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. URDSP 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.
For each of the above five categories, the mean scores for the URSP students who did their internships historically has been 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”.
3. URSP’s continued success in national interdisciplinary competitions:
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.
ULI Hines Student Competition A team of graduate students from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, including URSP student Alexis Robinson, made it to the final four in the fifteenth annual ULI Hines Student Competition in 2017, edging out 118 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 a real large-scale site in just two weeks. The full story is available at
This success comes two years 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. 2015 was the second year in a row that a planning student was on a winning Hines competition team.
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 2017. Designed by an interdisciplinary team of students at the University of Maryland, 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 cut-throat competitions over 9 days that evaluated each home’s performance, design, sustainability and market appeal.
2017-18 Tuition and Fees: In the 2017-18 academic year, tuition is $683 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,474 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $440.50 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 8 or few credits a semester, and $795 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 $13,884 to $17,982 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 $28,122 and $39,966 depending on how many credits the student takes.
Student Retention Rate:
Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2016 and continued into fall 2017: 91%
Student Graduation Rate:
Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2013: 76%
Number of Degrees Awarded:
Number of Degrees Awarded for the 2016-2017 Academic Year - 27
Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2012: 89%
Percentage of full time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2016: 95%