Urban Studies & Planning Program FAQ

What sort of background do I need?

All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. There is no restriction on the applicant's previous field of study and our students enter the program with a variety of previous experiences.


What are the admission requirements? Do I need to take the GRE?

Students are evaluated on a comprehensive basis that takes into account a variety of factors. We ask students to provide a statement of purpose, resume, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. A GRE score is not required.


Why Urban Planning at Maryland?

The Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland is located in College Park, Md., 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, D.C., 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).

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.

The program offers several dual degree options for students interested in increasing their knowledge base within the built environment, including architecture, historic preservation, law, landscape architecture, real estate development and public health.


How long is the course of study for the Urban Planning Program?

Students may pursue their master’s degree on a full or part-time basis. Full-time students are able to finish in two years. Part-time students can complete at their own pace up to five years. Full-time dual degree students in Community Planning and a second discipline can take anywhere from three to four years depending on the programs, but must be completed in five years.


What is the capstone of the community planning program?

The student capstone in the community planning program is two-fold. First, students are required to complete an internship relevant to their course of study. Second, students are required to engage in a 6-credit studio course centered on a community-based project. Students do have an option to write a final paper for thesis research credit.  


How many hours is the master's degree?

The MCP is a 48-hour degree program.


Do I get hands-on training?

Yes! Students engage in real-world urban planning challenges through their internship. Students also have the opportunity to work with local communities and stakeholders through the studio course and many of the other courses that are part of the program, as well as through competitions. One of the hallmarks of the program is its deep involvement with the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability, one of the largest active learning programs in the country, which pairs students and faculty with planning challenges throughout the state.


What types of financial aid or scholarships are available?

The Urban Planning Program provides graduate assistantship opportunities each semester, each of which provides tuition remission and a stipend in return for 10-hour or 20-hour per week work assignments. Students who receive a graduate assistantship with the program have the opportunity to receive an internship in their second year with a state agency.  TA/GA Information can be found here.  Please note that GA positions are also available through other University of Maryland departments, programs or offices. Several of our students have received part- or full-time GA positions in other campus programs in recent years. Notices and descriptions of these positions are available at https://ejobs.umd.edu under “Graduate Assistants”.   

More information on funding your graduate education can be found on the Graduate School website.


Are there jobs in Urban Planning?

Virtually every aspect of the built environment is shaped by urban planning. Our alumni go on to work in federal, state, and local government, non-profit, private firms and organizations. We boast a 95% placement rate of students prior to graduation.


Where do students live?

While currently there is no on-campus graduate housing at the University of Maryland, there are two all-graduate student housing options in close proximity to campus: Graduate Hills and Graduate Gardens. They are located on university property, but are managed by the private company, Southern Management Corporation. Many students choose to live in apartments closer to Washington or Baltimore and commute to campus.

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