Urban Studies and Planning (CMPL)

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The Urban Studies and Planning Program offers graduate study leading to the Master of Community Planning (MCP) degree. (The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, in which the MCP program is located, offers a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design -- see URPD for details). The MCP Program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Dual Masters degrees in Planning and Architecture, and Planning and Historic Preservation, are offered. There is a transfer of credit agreement with the School of Law on the Baltimore campus as part of a joint JD and MCP program. There is also a cooperative program with the PhD program in Policy Sciences at the UMBC campus. Entering students have diverse academic backgrounds, such as architecture, fine arts, English, history, business, geography, sociology, economics, and political science. The Program's faculty specialize in metropolitan and regional planning, housing, transportation planning, environmental and land use planning, social policy, quantitative planning methods, urban design, and economic development planning. Employment opportunities remain strong for graduates in a highly competitive field. The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region offers diverse employment potential in urban planning and program management in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Admissions Information

To be competitive, applicants typically need a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher from an accredited university within the United States need not take the GRE. (In the case of students who are working toward both the JD and MCP degrees, the LSAT will be accepted in place of the GRE.)

Application Deadlines
Type of Applicant Fall Spring

Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Deadline: January 1

International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas, as well as those seeking admissions under A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.

Deadline: December 15

Application Requirements

  1. Complete application form: (On-line version - www.gradschool.umd.edu)
  2. Academic credentials (official transcripts to Graduate School):
  3. Standardized test scores: Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) - when required (see above)
  4. Letters of Recommendation: Three confidential letters submitted by professors or others.
  5. Statement of Goals, Research Interests, and Experiences: 1000-2000 word statement of graduate goals, research interests, and experiences.
  6. Resume

Degree Requirements

Joint Degree Program in Architecture and Community Planning (ARCP)
The joint degree combines course work from the Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning programs. Students of the joint-degree program acquire specialized knowledge tailored to understanding the urban environment from several perspectives. Students learn how social, economic,and political forces have led to the development of human habitats. The emphasis on urban design in the joint degree program yields an education that is particularly applicable for persons interested in the revitalization of metropolitan areas and their center cities. Applicants interested in this degree should already have an undergraduate degree in architecture. Applicants for this joint degree should use the ARCP program code.

Dual Degree in Community Planning and Historic Preservation (CPHP)
The dual degree combines course work from the Urban Studies and Planning and Historic Preservation programs to enable a student to complete both the Master of Community Planning and the Master of Historic Presevation with fewer credits than it would take to complete the two separately. Applicants for the dual degree in Community Planning and Historic Preservation should use the CPHP program code.

Juris Doctor / Master of Community Planning Joint Degree (LCPL)
The University of Maryland School of Law on the Baltimore campus (UMB) will accept up to 9 credits of MCP coursework towards the J.D. degree, and the Urban Studies and Planning Program will accept up to 9 credits of J.D. coursework towards the MCP degree. Applicants must apply to each program separately and be accepted by both programs. Credits from the MCP program can be transferred to the Law program only if they are taken while the student is enrolled in the Law program, and vice versa. Applicants interested in this joint program should use the LCPL code when applying to the Urban Studies and Planning Program.

Master of Community Planning (M.C.P.)
Graduation requires satisfactory completion of 48 credits of course work. The 12 credits in core courses introduce students to the foundations of city and regional planning, research methods, planning process, and planning history and theory. An additional nine "spread" credits give students a grounding in physical, social and economic planning. Nine additional credits are required for a specialization. Specializations include housing, economic development, social planning and management, transportation planning, urban design, historic preservation, land use/environmental planning, and international planning. A studio and internship are required. Courses are listed under URSP. The MCP program accepts up to nine credits from other graduate programs. Applicants to this program should use the CMPL program code.

Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design (Ph.D.)
The Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design (URPD) is offered by the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. To apply to this program an applicant should have already earned a masters degree by the time of intended enrollment. Applicants interested in the Ph.D. program may obtain information in this catalog under "Urban and Regional Planning and Design (URPD)".

Facilities and Special Resources

The University of Maryland is an excellent location for the pursuit of community planning, and graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities. The university is eight miles from the incomparable library and research facilities of Washington, D.C. In the nations's capital, UMCP graduate students have access to, among other resources, the Library of Congress, the specialized collections of professional associations and international organizations, and agencies at all levels of government. The College Park campus is a 45-minute drive from Baltimore City, whose planning programs have gained national attention. At least two planning studio courses are offered each year, in either Baltimore, the Washington metropolitan area, or an international setting. Baltimore city and Washington, D.C. are ideal laboratories for students interested in research on urban issues and planning.

Urban Studies and Planning is one of five graduate degree programs in the University's School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The School administers the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, which involves faculty and graduate students from several campus units in: multi-disciplinary research on the fiscal, environmental and social impacts of alternative development patterns; evaluation of growth management strategies (with a focus on Maryland's Smart Growth programs); technical assistance to state agencies and local jurisdictions; and training programs for federal program managers and state and local officials.

Financial Assistance

Aside from student loans through the university, MCP students are eligible to apply for graduate assistantships with URSP and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. MCP applicants who are also Peace Corps veterans are eligible to apply for the Shriver Peaceworker fellowship program that is administered by the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Please note that competition is high for these financial awards. The program also maintains a list of internships, and many of our students work in part- or full-time jobs while completing the program. Program classes are scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to accommodate our working students.

Contact Information

Contact the program at the following address:

CMPL Graduate Admissions
School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Or at the School of Architecture web site: www.arch.umd.edu

James Cohen, Ph.D., Director
School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
University of Maryland
College Park
MD  20742
Telephone: (301) 405-6795
Fax: (301) 314-9583



Related Programs and Campus Units

Urban and Regional Planning and Design
Real Estate Development
Landscape Architecture
Architecture and Real Estate Development

The Graduate School  |  2123 Lee Building  |  College Park, MD 20742  |  gradschool@umd.edu      UMCP