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 year are the following . . .
A. Post-graduation employment success. Of the 25 URSP students who graduated in 2015, by June of 2016 three were enrolled in Ph.D. programs and one in a second master’s program. Of the other 21 graduates, 20 had planning related jobs for a success rate of 95 percent. The 20 working graduates are in transportation, housing, economic development, land use planning, social services, design, consulting and other planning or related fields.
B. High ratings for our students who did internships in 2015-16. 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 2015-16 was 4.3 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’s second place in HUD’s 2016 Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) competition. In the HUD competition, URSP dual degree student Nicole Akpedeye (Architecture and Community Planning) and her four teammates from our School’s Master of Real Estate Development and Architecture Programs, defeated 80 other teams from graduate level U.S. programs. The full story is available at http://www.arch.umd.edu/mapp/news/terps-win-uli-hines-competition-second-year.
This success comes a year after URSP student Patrick Reed, along with four other of the School’s students, shared the $50,000 first prize in the Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Design Competition that included 160 teams. It was the second year in a row that a planning student was on a winning Hines competition team.
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 2016 period, our alumni’s pass rate was 87 percent (20 passes out of 23 tests), which is over 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 2015 URSP graduates who did not go on to do further graduate study, 95 percent were working in a planning-related by the summer of 2015. For students graduating in the Spring of 2014, 100 percent were working in a planning-related job within a year after graduating. .
4. What is the cost of the program for a full-time student for one academic year?
In the 2016-17 academic year, tuition is $651 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,404 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $427.50 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 8 or few credits a semester, and $769 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 $13,256 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 $35,234 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 graduated 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 thereby excludes those in dual degree program with Architecture, since it takes such students at four years to complete that program). In 2015, there were 24 graduates, which was 83% of those who started the program in 2012. 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.