An ideal place to get a planning degree
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 master’s 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. Because of our internship requirements, our students have planning job experience by the time they graduate.
Our 48-credit hour curriculum can be completed in two years by full-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.
Post-graduation employment success.
Of the 26 URSP students who graduated in 2014, by June of 2015 one is enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Columbia University and all 25 others are 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.
Our curriculum and specializations
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. Students may specialize in housing and community development, economic development, environmental planning, and transportation planning.
Our faculty and students
Our faculty members are nationally and internationally respected in their fields. A recently published study ranked our program in the top 10 of all North American graduate planning programs, in terms of the median number of cited faculty publications. The same study put Maryland in the top five (5) planning programs for annual cited publications per capita. Our graduates are very successful in securing employment after graduation, and in passing the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) exam. Data on student graduation rates, success in finding employment within a year of graduation, and performance on the AICP exam, are available under the “Performance Indicators” section on our program homepage.
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 connection with the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education
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 five general areas: community development, international planning and urban management, land use, smart cities and transportation. The Center's Executive Director, Gerrit Jan Knaap, along with Professor Casey Dawkins, Associate Professor Hiroyuki Iseki, and Assistant Professor Willow Lung-Amam, are URSP faculty members. Research Professor Uri Avin also teach courses for us, and Dr. Fred Ducca is 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.umdsmartgrowth.org.
The Center recently led the effort to create the Program for Action Learning in Sustainability that applies 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.
To learn more, please submit a graduate degree inquiry form.