2022-23 Edition

Master of Urban and Regional Planning

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P) provides students with a rigorous intellectual foundation and critical analytical skills that prepare them to work in public, private, and non-governmental planning and related fields. The program is fully accredited by the national Planning Accreditation Board and has more than a dozen full-time core faculty. Students gain knowledge of planning problems and practices through a series of courses related to the environmental, economic, and social challenges in Southern California, and the United States, as well as other national contexts.


A total of 72 graduate units are necessary to satisfy the master’s degree requirements—including 32 units of core courses and successful completion of a capstone project, thesis, or comprehensive examination. A normal course load is 12 units per quarter (three courses), which enables students to complete the degree in two years.

Course Requirements
A. Complete:
UPPP 202 History of Urban Planning
UPPP 203 Theoretical Foundations of Planning
UPPP 204 Plan Development and Communication
UPPP 206 Microeconomic Analysis for Urban Planning
UPPP 214 Quantitative Analysis for Planners
B. Select three additional core courses from a menu of courses in the subject areas of methods, law, and urban settlements.
C. Select eight elective courses. Possible elective course topics include; housing and community development, international development planning, environmental planning, transportation planning, health and social service planning, economic development, regional growth management, state and municipal governance, and urban design. Students work with faculty members to define their concentration and identify appropriate electives. Elective courses are selected from within as well as outside the Department of Urban Planning and Public Policy.

The curriculum culminates with a capstone requirement that may be fulfilled through one of the following options:

  1. Completion of a Professional Report (PR), which provides students an opportunity to prepare an independent planning project for a planning organization. This entails a two-quarter course sequence: UPPP 292, and four units of UPPP 299 with a PR faculty advisor;
  2. Completion of a Planning Practicum, which is a team-based course taught by a planning practitioner and conducted in conjunction with planning organizations. This entails a two-quarter course sequence: UPPP 294A and UPPP 294B;
  3. Completion of a master's thesis, which is an independent academic research project. Students must apply in writing for the thesis option.  If approved by the MURP faculty program director, thesis students must complete a two-quarter sequence of four units of UPPP 299 with a thesis faculty advisor.
  4. A comprehensive examination.

The program supports a diverse set of educational opportunities for master’s students including events and workshops sponsored by the department, student organizations, and the MURP Alumni Council.  In addition, several students each year incorporate an international educational experience as part of their degree either through the University of California’s Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) or the Network for European and U.S. Regional Urban Studies program (NEURUS). Practical experience in planning in the form of part-time planning internships is also strongly encouraged.

The range of employment opportunities for planners in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors is expanding due to rapid urbanization, rising concerns over environmental issues, and increases in social inequality. Career paths exist in public entities dealing with urban planning, economic development, transportation, community development, regional growth management, air quality, water treatment, community health, community revitalization, and public infrastructure. Employment possibilities also exist with private firms that specialize in transportation, general plans, economic development, environmental planning, emergency management, and residential, commercial, and industrial development. Finally, planners are increasingly pursuing meaningful careers in the growing non-governmental sector. These career opportunities include working with affordable housing developers, environmental and conservation organizations, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, and labor unions.

Concurrent Master's Degree Program with Law and Graduate Studies

Highly-qualified students interested in combining the study of law with graduate qualifications in Urban and Regional Planning are invited to undertake concurrent degree study under the auspices of UC Irvine's Program in Law and Graduate Studies (PLGS).

Students in this program pursue a coordinated curriculum leading to a J.D. degree from the School of Law in conjunction with a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Contact the PLGS Director’s office for additional information at 949-824-4158, or by email to plgs@law.uci.edu. A full description of the program, with links to all relevant application information, can be found at the School of Law Concurrent Degree Program website and in the Law School section of the Catalogue.