Urban Studies and Planning
The Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland is located in College Park, 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, DC, 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 masters 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.
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. Specializations include housing and community development, economic development, environmental planning, and transportation planning. These areas reflect our faculty members, who are nationally and internationally respected in their fields.
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 48-credit hour curriculum can be completed in two years by full-time students, but we also have many students who work full-time in the Washington-Baltimore region and complete their degrees as part-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 Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design.
We are closely affiliated with the nationally-recognized National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, a non-partisan center for research and education on smart growth, sustainability, and related land use issues -- national and international. The Center conducts research in four general areas: community development, international planning and urban management issues, land use, 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. 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.
In 2014 The Center created the Program for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), where the talents of the University of Maryland students and faculty are being applied to specific, sustainability-related issues facing Maryland’s diverse communities. For more information on the National Center for Smart Growth, visit www.umdsmartgrowth.org, and for information on the PALS program, go to www.umdsmartgrowth.org/programs/pals/.
Director, Urban Studies and Planning Program
Program Performance Indicators
Indicators of URSP student achievement in the past year 2019 are the following . . .
High ratings for our students who did internships. After they have completed the URSP required courses, our students are eligible to do the required 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 that students think they are interested in pursuing for their first post-graduate jobs. At the end of the internships, each interning student’s supervisor completes an evaluation form. The form asks the supervisor to identify the intern’s major strengths, ways in which the student could improve job performance, and 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 who did their internships has historically been 4 or above.
URSP’s continued success in national interdisciplinary competitions. Our students placed first in the HUD 2018 Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) competition. The 2018 competition challenged students from the four finalist teams to create a community plan to address the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities. URSP student Sacsheen Scott, URSP dual degree student Lauren Gilmartin (Architecture and Community Planning), and three teammates from our School’s Master of Real Estate Development and Architecture programs placed above 40 other teams from graduate programs nationwide. The full story is available at http://www.arch.umd.edu/mapp/news/umd-wins-hud-affordable-housing-competition. This victory comes just two years after the UMD team, including URSP dual-degree student Nicole Akpedeye (Architecture and Community Planning) and her four teammates took second place in the 2016 HUD’s competition, placing above 80 other teams.
A team of graduate students from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, including URSP student Sofie Rhoads, 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 at
In addition to national awards, our students have received state awards as well. In the past year, a group of University of Maryland students worked with Harford County, Maryland to devise a framework for sustainable, strategic growth in a region where rural character must reconcile with the growing need for new housing. Their final report was recognized by the Maryland chapter of the American Planning Association as the most outstanding student project of 2019 The final report student authors included Bilal Ali (MCP 2019), Sarah Latimer (MCP 2019), Nick MacKereth (MCP 2019), Kari Nye (MCP 2020), Russ Ottalini (MCP 2019), Jerah Smith (MCP 2019) and AnnaLinden Weller (MCP 2019). The full story is available at https://www.arch.umd.edu/mapp/news/making-space-student-project-balances-housing-need-conservation-wins-planning-award
2019-20 Tuition and Fees
In-State, Full-time student: $19,179.00
Non-Maryland Resident, Full-time student: $ 40,635.00
In the 2019-20 academic year, tuition is $731 per credit hour for an in-state Maryland resident and $1,625 per credit hour for a non-Maryland resident. Fees per semester total $451 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 8 or fewer credits a semester, and $817 per semester for both in-state and out-of-state students who take 9 or more credits in a semester.
Student Retention Rate
Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2018 and continued into fall 2019: 91%
Student Graduation Rate
Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, class of 2015: 78%
Number of Degrees Awarded
Number of Degrees Awarded for the 2018-2019 Academic Year - 19
Percentage of master’s graduates who pass the AICP exam within 5 years of graduation, class of 2014: 69.5%
Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related, or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2018: 95%