Prospective Students

Planetizen Top Ranked Planning School

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, 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.


Planetizen Selects University of Maryland as a Top Ranked Planning Program


In the most recent survey by Planetizen (released on October 3), planning educators ranked University of Maryland  19th out of the nation’s 100 programs.  In the survey we are the 8th ranked program in the Northeast, behind MIT, Cornell, Rutgers, Harvard, UPenn, Columbia and NYU.  We are ranked 15th for programs that allow part-time students.  Also, earlier this year Planetizen commissioned a study by Professor Tom Sanchez at Virginia Tech that ranked the University of Maryland’s planning program faculty as 9th in the nation in terms of scholarly publications by faculty, and 5th in terms of scholarly publications per capita per year.

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. Faculty specializations include housing and economic development, land use, growth management/sustainability, and transportation planning, and social planning.


Our faculty and students

Our faculty members are nationally and internationally respected in their fields. A recently-released report for Planetizen, a top website on U.S. planning issues, ranked our program in the top 10 of all U.S. graduate planning programs, in terms of cited faculty publications per capita. 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 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. 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


The Center recently led the effort to create the Program for Action Learning in Sustainability that, beginning in Fall 2015, applied 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.


Our School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will be having an open house for admitted students in October. You’ll get a chance to learn about our program and how we collaborate with the other programs in the School, and to talk with our faculty and students.  Please check our website for additional details in early fall. 


School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation team wins national ULI/Hines urban design competition for second consecutive year


On April 2015, 2nd year URSP student Patrick Reed, along with three graduate students in the University of Maryland’s Architecture Program and one in the School’s Master of Real Estate Program, shared the $50,000 first prize in the Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Design Competition.  The students won the top prize for their development plan for the two New Orleans neighborhoods.  There were 160 teams entered in the national competition.  The other semi-finalists included two teams from Harvard and combined team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  In 2014, URSP student Andrew Casavant was a member of the University of Maryland’s winning team in a Nashville, TN based competition.  The full story is available at



To learn more, please submit a graduate degree inquiry form.