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. The Center recently led the effort to create the Program for Action Learning in Sustainability that, beginning in Fall 2014, will apply the talents of the University of Maryland students and faculty to specific, sustainability-related issues facing Maryland’s diverse communities. In addition, a large grant to our program from the U.S. Economic Development Administration is enabling URSP faculty members and students to conduct investigations that support job creation and economic growth. Our program's affiliations enable our students to take advantage of a rich interdisciplinary environment.
The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education is 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. Research Professor Uri Avin and Faculty Research Associate Chao Liu also teach courses for us. Dr. Fred Ducca and Faculty Research Associate Rolf Moeckel are also connected to our program. 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. For more information, visit www.smartgrowth.umd.edu.
Director, Urban Studies and Planning Program
Additional Information and Progress Measures Re/ the Urban Studies and Planning Program
1. What is an example of current URSP student achievement?
One measure of our students’ achievements is the number of students who give presentations at the most recent local and regional conferences of the American Planning Association (APA), and at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference). Three URSP students (Alison Wakefield, Eli Knaap, and Matthew Tingstrom) gave presentations at the most recent ACSP conference (in November 2012). Two URSP students (Alex Hutchinson and Allison Forbes) presented papers at the APA conference in April 2013 in Chicago, and five students (Christina Huidobro, Michael Limburg, Allison Forbes, Dario Alvarez and Alison Wakefield did a poster session at the same conference. Seven (7) of our students gave presentations at the most recently-held Maryland / Delaware APA conference. Highlights of the students’ presentations are available at http://umdspa.com/2012/10/19/umd-planning-students-ignite-the-night/. Among the attendees of the URSP students’ presentations were APA CEO Paul Farmer, APA President Mitch Silver, and Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall. The topics of the students presentations included urban agriculture in Cuba (by Dario Alvarez, who went to Cuba to do his research in the summer of 2012) and Olivia Ceccarelli, who discussed URSP’s involvement in the training of high school students who conducted a community audit of walkability, bike-ability, and environmental quality in their town of Bladensburg, MD.
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 2008 to 2011 period, our alumni’s pass rate was 90.9%, which was 16.1 points higher than the mean score (of 74.8%) of all U.S. planning programs. The pass rate has been similar since that period: in May of 2013, the pass rate was 100% and in 2012, the pass rate was 87.5%.
3. What is the employment rate of URSP graduates in a professional planning or planning-related job within 1 year of graduation?
For those 2010 URSP graduates who did not go on to do further graduate study, 88 percent were working in a planning-related job within a year of graduation. For 2011 graduates the percentage was 81 percent, and for 2012 graduates it was also 88 percent.
4. What is the cost of the program for a full-time student for one academic year?
In the 2013-14 academic year, tuition is $573 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,236 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $403.15 per semester for both in-state and out-of state students who take 8 or few credits a semester, and $723 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 $11,120 to $15,198 depending on how many credits (between 18 and 24) that a student takes that year. For a student who is not a Maryland resident, the annual cost of tuition and fees will be between $23,054 and $31,110 depending on how many credits the full-time 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 three 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 2013, there were 24 graduates, which was 92% of those who started the program in 2010. In 2012, there were 22 graduates, which is 88% of those who enrolled in 2009. In 2011 there were 22 graduates, which is 92 percent of those starting the program in 2008.