Urban Planning and Community Development, MS

The Urban Planning and Community Development (UPCD) MS degree program focuses on the multi-dimensional and interrelated issues facing the metropolitan areas of the commonwealth as well as the increasingly urbanized areas of the nation and the world. The program prepares students to become practitioners in the planning profession with essential technical, process, and communications skills.

What It Is | Who It's For | What You'll Learn | Requirements

What It Is

The Urban Planning and Community Development program brings together the expertise of faculty from several colleges within the university and builds upon decades of research and community engagement by the university’s institutes and centers, which collectively focus on the metropolitan area’s diverse population, governance, and its built and natural environments. In addition, the program takes advantage of partnerships with community-based organizations to promote economic development, affordable housing, and small business development, with a deliberate agenda to address social and environmental inequity and serve the needs and interests of underrepresented communities.

Who It's For

The graduate degree in urban planning and community development is open to those with baccalaureate degrees in a wide range of fields, e.g., environmental sciences, political science, sociology, economics, public policy, architecture, and management. The program is structured to be convenient to working professionals.

What You'll Learn

Students will gain an understanding of human settlements drawing from concepts and theories from social and environmental sciences; the spatial structure of urban and regional systems; economics of development; the legal framework of constitutional principles and rights; state and municipal law and regulations; the institutions and political processes associated with plans and planning; infrastructure; and public finance.

Students will be exposed to the tools for implementation of planning as well as the skills to:


Major Required (Core) Courses (Total courses required = 9)
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
History and Theory of the City and Urban Planning
UPCD 600 History and Theory of Urban Planning 3
UPCD 611 The City in History 3
ECON 610L Political Economy 3
Research Methods and Techniques
UPCD 620 Analytic Skills for Urban Planning Community Development I: Statistics 3
PAFG 621L Analytic Skills for Urban Planning and Community Development II: Research Methods 3
ENVSCI 623L Introduction to GIS 3
UPCD 630 Urban Information and Institutional Systems 3
Urban Ecosystems and Professional Practice
UPCD 631 Land Use Controls 3
UPCD 632 Law, Ethics and Practice in Urban Planning  
  Subtotal # Core Credits Required 27
UPCD 750 Planning Studio 6


Concentration and Elective Course Choices (Total courses required = 5)
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
Concentration Courses
Environmental Planning
UPCD 667 Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment 3
UPCD 701 Urban and Regional Environmental Planning 3
ENVSCI 718L Environmental Law 3
Community Development
UPCD 720 Community Development for Urban Planners 3
UPCD 721 Social/Class/Multicultural Goals in Community Development 3
UPCD 622 Citizen Participation and the Right to the City 3
Rebuilding Sustainable Communities Planning in Times of Crisis
CRSCAD 601L Social Vulnerability to Disasters 3
CRSCAD 602L Climate Change, Global Food and Water Resources 3
CRSCAD 603L Topics in Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters 3
Elective Courses
Environmental Planning
MGT 671L  Introduction to Environmental Management 3
ENVSCI 670L Environmental and Energy Economics 3
ENVSCI 674L Climate Change and Energy: Law, Policy and Management 3
Community Development
MBAMGT 687L Nonprofit Management 3
UPCD 724 Urban Economics and Housing Policies 3
UPCD 622 Contemporary Community Development 3
Rebuilding Sustainable Communities Planning in Times of Crisis
CRSCAD 621L Human Dignity, Human Rights and Sustainable Post-Disaster 3
CRSCAD 624L Survival Skills for the 21st Century: Developing Personal, Organizational & Community Resiliency Skills 3
CRSCAD 643L The Political Economy of International Migration 3
  Subtotal # Concentration Credits Required 15


Curriculum Summary
Total number of courses required for degree 14 plus Planning Studio
Total credit hours required for degree 48