Master of Urban and Regional Planning
Influencing how neighborhoods, cities, and regions develop is the work of urban and regional planners. The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree program brings together experts from planning, sociology, engineering, law, architecture, social work, public health, landscape architecture, urban design, and other disciplines to build cities, tackle urban sprawl, upgrade housing, protect the environment, and promote community and economic development. Read about the Humphrey School's expertise in urban and regional planning.
Accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, this degree program provides students technical and analytical skills needed to think strategically about developing and implementing plans at all levels. For nearly ten consecutive years, graduates of our MURP degree program have had the highest passage rate on the American Institute of Certified Planners’ exam.
Positions Our Graduates Hold
- Executive Director, U.S. Federal Transit Administration, Washington, DC
- Director, Aviation Services, ICF International, China
- Vice President for Environment, JPB Foundation, New York
- Urban Designer, MIG, Inc., San Francisco
- City Planner, City of St. Paul
Dual Degree Offerings
- MURP/JD, Law School
- MURP/MSCE (Civil Engineering), College of Science and Engineering
- MURP/MSW, School of Social Work
- MURP/MPH, School of Public Health
The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree requires 48 semester credits, distributed approximately as follows: core courses (21 credits); concentration courses (at least 12 credits); capstone workshop (3.0 credits); and elective credits and/or Plan A thesis credits. A 400-hour professional internship also is required, unless you are exempted based on relevant previous employment.
Required Core Courses (21 credits)
- PA 5004 — Introduction to Planning (3 cr.)
- PA 5013 — Law and Urban Land Use (1.5 cr.)
- PA 5042 — Urban and Regional Economics (2 cr.)
- PA 5043 — Economic and Demographic Data Analysis (2 cr.)
- PA 5145 — Civic Participation in Public Affairs (3 cr.)
- PA 5204 — Urban Spatial and Social Dynamics (3 cr.)
- PA 5205 — Statistics for Planning (4 cr.)
- PA 5211 — Urban Land Use Planning (3 cr.)
If you do not have GIS competency, you must take a GIS course as part of your 48 credits. You may be exempted from selected core course requirements if you have relevant prior coursework. In that case, you can take additional concentration or elective credits to meet the 48-credit requirement.
Concentrations (at least 12 credits in one of the following areas)
You can select a focus in an established area of concentration or self-design a concentration with your advisor and with the approval of the director of graduate studies. All concentrations require at least 12 credits. You can take concentration and elective courses at the Humphrey School and from other University departments.
Capstone Workshop (3 credits)
You can learn more about Capstone Workshops here.
Program Planning Worksheet
The Program Planning Worksheet (PPW) helps current students plan their degrees from start to finish. Students must submit a completed and approved PPW before graduating.
Students can deepen their professional interests by creating an interdisciplinary concentration that combines courses from two or more existing concentrations as well as courses from various departments across the University. Students provide a cohesive rationale for the several themes that tie coursework together into a coherent primary concentration.
Students pursuing this concentration should consult with their advisors and review the self-designed concentration form to understand the rationale and approval that is required for this concentration. The form also includes tips for choosing courses in a self-designed concentration.
Courses are chosen in consultation with advisors and other experts in the fields of interest students are pursuing. Some past self-designed concentrations have included:
- Bike Transportation
- Community Development and Nonprofit Management
- Digital Inclusion
- Disability Policy
- Economics, International Development
- Education Policy
- Environmental Policy for Sustainable Development
- Food Systems Policy
- Geographic Information Systems
- Land Property Rights and Smart Growth
- Policy and Brownfields Redevelopment
- Urban Agriculture
Students are encouraged to investigate the many research centers at the Humphrey School and throughout the University to find a match for professional interests.
The PA 8081 Capstone Workshop is a 3-credit course, required for MURP students, with multiple sections available and taught by various MURP and other Humphrey School faculty members. Each section of the Capstone Workshop is organized around a topic area and may have multiple projects and clients. Multiple capstone course options are offered each spring semester.
