention with its innovative "Smart Growth" initiatives to control urban sprawl and promote city and inner-suburb revitalization. URSP is the lead unit of the multi-disciplinary center, which is conducting a variety of research, evaluation and educational activities related to growth management in general and "smart growth" in particular.
The 48-credit M.C.P. program includes required courses in the concepts, process, context and practice of planning, as well as specialization courses in an area of student interest. The program includes a studio (group planning practicum) and field placement. Students may complete the program full-time in two years or part-time in up to five years.