Urban planning is a professional field that addresses the health, welfare and sustainability of our cities, towns and regions. Planners are problem-solvers. They deal with both short- and long-range planning projects at scales from small to large. Planners seek to enhance overall quality of life by addressing aspects of communities such as housing, land use, transportation, and responsible development that preserves the natural environment. KU's Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) is an accredited, professional degree that prepares students to excel in planning practice. It is the normal academic qualification for planning and planning-related positions. Our graduates pursue careers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

 

Admission to Urban Planning

Complete information about applying to the M.U.P. program can be found on the program website. The following materials are required of all applicants to the M.U.P. program. Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.

  • A completed graduate application submitted online (see Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog);
  • An application fee
  • A statement of the applicant’s career goals and substantive interests in urban planning and rationale for undertaking graduate study in urban planning at KU;
  • 1 official transcript from applicant's undergraduate institution and any post-graduate institutions attended;
  • 3 letters of recommendation from persons qualified to comment on the applicant’s academic abilities and probable success in graduate study;
  • A current resume;
  • A personal statement describing career goals, substantive interests in the field of urban planning, and rationale for pursuing graduate study in urban planning at the University of Kansas;
  • Non-native speakers of English must meet English proficiency requirements as described here.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. The final application deadlines are July 1 for fall and December 1 for spring admission. International applicants must apply by June 1 for fall and November 1 for spring admission.

Students who are interested in enrolling in master's level coursework in urban planning without formal admission to the graduate program are encouraged to apply for graduate non-degree seeking student status.

M.U.P. Degree Requirements

All students must complete 48 credit hours, which normally involves 4 semesters of full-time study.*  The required courses are

General
UBPL 736Planning Institutions3
UBPL 763Professional Practice3
Techniques
UBPL 705Economic Analysis for Planners3
UBPL 741Quantitative Methods I3
UBPL 742Quantitative Methods II3
Theory
UBPL 815History and Theory of Planning3
UBPL 850Urban and Regional Theory3
Total Hours21

*Students completing the 5-year B.A.-M.U.P. track within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences must complete 30 credits following completion of the B.A. portion of the track.

Specializations

The curriculum requires each student to specialize in one of the following substantive areas:

  • Housing and development planning,
  • Sustainable land use planning, and
  • Transportation planning.

The student should declare a specialization by the third semester of the course of study. In each specialization, the student must complete one course each in theory and policy, methods, and implementation. The minimum number of credit hours for the major area depends on whether the student pursues the thesis or the non-thesis option. For the thesis option, the student takes at least 9 hours in the major area. For the non-thesis option, the student takes at least 12 hours in the major area.

The specialty courses are as follows:

Housing and Development Planning

Theory and Policy
UBPL 710Introduction to Housing Policy3
Methods
UBPL 764Real Estate Development I3
Implementation
UBPL 716Community and Neighborhood Revitalization3
Supplementary Courses
UBPL 760Historic Preservation Planning3
UBPL 768Real Estate Development II3
UBPL 802Special Topics: ______3

Sustainable Land Use Planning

Theory and Policy
UBPL 765Introduction to Sustainable Land Use Planning3
Methods
UBPL 735Site Planning and Design3
UBPL 738Environmental Planning Techniques3
Implementation
UBPL 773Sustainable Land Use Planning Implementation3
Supplementary Courses
UBPL 730City and County Planning3
UBPL 762Sustainability and the Future of the Built Environment3
UBPL 764Real Estate Development I3

Transportation Planning

Theory and Policy
UBPL 750Introduction to Transportation Planning3
Methods
UBPL 756Travel Demand Forecasting Methods3
Implementation
UBPL 757Transportation Planning Implementation3
Supplementary Courses
UBPL 755Planning Intercity Transportation Systems3
UBPL 758Public Transit3
CE 781Traffic Engineering Characteristics3
CE 881Traffic Engineering Operations3

Free Electives

Besides the specialty courses, thesis students must take 3 additional credit hours, and non-thesis students must take 9 additional credit hours of elective courses; any elective credits taken outside of Urban Planning require approval of a faculty advisor.

