An ideal place to get a planning degree
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).
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 on-the-job experience in planning by the time they graduate.
Our 48-credit hour curriculum can be completed in two years by full-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 PhD program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design.
Post-graduation employment success
We regularly reach out to our alumni to collect current employment data from our most recent graduates. Among those who graduated in 2018, 95% have obtained professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation. Our graduates go on to work in both private and public sectors, applying their knowledge in transportation, housing, economic development, social services, design, consulting and other planning or related fields. In addition, many students pursue higher education to prepare for teaching and research positions at the university level.
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. Students may specialize in housing and community development, economic development, environmental planning, and transportation planning.
Our faculty and students
Our faculty members are nationally and internationally respected in their fields. A recently published study ranked our program in the top 10 of all North American graduate planning programs in terms of the median number of cited faculty publications. The same study put Maryland in the top five 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 “Accreditation & Program Performance Indicators" section on our program page.
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 National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, a nonpartisan center for research and education on smart growth, sustainability, and related land use issues -- national and international. The Center conducts research in five general areas: community development, international planning and urban management, land use, smart cities, and transportation. The Center's Executive Director, Gerrit-Jan Knaap, along with Professor Casey Dawkins, Associate Professor Hiroyuki Iseki, and Assistant Professor Willow Lung-Amam, are URSP faculty members. Research Professor Uri Avin also teach courses for us, and Dr. Frederick Ducca is 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 National Center for Smart Growth.
The Center recently led the effort to create the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) Program, which applies the talents of 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.
To learn more about the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation's undergraduate and graduate programs, fill out the following Google Form: go.umd.edu/admissionsinquiry.
Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we are unable to offer any in-person tours of our facilities. You can, however, take a virtual tour below.
Prospective graduate students interested in the Urban Studies & Planning Program, should schedule an appointment with the Program Director Clara Irazábal (email@example.com) or the Program Assistant Melissa Tellez (firstname.lastname@example.org).