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.
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 one of the highest passage rate on the American Institute of Certified Planners’ exam.
Class profile and career statistics
MURP Class Profile: 2020-21
- Incoming Students: 39
- Gender: 62% Female, 31% Male, 0% Other, 8% Unspecified
- Minnesota Residents: 74%
- International Students: 3%
- Domestic Students of Color: 10%
- Average Age: 27
- Average GPA: 3.52
- Average GRE Verbal Percentile: 77.3%
- Average GRE Quantitative Percentile: 56.4%
- Percent of Class Total: 22%
Prospective applicants: please note that all applications are reviewed holistically, and profile numbers should not be viewed as admission cutoffs. Please contact the Office of Admissions with any questions about candidacy.
MURP Career Statistics: Class of 2018
40 graduates, 39 reported (98%)
- Known employed: 37 (95%)
- Continuing to further degree: 1 (3%)
- Actively job seeking: 1 (3%)
- Government employment: 43%
- Nonprofit employment: 19%
- Private sector employment: 35%
- Academic staff: 3%
Note: These numbers reflect the most recent data available; due to rounding, percentages may not always add up to 100 percent.
The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree requires 48 semester credits, distributed approximately as follows: core courses (21.5 credits); concentration courses (at least 12 credits); capstone preparation workshop (1 credit); capstone workshop (3 credits); and electives and/or Plan A thesis credits. A 200-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.) or PA 5929 Data Visualization: Telling Stories with Numbers (2 cr.)
- PA 5145 — Civic Participation in Public Affairs (3 cr.)
- PA 5205 — Statistics for Planning (4 cr.)
- PA 5206 — The City of White Supremacy (3 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 (4 credits)
- PA 5080 - Capstone Preparation Workshop (1 cr.)
- PA 8081 Capstone Workshop (3 cr.)
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.
Dual Degree Opportunities
We offer dual degrees with the University of Minnesota Law School, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, Department of Civil Engineering, and Department of Landscape Architecture.
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 FAQs about the capstone is available as 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.
In addition to the required core courses, MURP students can select a set of additional concentration courses and experiences that provide an integrated portfolio of professional preparation. View all MURP concentration planning forms.
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.
Student Achievement – Capstone
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.
Starting in 2019, a jury of planning practitioners was organized to assess the student team capstone projects for that year. Each juror reviewed a project and awarded a score in the following areas from 1 to 6 (lowest to highest). This process has been repeated annually for MURP student capstone projects. There has been an average of 10-15 jurors evaluating 8-10 capstone projects each year. Scores of:
• 1–2 are unacceptable,
• 3–4 are satisfactory, and
• 5–6 are exceptional.
Below are the average scores for student teams in each area and the proportion of jurors assessing the area as a 5 or 6 ("exceptional") across all student projects.
|% of jurors giving an Exceptional score||31%||66%||40%||62%||40%|
|% of jurors giving an Exceptional score||31%||40%||30%||46%||53%|
|% of jurors giving an Exceptional score||23%||46%||40%||77%||53%|
|Incorporation of urban planning practice knowledge|
|% of jurors giving an Exceptional score||38%||57%||60%||69%||67%|
|Incorporation of urban planning theory|
|% of jurors giving an Exceptional score||38%||46%||70%||62%||20%|
|Efficacy of planning solutions/proposal|
|% of jurors giving an Exceptional score||54%||40%||50%||54%||60%|
2023–24 Tuition and Fees
|In-state residents, per full-time academic year||$23,558|
|Out-of-state residents, per full-time academic year||
Student Retention Rate
|Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2022 and continued into fall 2023||97%|
Student Graduation Rate
|Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2019||98%|
Number of Degrees Awarded
|Number of degrees awarded for 2022–2023 academic year||39|
|Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 3 years who pass, graduating class of 2019||100%|
|Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2021||100%|