Urban Studies & Planning Accreditation

The Urban Studies and Planning Program's Master of Community Planning (M.C.P.) degree is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). The Planning Accreditation Board accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning. The Planning Accreditation Board 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 M.C.P. was first accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board 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, or 300 hours total planning-related job with a public or private office or firm. In consultation with their academic advisor, 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 midterm and the end of the internship, each student’s job 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 more than 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 and staffed by professors of our URSP Program. This often allows our master students opportunities to interact with students in other programs working together in multidisciplinary research or PALS projects.

Another PALS project in our URSP Program, the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Scenario and Planning Analysis, a product of our Fall 2021 Community Planning studio course at the University of Maryland, won the 2022 Maryland Sustainable Growth Award—Honorable mention, and was covered by the university news: 

Another 2022 PALS project at URSP that used ArcGIS software from Esri to develop a bike stress map for Prince George's County was highlighted by Esri this month in a user story spotlight

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. Student participation in national conferences.

URSP students were the only student group in the country invited to present a project at the Consortium for Scenario Planning’s sixth annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s headquarters, February 1-3, 2023. The presentation is entitled “Just Futures: Exploring Restorative Justice for Lakeland, Maryland.” Focused on new and current scenario planning projects, the in-person conference showcased scenario planning work around the country. The complete agenda has the abstract of the student presentation on p.8.

​​Another paper that students from a URSP Spring 2022 transportation course produced, “Campus Multimodal Transportation Interaction and Conflict: Case Study of the University of Maryland,” was accepted for a panel discussion at the Transportation Research Forum (TRF) conference in Chicago April 27-29th 2023.


URSP’s continued success and participation in national interdisciplinary competitions

Teams from the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation where our URSP students have consistently participated compete in national and local intercollegiate competitions.

ULI/Hines Competition – interdisciplinary teams from the School have landed in the final four six times and won the competition twice in 2014 and 2015.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development Competition – interdisciplinary teams have landed in the final four five out of six times since 2016. They have won the competition three times, including in 2022, and placed second two times.

Our students placed first in the HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) competition in 2022, 2019 and 2018. They placed second in 2020. Maryland’s 2022 project partnered with Atlanta Housing (AH) to challenge the competitors to create innovative solutions for redeveloping the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. The student teams were asked to develop design and financial proposals to convert 13.12 acres of developable land into a vibrant, mixed-use community that includes affordable and market-rate housing along with office, retail, hospitality, and open space that seamlessly integrate into the existing cultural facilities. Maryland beat out 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.


2022-23 Tuition and Fees



Student Retention Rate

Percentage of students who began studies in Fall 2021 and continued into Fall 2022: 88% 


Student Graduation Rate: 

Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2018: 89%


Number of Degrees Awarded: 

Number of degrees awarded for the 2021-2022 Academic Year - 18

AICP Certification:

Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 3 years who pass, graduating class of 2018: 90%



Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2021: 90%