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 program provides students technical and analytical skills needed to think strategically about developing and implementing plans 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)
PA 5013 — Law and Urban Land Use (1.5)
PA 5031 — Empirical Analysis I (4)
PA 5042 — Urban and Regional Economics (2)
PA 5043 — Economic and Demographic Data Analysis (2)
PA 5204 — Urban Spatial and Social Dynamics (3)
PA 5211 — Urban Land Use Planning (3)
PA 5253 — Designing Planning and Participation Processes (3)
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.
Beginning in January 2013, each accredited school of planning is expected to provide information to the public on the performance of the planning school and its students. The information below was updated in April 2017.
This table indicates the proportion of alumni who agreed or strongly agreed with each statement when surveyed five years after graduation. Response rates for the surveys of alumni varied by year, but were generally around 60 percent.
Year of Graduation
The MURP program effectively prepares students for employment in the planning profession
The MURP program offered opportunities for me to engage with urban planning practice and practitioners
The MURP program gave me practical skills for urban planning practice
Tuition and Fees (full-time, 2016-2017 academic year)
Tuition and fees are calculated for one full academic year (Fall and Spring semesters at 6-15 credits per semester):
Resident: $18,996 Non-Resident: $27,464
Access additional detailed information on tuition, required fees and health insurance, and an overall estimated cost of attendance.
Student Retention and Graduation Rates
AY of Entry
# of Students Enrolled
2 year Grad Rate
3 year Grad Rate
4 year Grad Rate
Number of MURP Degrees Granted
AICP Exam Pass Rate
To become a certified planner, members of the American Planning Association (APA) must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Exam. The pass rate is the percentage of test takers who pass the examination within three years of graduating from a master’s program.
Number of exam test attempts
*There was one fail in each year for 2008 and 2010. The data above report test attempts to account for the fact that in these two years the alums who took the exam and initially failed, retook the test and passed in that same year.
Between 2004-2014, graduates of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program had a 95% overall pass rate – the top pass rate among Planning Accreditation Board accredited programs with the highest number of test takers.
For more information, visit http://www.planning.org/certification/passrates/
The employment rate measures the percentage of MURP graduates who obtain planning positions, planning-related positions, or elect to pursue further education within one year of graduation.
Graduates employed within 1 year of graduation in a professional planning job
Graduates employed within 1 year of graduation in a planning-related job
Graduates who pursue further education within 1 year of graduation
*Prior to 2013, the Humphrey School collected employment data on alumni that did not distinguish between planning and planning-related jobs.