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 Associate 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 (PALS) 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.
Director, Urban Studies and Planning Program
Program Performance Indicators
Three indicators of URSP student achievement in the past year are the following . . .
1. Post-graduation employment success. URSP students continue to have a success rate of 95% or higher in finding full time positions after graduation. URSP graduates are in transportation, housing, economic development, land use planning, social services, design, consulting and other planning or related fields.
2. High ratings for our students who did internships. 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. The mean annual scores for URSP students who did their internships has historically been 4 or above.
3. URSP’s continued success in national interdisciplinary competitions. Our students placed first place in the HUD 2018 Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) competition. The 2018 competition challenged students from the four finalist teams to create a community plan to address the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities. URSP student Sacsheen Scott, URSP dual degree student Lauren Gilmartin (Architecture and Community Planning), and three teammates from our School’s Master of Real Estate Development and Architecture programs, placed above 40 other teams from graduate programs nationwide. The full story is available at http://www.arch.umd.edu/mapp/news/umd-wins-hud-affordable-housing-competition. This victory comes just two years after the UMD team, including URSP dual-degree student Nicole Akpedeye (Architecture and Community Planning) and her four teammates took second place in the 2016 HUD’s competition, placing above 80 other teams.
A team of graduate students from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, including URSP student Sophie Rhoads, made it to the final four in the ULI Hines Student Competition in 2018, edging out 130 teams from 60 of the finest and most prestigious graduate-level programs in the United States and Canada. The ULI Hines Student Competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of graduate students to create a dynamic design and development solution for an actual large-scale site in just two weeks. The full story is available at
Our success in the Hines competition comes one year after the UMD team made it to the final four in the 2017 ULI Hines competition, edging out 118 teams. This team included URSP student Alexis Robinson. In 2015, URSP student Patrick Reed, along with four other students from our School, shared the $50,000 first prize in the Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Design Competition that included 160 teams. 2015 was the second year in a row that a planning student was on a winning Hines competition team.
URSP Graduate Student Sofie Rhoads and Architecture Graduate Student Rick Fairhurst were selected as finalists for their innovative, modular “garage of the future” in the International Parking Institute’s Parking Solutions Competition. The full article can be found here: http://www.arch.umd.edu/mapp/news/%E2%80%9Cgarage-future%E2%80%9D-earns-...
ReACT Solar Decathlon, a solar-powered house that blends Native American principles with cutting-edge technologies and modular design, won second place at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in 2017. Designed by an interdisciplinary team of students at the University of Maryland, including dual degree student Malik Johnson-Williams (Architecture and Community Planning), the entry, called reACT, beat nine other teams from academic institutions around the globe, and was the number-one U.S. entry in this year’s competition. The teams competed in 10 competitions over 9 days that evaluated each home’s performance, design, sustainability and market appeal.
2018-19 Tuition and Fees
In the 2018-19 academic year, tuition is $717 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,548 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $449 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 8 or few credits a semester, and $810 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 $14,526 to $18,828 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 $29,484 and $38,772 depending on how many credits the student takes.
Student Retention Rate
Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2017 and continued into fall 2018: 95.2%
Student Graduation Rate
Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2014: 73.1%
Number of Degrees Awarded
Number of Degrees Awarded for the 2017-2018 Academic Year - 25
Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2013: 83%
Percentage of full time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2017: 95%