Urban Studies and Planning
The Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland is located in College Park, an ideal place to study city and regional planning. We are with easy access of the industrial city of Baltimore, the nation's capital of Washington, DC, and the state capital, historic Annapolis. We are also in close proximity to such well-known planned communities as Greenbelt, MD, Columbia, MD, and Reston, VA, along with several highly-regarded examples of New Urbanism such as Kentlands and King Farm (both in Maryland).
Our location also contributes to the "hands-on" nature of our masters curriculum, which includes a community planning studio and an internship. Our interns can work in a diverse range of contexts, from international and national organizations, federal, state, and local governments, private consulting firms, and several innovative community-based organizations.
The Urban Studies and Planning Program brings together an active community of scholars and students to creatively confront the issues facing our cities and metropolitan regions. Through instruction, participation in research, and community interaction, students explore the changing character and critical problems of modern urban development. The curriculum emphasizes student understanding of the political, economic, institutional, and social context within which planners work with a diverse range of stakeholders to develop and implement plans, policies, and programs. Specializations include housing and economic development, land use, growth management and environmental planning, transportation planning, and social planning. These areas reflect our faculty members, who are nationally and internationally respected in their fields.
Our graduate students come from an array of undergraduate disciplines, including the social sciences, arts and humanities, and the physical sciences. Despite our different backgrounds, we share a commitment to analyze and address -- with creativity and rigor -- major issues facing metropolitan areas inside and outside the U.S. Our 48-credit hour curriculum can be completed in two years by full-time students, but we also have many students who work full-time in the Washington-Baltimore region and complete their degrees as part-time students. Our program is housed in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, which also supports graduate programs in Historic Preservation, Architecture, and Real Estate Development, as well as a Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design.
We are closely affiliated with the nationally-recognized Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, a non-partisan center for research and education on smart growth, sustainability, and related land use issues -- national and international. The Center conducts research in four general areas: land use and the environment; transportation and public health; housing and community development; and international development issues. The Center's Executive Director, Gerrit Jan Knaap, along with Center’s Associate Professor Chengri Ding, Associate Professor Casey Dawkins and Assistant Professor Hiroyuki Iseki, are URSP faculty members. Several of our master's students are employed as research assistants for the Center. Through its interdisciplinary research, outreach and education activities, the Center has established the University of Maryland as a national leader in this field.
In 2014 The Center created the Program for Action Learning in Sustainability in the Fall of 2014, where the talents of the University of Maryland students and faculty are being applied to specific, sustainability-related issues facing Maryland’s diverse communities. For more information the Smart Growth Center, visit www.smartgrowth.umd.edu, and for information on the PALS program, go to http://smartgrowth.umd.edu/PALS.html.
Director, Urban Studies and Planning Program
Program Performance Indicators
Additional Information and Progress Measures Re/ the Urban Studies and Planning Program
1. Indicators of Student Achievement
Three indicators of URSP student achievement in the past two years are the following . . .
A. Post-graduation employment success. Of the 26 URSP students who graduated in 2014, by June of 2015 one was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Columbia University and all 25 others were working in planning related jobs – a job success rate of 100 percent for that graduating class. The 25 working students are in transportation, housing, economic development, social services, design, consulting and other planning or related fields. Nearly two-thirds are working in Washington, DC or Maryland, while others are in California, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
B. High ratings for our students who did internships in 2014-15. After they have completed the URSP required courses, our students are eligible to do the required internship -- a one-semester, 20 hour per week planning-related job with a public or private office or firm. Students choose their internships in organizations or businesses that do the type of planning that students think they are interested in pursuing for their first post-graduate jobs. At the end of the internships, each interning student’s supervisor completes an evaluation form. The form asks the supervisor to identify the intern’s major strengths, ways in which the student could improve job performance, and then rank the student on a 1 to 5 point scale -- with 5 being “outstanding” -- in each of the following categories: a) accountability; b) quality of work; c) communication skills; interpersonal skills; and e) initiative.
For each of the above five categories, the mean scores for the URSP students who did their internships in 2014-15 was 4.2 or above. When asked if, based on their experience with the intern, they would hire another student from our program in future years, all of the supervisors responded with a “yes”.
C. URSP students on winning national urban design competition teams in both 2014 and 2015. On April 2015, URSP student Patrick Reed, along with three graduate students in the University of Maryland’s Architecture Program and one in the School’s Master of Real Estate Program, shared the $50,000 first prize in the Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Design Competition. The students won the top prize for their development plan for the two New Orleans neighborhoods. There were 160 teams entered in the 2015 national competition. The other semi-finalists included two teams from Harvard and combined team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2014, URSP student Andrew Casavant was a member of the University of Maryland’s winning team in a Nashville, TN based competition. The full story is available at http://www.arch.umd.edu/mapp/news/terps-win-uli-hines-competition-second-year
2. How well do URSP graduates do on the American institute of Certified Planners (AICP) professional exam, when they take the test within 3 years after graduation?
The answer is, in short, extremely well. In the 2010 to 2015 period, our alumni’s pass rate was 86.4%, (19 passes out of 22 tests) which is 10 points higher than the mean pass rate (of 76 %) of all U.S. planning programs.
3. What is the employment rate of URSP graduates in a professional planning or planning-related job within 1 year of graduation?
As mentioned above, for those 2014 URSP graduates who did not go on to do further graduate study, 100 percent were working in a planning-related by the summer of 2015. For students graduating in Spring 2013, 95 percent were working in a planning-related job within a year after graduating. For 2012 graduates the figure was 88 percent, the same percentage that it was in 2011.
4. What is the cost of the program for a full-time student for one academic year?
In the 2015-16 academic year, tuition is $632 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,363 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $423 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 8 or few credits a semester, and $760 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 9 or more credits in a semester. This means that, for a full-time student who is Maryland resident, the annual cost (Fall and Spring semester) will range from $12,896 to $16,688 depending on how many credits (between 18 and 24) that a student takes that year. For a full-time student who is a non-Maryland resident, the annual cost of tuition and fees will be between $26,054 and $34,232 depending on how many credits the student takes.
5. What are URSP student retention and graduation rates, and the number of degrees earned each year?
The following are the number of students who graduate in each of the past several years. Since at any given time, about a third of our students are part-time -- and take a longer than two years to
graduate -- the data include those students who graduated within 3 years of when they started. (This data excludes those in dual degree program with Architecture, since it takes such students at four years to complete that program). In 2014 there were 24 graduates, which was 89.0% of those who started the program in 2011. In 2013, there were 24 graduates, which was 92% of those who started the program in 2010. In 2012, there were 23 graduates, which is 88.5% of those who enrolled in 2009.