Capstone Workshops are designed to provide a culminating learning experience for second-year students, as they apply their knowledge through a team-project for a client (e.g. city government, state agency, nonprofit organization). The projects allow students to gain important practical experience that will position them for professional success. In addition, the capstone experience facilitates student reflection on the knowledge and values acquired during the MURP program.
Student teams gain experience in working collaboratively, interacting with clients, and in jointly managing projects. Teams typically prepare written documents consistent with planning practice, such as reports, plans, policies, case studies, and best practice reviews. In addition, students often have the opportunity to present their projects to clients and other stakeholders. The workshop includes a written report for and oral presentation to the client. A course instructor supports students by providing guidance and feedback. A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the MURP capstone is available in a downloadable PDF.
Recent examples of Capstone Workshop projects:
- Mississippi Riverfront: Indicators of Accessibility and Use (client: Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership)
- Climate Change Adaptation Study (client: City of Minneapolis)
- Metrics for a Sustainable EcoVillage (client: Project for Pride in Living)
- Transit-oriented Development in Minnetonka: Cases and Policy Recommendations for TOD Implementation (client: City of Minnetonka)
- Sharing to Grow: Economic Activity associated with Nice Ride Bike Share Stations (client: Bikes Belong Foundation, Nice Ride Minnesota, Transit for Livable Communities, Bike Walk Twin Cities)
- Economic Development in St. Paul’s Promise Neighborhood (client: Wilder Foundation)
A full list (since 2006) is available in a searchable database.
On an annual basis, a jury of planning practitioners assesses the final student team projects in PA 5211: Land Use Planning, a core course for MURP students. Jurors provide feedback via an assessment rubric that gives students constructive criticism, but is not included in the grading of these assignments by faculty members. As a foundational course in urban planning that students typically take in their first semester, the success of student teams in meeting professional expectations of practice in Land Use Planning is a good early indicator of student achievement and provides valuable feedback on whether students have met MURP program learning objectives.
In fall 2018, a jury of 10 planning practitioners assessed five student team projects in six areas, awarding a score in each area from 1 to 6 (lowest to highest). For 2019, a group of 37 jurors consisting of faculty, students, community members, and planning professionals assessed 12 student projects using the same rubric.
Scores between 1 and 2 correspond to an assessment of “unacceptable,” 3 to 4 correspond to “competent,” and 5 to 6 correspond to “accomplished.” Below are the average scores for student teams in each area and the proportion of jurors assessing the area as a 5 or 6 ("accomplished") across all student projects.
Every spring students in the Humphrey School Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program undertake major urban planning projects for clients around the Twin Cities and beyond. These projects represent an opportunity to use skills they have gained from coursework and professional experiences during their time at the Humphrey School to work on a team with classmates to solve a set of real world planning challenges. We have chosen to assess the extent to which our students have achieved mastery of a set of program learning objectives we have defined in our program by asking an independent body of practitioners to assess annually the written reports produced by student teams for their capstone projects.
For the spring 2019 projects, a jury of 13 planning practitioners assessed eight student team capstone projects in six areas, awarding a score in each area from 1 to 6 (lowest to highest).
Scores between 1 and 2 correspond to an assessment of “unacceptable,” 3 to 4 correspond to “competent” and 5 to 6 correspond to “accomplished.” Below are the average scores for student teams in each area and the proportion of jurors assessing the area as a 5 or 6 ("accomplished") across all student capstones.
|2019-20 Tuition and Fees|
|In State Residents, per full-time academic year||$20,028|
|Out of State Residents, per full-time academic year||$29,208|
|Student Retention Rate||Percent|
|Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2018 and continued into fall 2019||96%|
|Student Graduation Rate||Percent|
|Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2015||94%|
|Number of Degrees Awarded|
|Number of degrees awarded for the 2018 - 2019 Academic Year||34|
|Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2014||90%|
|Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2019||97.4%|