Master of Community Planning

Degree

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 and suburbs. Through instruction, participation in research and community interaction, students explore the changing character, critical problems, and significant opportunities of metropolitan areas.

 

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 450 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 housing and economic development, land use, growth management and environmental planning, transportation planning, and social planning.

 

College Park is an ideal location for studying the urban environment because of its proximity to the fascinating and very different 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.

 

Our program is closely affiliated with 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, smart growth and sustainability.

 

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.

Areas of Specialization

While URSP offers courses in a range of planning-related topics, the program’s faculty currently has particular specializations in three areas:  Local and Regional Economic Development, Land Use and Environmental Planning, and Transportation Planning. Students may declare alternative areas of specialization with the approval by their mentors.. Other areas in which students have specialized by taking courses in our program, in other UMD campus departments, and through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area are the following:  Housing; Community Development; International Urban and Regional Development Planning; and Social Planning, Organization and Administration.  (See a list of eligible specialization courses at UMD under the “curriculum” link.)  

At the present time, the following categories are those in which our faculty members offer a range of specialization courses. As course offerings are constantly changing, an up-to-date list of suitable courses in each area will be issued from time to time.
 
Local and Regional Economic Development
This specialty prepares students to work as economic development practitioners. The curriculum emphasizes understanding of the theory and practice of urban and regional economic development. It gives special attention to understanding the economy and market failures, location decisions of population and business, development models of regional growth and decline, development politics, and techniques for development planning.
 
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Students examine the history and practice of policies intended to regulate the amount, pace, location, pattern and quality of growth in U.S. metropolitan areas. Of particular concern are technical aspects, data requirements, legal and constitutional issues, cost effectiveness, political conflicts, equity concerns, socioeconomic impacts of land regulation, and implications for sustainability and resiliency.
 
Transportation Planning
This specialization prepares students to work in the area of transportation planning. The curriculum emphasizes an understanding of the theories, policies, and techniques related to the design, planning, and evaluation of transportation infrastructure and services. The curriculum gives special attention to the requirements necessary to support a multi-modal transportation system. Theories and methods focus on forecasting demand; assessing systems performance; connection between land use, urban form and urban design; understanding relationships with social and economic trends and the ties to other planning areas.

Tuition and Fees

Current tuition, fees and other expenses for degrees at the University of Maryland are posted on the Office of the Bursar website.

Visiting the School

The best way to learn more about the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation is to visit. Throughout the year, both the School and the University of Maryland invite prospective graduate students to attend our annual Graduate Open House. Whether you choose to visit the official open house day or to arrange a visit on another day, a visit will certainly help you decide if the University of Maryland is the place to start your future. You are welcome to attend classes or come to special lectures or other events.

 

• Make an appointment with the program director contact:


Jim Cohen
jimcohen@umd.edu
(301) 405-6795

 

or


Ruth Davis-Rogers
rdrogers@umd.edu
(301) 405-0753

 

• Attend a Prospective Students Open House (check for an upcoming open house in the News/Events page

Collapsed: 

To graduate, students must complete the following requirements, for a total of 48 credits:

•    24 credits of required courses;
•    9 credits in an area of specialization;
•    9 credits of free electives (some of which could also be in the area of specialization, could form a second specialization, or be in one or more other planning topic areas);
•    a 6-credit “capstone” studio course, offered during the academic year or the summer; and  
•    a “capstone” internship with a planning-related agency or organization.  The internship is to be for 300 hours, done in a regular semester or a summer session.  Interning students work 20 hours per week for 15 weeks in the internship.  There is no credit associated with the internship.

Also, prior to graduation, an MCP candidate has the option of writing, submitting, and receiving faculty approval of, a professional or academic paper that is well organized, logically argued, uses evidence appropriately, and shows a command of the English language.  This paper should be strong enough to warrant publication in an academic or professional publication and should show potential employers what the student is capable of.  Students also have the option of writing a master’s thesis.  Please note that neither a professional paper nor a thesis is required for graduation from our program.

Course requirement are detailed in the section below.  Prior to graduation, each MCP candidate has the option of submitting and receiving faculty approval for a professional or academic paper that is well organized, logically argued, uses evidence appropriately, and shows a command of the English language.  This paper should be strong enough to warrant publication in an academic or professional publication and should show potential employers what the student is capable of.