Thesis Option

The thesis provides an opportunity for the student to apply individual research skills in the context of her or his interest. The thesis is a continuation of the student’s course of study rather than a separate academic effort. The format, medium, and focus of the thesis vary with the problem addressed. 6 hours of academic credit are given for the thesis. A student desiring to prepare a thesis must develop, with the assistance of a faculty advisor, a thesis proposal to be submitted to the faculty thesis committee no later than the first day of classes of the semester before the semester in which the student plans to graduate. The committee’s approval is required before the student may pursue the thesis option. A final general examination on the thesis and course work is held.

Non-thesis Option

The comprehensive examination may be taken as an alternative to the thesis. 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.

M.U.P. Curriculum

A total of 48 semester hours is required. Students typically complete the degree within 2 years.

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHours
UBPL 7413UBPL 7053
UBPL 7853UBPL 7423
Specialization courses or electives6UBPL 7363
 Specialization course or elective3
 12 12
Year 2
FallHoursSpringHours
UBPL 7633 Implementation seminar in specialization3
UBPL 8503Specialization courses or electives9
Specialization courses or electives6 
 12 12
Total Hours 48

Master of Urban Planning and Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies*

This program leads to the Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies and the Master of Urban Planning; it combines 6 years into 5 years of study. A total of 154 credit hours is required, composed of 124 hours in architectural studies and 30 additional graduate hours in urban planning.

Students wishing to pursue this option must meet with the Chair of Urban Planning during the third year of study. Students must meet all the required courses for the bachelor degree and have a minimum 3.25 grade-point average. In the fourth year of undergraduate study, a student takes the same courses as a first-year graduate student and applies for graduate admission in the spring semester. The student may submit Graduate Record Examination scores during the junior year but must submit GRE test results in the senior year. If the student has completed all first-year planning courses and been accepted for admission by the end of the fourth year of study, the student officially enters the graduate program to pursue the second year of study toward the completion of the Master of Urban Planning degree.

More information about this joint degree program can be found here.

*This program is available to students who started it in Fall 2017 or before.

Master of Urban Planning and Master of Architecture

This joint degree combines in a 4-year program the normal 2-year M.U.P. degree, offered through the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the 3-year M.Arch. degree, offered through the School of Architecture &Design. The program is intended for students interested in careers in urban design. A total of 133 credit hours is required, comprising 39 hours in urban planning and 94 hours in architecture.

Applicants must meet admission requirements of both programs. Students pursuing the M.Arch. may apply to the joint degree program during, but not after, the second year of study. Students pursuing the M.U.P. may apply to the joint degree program during, but not after, the first year of study.

More information about this joint degree program can be found here.

Master of Urban Planning and M.A. in American Studies

This joint degree combines in a 2½-year program the normal 2-year M.U.P. degree, offered through the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the normal 1-year M.A. degree in American studies, offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The program is designed for students interested in careers in policy planning and research involving the arts, social planning, cultural activities and facilities, and historic preservation.

More information about this joint degree program can be found here.

Master of Urban Planning and M.A. in Geography

This joint degree combines in a 3-year program the 2-year M.U.P. degree, offered through the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the normal 1½-year M.A. degree in geography, offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The program is designed for students interested in careers in policy planning and research involving GIS cartography, environmental planning, and land use planning.

More information about this joint degree program can be found here.

Master of Urban Planning and Master of Public Administration

This joint degree combines in a 3-year program the M.U.P. degree and the Master of Public Administration degree, both offered through School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The program is intended for students interested in careers in urban policy planning and urban management.

More information about this joint degree program can be found here.

Master of Urban Planning and Juris Doctor

The joint Juris Doctor /Master of Urban Planning program is open to those who have earned baccalaureate degrees and whose undergraduate records indicate that they have the capacity to complete the law and urban planning programs. Applicants must meet the admission requirements of both programs. Applicants should apply and be admitted to each program separately before they enter the first year of the program. The Law School Admission Test is the required entrance examination for the J.D. program; the Graduate Record Examination is required for the M.U.P. program. A student who decides to enter the program while enrolled in the first year of the J.D. or M.U.P. curriculum must obtain approval from the School of Law and the Department of Urban Planning as soon as possible. No student may enter the joint degree program after completing more than 4 full semesters of the J.D. program or 3 full semesters of the M.U.P. program.

A total of 115 credit hours is required for the joint degree, comprising 39 hours in urban planning and 76 hours in law. The joint degree program can be completed in 4 years. To pursue the degrees separately would require 5 years. More information about this joint degree program can be found here.