Only current KU undergraduate students are eligible to apply to the Accelerated MA program. If you are not a current undergraduate student at KU, please review the admission requirements for regular MA. program.

The Accelerated Master’s program in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning is designed for students who have a passion for sustaining both our natural and built environments. It allows well-qualified students to earn a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in five years, rather than the six years it would take to earn each degree separately. This program combines in-depth training in environmental studies and analysis with a professional degree in urban planning.  Graduates are prepared for careers in environmental planning in the public, private and not-for profit sectors.

Only current KU undergraduate students are eligible to apply to the Accelerated MA program. If you are not a current undergraduate student at KU, please review the admission requirements for regular MA. program.

Careful course selection and steady progression through the undergraduate career is necessary to ensure all requirements for both degrees may be completed within the 5-year time frame. All prospective students should discuss their interest with the undergraduate advisor for Environmental Studies and the Chair of Urban Planning as soon as possible. A meeting with the Chair of Urban Planning should take place no later than the student’s Junior year (Year 3) to discuss possible admission to the accelerated master's track.

Prospective student are eligible to apply to the graduate program in Spring semester of their Junior year. The following requirements must be met by this time:

  • Major and cumulative GPA of at least 3.25;
  • On track to complete all requirements for a B.A. or B.G.S. degree in Environmental Studies from KU by the Spring semester of the Senior Year (Year 4)

Applicants must complete an Application for Graduate Study online. The following information should be gathered in advance and uploaded with the application:

  • Statement of interest that succinctly summarizes the students’ interests, education, their long#term career goals, and how the accelerated degree program will help them achieve those goals;
  • A copy of the student’s Advising Report
  • The names of three persons qualified to comment on the applicant’s academic abilities and probable success in graduate study. These individuals will be asked to provide a letter of recommendation. At least two should be faculty members who have had the student in class.

Upon review of the Application for Admission, Urban Planning will notify the student of his or her eligibility to begin coursework in the program. Final acceptance to the Master of Urban Planning graduate program will be contingent upon the following:

  • Successful completion of all requirements for the bachelor’s degree;
  • Grades of B or above in all Urban Planning graduate-level coursework taken in Year 4

Any student who does not meet this minimum grade requirement may continue in the program but must repeat any graduate course for which they did not earn a B or above. Students should still aim to complete all requirements by the end of Year 5. Students may also elect to earn only the bachelor’s degree and re-apply to the graduate program at a later time.

This accelerated program uses a carefully planned combination of pre-requisite coursework, graduate-level courses taken for both undergraduate and graduate credit in Year 4, and graduate credit courses taken in Year 5.   The student must be approved to begin coursework toward the master’s prior to enrolling in any classes that are to count for both undergraduate and graduate credit.  Please see the Sample Academic Plan for more information.

Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree

Environmental Studies Introduction to Science and Culture
Majors must complete both of the following:
EVRN 140Global Environment I: The Discovery of Environmental Change5
or EVRN 144 Global Environment I: Discovery of Environmental Change, Honors
EVRN 142Global Environment II: The Ecology of Human Civilization5
or EVRN 145 Global Environment II: The Ecology of Human Civilization, Honors
Research Methods. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Environmental Economics
Environmental Applications of Geographic Information Systems
Advanced Environmental Applications in Geospatial Techniques
Environmental Geology
Statistics. Satisifed by one of the following:3
Elementary Statistics
Methods of Analyzing Geographical Data
Introduction to Biostatistics
Environmental Studies Core Knowledge and Skills
Majors must complete each of the following:
EVRN 320Environmental Policy Analysis3
EVRN 332Environmental Law3
EVRN 460Field Ecology3
EVRN 615Capstone Project3
Environmental Studies Required Electives/Options
UBPL 736Planning Institutions3
UBPL 738Environmental Planning Techniques3
Complete two of the following courses:6
Introduction to Housing Policy
City and County Planning
Introduction to Transportation Planning
Introduction to Sustainable Land Use Planning

Students should seek guidance from their advisor and refer to the degree plan for the specific enrollment sequence.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 40 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 30 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Requirements for the Master’s Degree

During the Senior Year (Year 4), the student must take the following Urban Planning graduate coursework, in addition to the Major Requirements noted above:

