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 score for URSP students has historically been four or above.


Student participation with Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS)

PALS is a campus-wide program that leverages the expertise and ingenuity of University of Maryland students and faculty to tackle specific, sustainability-related issues facing Maryland’s diverse communities. The PALS mission is to provide high quality, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating an active and valuable real-world learning experience for UMD students. Launched in 2014 as a partnership with The City of Frederick, Maryland, PALS has since expanded and collaborated with 20 different partners, ranging from community partnership groups and cities to county and state level entities. The program has engaged nearly 2,000 students and faculty to improve quality of life in Maryland through site-specific projects. The PALS program for the entire university is managed by the National Center for Smart Growth, in turn run by professors of our URSP Program. This often allows our master students opportunities to interact with students in other programs working together in multidisciplinary PALS projects.

Recently in URSP’s Creswell Project, a PALS project, students worked with Harford County in northern Maryland, a region where its rural character must reconcile with the need for new housing, to devise a framework for sustainable, strategic growth. Their final report was recognized by the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) for “Most Outstanding Student Project of 2019.” This project also won “Honorable Mention” in the 2020 APA Student Project Awards


URSP’s continued success and participation in national interdisciplinary competitions

Our students placed second in the HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) competition in 2020, and first in 2019 and 2018. 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, including planning students, 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. UMD has had teams participate in the competition in 2019 and 2020. 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.

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


2021-22 Tuition and Fees

In-State, Full-time student: $20,067
Non-Maryland Resident, Full-time student: $42, 579


Student Retention Rate

Percentage of students who began studies in Fall 2020 and continued into Fall 2021: 90%


Student Graduation Rate: 

Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2017: 70%


Number of Degrees Awarded: 

Number of degrees awarded for the 2020-2021 Academic Year - 20

AICP Certification:

Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2016: 100%



Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2020: 95%