The University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (MAPP) offers a unique combination of world-class resources, interdisciplinary opportunities, and intimate learning environments, all situated within easy reach of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis. The school houses five academic programs:
Urban Studies and Planning
Real Estate Development
PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Design
It also offers an exceptional number of interdisciplinary dual degrees that connect the academic programs within the school and across campus.
We believe that physical design and social environment are interrelated, and that best practice and research should reflect this interconnectedness. All of the school's programs benefit from a collaborative cross-disciplinary environment among faculty and students. Our mission is to create and preserve a sustainable built environment that promotes social justice, cultural value, resource conservation, and economic opportunity.
Welcome to the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (MAPP+), Maryland’s Built Environment School.
Through our programs in architecture, urban planning, real estate development, and historic preservation, we are dedicated to providing our students with the experiences and tools they will need to tackle today’s complex challenges and create just, beautiful and resilient places for all. Beginning with our first class of students in 1967, who built housing on the National Mall for Civil Rights protesters as part of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, we are committed to a legacy of collaborative and inclusive practice, social and environmental justice, and service to others.
As a land-grant institution, we take advantage of our real-world classroom to engage with communities throughout the region, but our reach is global. We plan, design, and build for—and with—the unique communities we serve across the globe. At MAPP+, our students learn to collaborate with community stakeholders, industry professionals, government agencies, and with other students and faculty across campus to help envision and create places that are resilient in the changing world. The Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), a campus-wide experiential learning program housed at MAPP+, pairs students and faculty with real projects and people in Maryland communities. Through PALS, our students have designed sustainable buildings to withstand sea level rise on Assateague Island, documented historic homes and cemeteries for preservation, created “green infrastructure” plans for South Baltimore, and crafted vibrant, equitable redevelopment plans for communities in Prince George’s County.
The power of adaptable people and places is more relevant now than ever as we respond to a confluence of forces that continue to shape where and how we live. MAPP+’s specialized research centers and labs explore pressing challenges in today’s built environment, including environmental resilience, gentrification, community placemaking, and small-business displacement. These experiences foster a deep understanding that prepares students to respond to wicked problems, from public health crises and climate change to racial and social injustices.
We are deeply committed to our students’ success, and work to develop exciting, relevant, and invaluable experiences through coursework, project work, and programming. Our students come from all over the world, bringing perspectives that enrich the culture at our school. As one of the smaller schools on Maryland’s campus, our students are afforded a tight-knit community and highly engaged faculty, while benefiting from the many opportunities that come with a large university. The bonds forged on campus last long after graduation and provide the supportive structure to nurture our graduates throughout their career.
Our students also benefit from an extended community of MAPP+ alumni—accomplished practitioners, scholars, designers, national figures, artists, and government leaders. Our alumni often return to campus to mentor, teach, and recruit our students for internships and post-graduate employment. MAPP+ advisory boards and its Board of Visitors—comprising alumni and accomplished practitioners from across the region—help guide the school’s mission to meet tomorrow’s professions, providing invaluable financial support and expertise.
Our faculty are thought leaders and sought-after experts in today’s national conversations. They can be found sharing their perspectives in the media as part of government advisory groups and think tanks, and working as award-winning practitioners. They are Fulbright scholars, Fellows in the American Institute of Architects, and GRIST fixers. Policymakers look to MAPP+ for guidance as they seek to craft policies that are responsive to today’s challenges.
The faculty and students at MAPP+ are known for problem-solving together across disciplinary boundaries. We compete in—and win—national and international competitions through interdisciplinary prowess and unconventional thinking. We have a formidable track record with the HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Competition, NAIOP Capital Challenge, the ULI Hines Student Design Competition and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Interdisciplinary coursework within the school is common, but so are opportunities to learn alongside peers from across the university; unique classroom and research opportunities pair our students with students and faculty in allied disciplines such as public health, law, neuroscience, landscape architecture, anthropology, engineering, and information sciences to explore innovative approaches to design, planning, and preservation challenges. We encourage our graduate students to pursue their passions through over a dozen interdisciplinary degree options. The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation offers more interdisciplinary dual degrees than any other college or school at UMD, and the largest number at any school in the country specializing in built environment-related studies.
We are committed to educating global scholars; immersing our students in the culture and daily life of other places affords them the perspective and sensitivity required for global stewardship in their professions. MAPP+ students enliven their educational experience by studying abroad in Italy, Scandinavia, China, and England, among other places. The study abroad tradition dates back to the program’s founders, who took all but one of the first graduating class (that student was expecting a baby!) to nine countries over the summer of 1971. MAPP+ has also established a number of global classrooms, where our students spend a semester virtually with students from partner universities around the world, including Iraq, Russia, and South Africa.
I invite you to come experience the activity, culture, and community at MAPP+ firsthand by exploring our website or visiting us in College Park.
Together, we are building the changemakers of tomorrow, and a resilient world for all—be a part of the change.
Dawn Jourdan, PhD,