UBPL 741Quantitative Methods I3
UBPL 815History and Theory of Planning3
UBPL 742Quantitative Methods II3
UBPL 705Economic Analysis for Planners3

In Year 5, after the conferral of the undergraduate degree, the student will complete a total of 24 post-baccalaureate graduate credit hours, consisting of the following:

UBPL 763Professional Practice3
UBPL 850Urban and Regional Theory3
UBPL Elective or Specialization Courses18

Students in the accelerated masters must successfully pass a comprehensive exam. The examination provides a learning experience that encourages the student to synthesize the knowledge gained through course work and tests the student’s competence as a generalist/specialist planner. The examination consists of the student responding to a scenario or case study in which one is asked to synthesize knowledge gained in one's course work and apply it within a particular context. No academic credit is given for the examination.

Progression Requirements

Each student’s progress will be monitored at various points during the program:

  1. Upon pre-admission acceptance to the accelerated masters, the student will meet with the UBPL Chair to plan the final year of undergraduate courses, graduate UBPL courses to be taken for elective undergraduate credit, and to outline the schedule of courses.
  1. In the final spring semester of undergraduate study (Year 4), the student will meet with the UBPL Chair to review the student’s performance in UBPL courses.  The student must earn a grade of “B” or better in these courses to be eligible for regular admission to the Master of Urban Planning degree.
  1. Following completion and award of the undergraduate degree (end of Spring Semester Year 4), the admitted student will again meet with the UBPL Chair to review the course plan for the fifth year of study and update as needed.  The student’s performance in the graduate-level courses taken as an undergraduate will be evaluated.  To continue in the track, students must earn a combined minimum GPA of 3.25 for these courses. At this time, the student will select a specialization area within the planning degree, and will meet with a faculty advisor who is overseeing that specialization to ensure the course plan is accurate.
  1. For those students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.25 in the first semester of Year 5 an alternative plan of study to address the student’s deficiencies may be developed, at the department’s sole discretion.    Students may also be dismissed from the program. 
  1. If the baccalaureate degree is not completed at the end of Year 4, the student will not be permitted to enroll in courses for graduate credit toward the MUP degree until the baccalaureate degree has been conferred.

Students should complete all requirements for the master’s degree within one year of receiving the bachelor’s degree.  If unforeseen circumstances prevent the timely completion of the master’s degree, the student must consult with their graduate advisor to develop an alternative plan for completion.

ENGL 101 (Goal 2.1, BA Writing I)3ENGL 102 (Goal 2.1b, BA Writing II)3
MATH 101 (Goal 1.2)3MATH 365, GEOG 316, or BIOL 570 (Major Req)13-4
1st Semester Language (BA 2nd language)52nd Semester Language (BA 2nd language)5
EVRN 140 or 144 (Goal 3N, BA Lab Req., Major req.)5EVRN 142 or 145 (Goal 3, Major Req )5
 16 16-17
EVRN 1483Goal 2.23
EVRN 1033Goal 4.13
3rd Semester Language (BA Second Language)34th Semester Language (Major Req.)3
UBPL 200 (Goal 1.1)3Goal 3H3
EVRN 332 (Major Req.)3EVRN 320 (Major Req.)3
 15 15
UBPL 538 (Major Req.)3Goal 53
Goal 4.2 Global Awareness3UBPL 3003
Elective/Possible Minor Course3Elective/Possible Minor Course3
Elective/Possible Minor Course3Elective/Possible Minor Course3
Elective/Possible Minor Course3Elective/Possible Minor Course3
 15 15
EVRN 460 (Major Req.)3EVRN 615 (Major Req.)3
UBPL 7413UBPL 7423
UBPL 7853UBPL 7053
UBPL Grad Specialization Course/EVRN Undergrad Elective3UBPL 7363
UBPL Grad Specialization Course/EVRN Undergrad Elective3UBPL 7383
 15 15
Year 5
UBPL 7633UBPL 716, 757, or 773 (UBPL Implementation Seminar)3
UBPL 8503UBPL Elective or Specialization Course3
UBPL Elective or Specialization Course3UBPL Elective or Specialization Course3
UBPL Elective or Specialization Course3UBPL Elective or Specialization Course3
 12 12
Total Hours 146-147