The Urban Studies and Planning Program's Master of Community Planning (MCP) degree is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). The PAB accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning. PAB standards are developed with input from the public and sponsoring organizations, including the American Planning Association (APA), APA’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). The MCP was first accredited by the PAB in 1984, and the program's most recent accreditation review was conducted in the fall of 2019.


Student Achievement

Indicators of URSP student achievement are the following...


High ratings for our students who did internships. 

After they have completed the URSP required courses, our students are eligible to complete a mandatory internship -- a one-semester, 20-hour-per-week planning-related job with a public or private office or firm. Students choose their internships in organizations or businesses that do the type of planning they are interested in pursuing for their first post-graduate job. At the end of the internship, each student’s supervisor completes an evaluation form. The form asks the supervisor to identify the intern’s major strengths and ways in which the student could improve job performance. They then rank the student on a 1 to 5 point scale -- with 5 being “outstanding” -- in each of the following categories: a) accountability; b) quality of work; c) communication skills; interpersonal skills; and e) initiative. The mean annual scores for URSP students has historically been four or above.


URSP’s continued success in national interdisciplinary competitions

Our students placed first in the HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) competition in 2019 and 2018, and placed second in 2020.Maryland’s 2020 project adeptly addressed the significant need for affordable housing in a fast-growing part of Santa Fe, New Mexico, offering a high-density, vibrant, community-focused scheme in the spirit of Santa Fe’s Southwestern architectural heritage. Called Nueva Acequia, the interdisciplinary project initially beat out 32 entries from some of the finest and most prestigious graduate-level programs in the United States to gain a coveted finalist slot. The full story is available here.

A team of graduate students from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation made it to the final four in the ULI Hines Student Competition in 2018, edging out 130 teams from 60 of the finest and most prestigious graduate-level programs in the United States and Canada. The ULI Hines Student Competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of graduate students to create a dynamic design and development solution for an actual large-scale site in just two weeks. The full story is available here.

Our success in the Hines competition comes one year after a UMD team made it to the final four in the 2017 ULI Hines competition, edging out 118 teams. This team included URSP student Alexis Robinson. In 2015, URSP student Patrick Reed, along with four other students from our School, shared the $50,000 first prize in the Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Design Competition that included 160 teams. 2015 was the second year in a row that a planning student was on a winning Hines competition team.

In 2018, URSP Graduate Student Sofie Rhoads and Architecture Graduate Student Rick Fairhurst were selected as finalists for their innovative, modular “garage of the future” in the International Parking Institute’s Parking Solutions Competition. The full article can be found here.

A group of UMD students took second place at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in 2017 for their work on a solar-powered house that blended Native American principles with cutting-edge technologies and modular design. Designed by an interdisciplinary team of students, including dual degree student Malik Johnson-Williams (Architecture and Community Planning), the entry, called reACT, beat nine other teams from academic institutions around the globe, and was the number-one U.S. entry in that year’s competition. The teams competed in 10 competitions over nine days that evaluated each home’s performance, design, sustainability and market appeal.


2018-19 Tuition and Fees

In-State, Full-time student: $18,828.00
Non-Maryland Resident, Full-time student: $ 38,772.00

In the 2018-19 academic year, tuition was $717 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,548 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $449 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 8 or fewer credits a semester, and $810 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 9 or more credits in a semester. This means that, for a full-time student who is a Maryland resident, the annual cost (Fall and Spring semester) will range from $14,526 to $18,828, depending on how many credits (between 18 and 24) that a student takes that year. For a full-time student who is a non-Maryland resident, the annual cost of tuition and fees will be between $29,484 and $38,772, depending on how many credits the student takes.


Student Retention Rate

Percentage of students who began studies in Fall 2017 and continued into Fall 2018: 95.2%


Retention and Graduation: 

Student Retention Rate: Percentage of students who began studies in Fall 2017 and continued into Fall 2018: 95.2%

Student Graduation Rate: Percentage of students graduating within four years, entering class of 2014: 73.1%

Number of Degrees Awarded for the 2017-2018 Academic Year - 25


AICP Certification:

Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within five years who pass, graduating class of 2013: 83%



Percentage of full time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2017: 95%