USC Price School of Public Policy

Master of Planning


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Mission Statement:
The mission of the Master of Planning (MPL) program is to educate students to become leaders in the planning issues and comprehensive urban development processes of the 21st Century. We achieve that mission through a master of planning education that links theory and practice, emphasizing analytical and communication skills, critical thinking, creative design, community engagement, collaborative decision-making, and democratic governance in a globalizing world.

The Master of Planning (MPL) Program

MPL Program

Urban planning professionals help community members and decision makers find place-based solutions to problems related to land use, transportation, housing, economic development, the environment, sustainability, and the design of more livable communities. Planners address issues facing city blocks, neighborhoods, metropolises, and even entire regions. In their interdisciplinary and inter-professional work, planners engage with businesses, citizen groups, and elected officials to define, organize, and better understand their physical, natural and social environments.

The Master of Planning (MPL) program at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is one of the most distinguished of its kind in the United States. USC Price is ranked sixth overall among Public Affairs schools according toU.S. News & World Report. The MPL program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board of the American Planning Association. Planning students in the Master of Planning (MPL) program at the University of Southern California (USC) address issues such as:

  • How can we make a city greener without creating inefficiencies that adversely affect residents’ lives?
  • How can we protect vulnerable communities while managing growth and change?
  • What balance does a region need between private and public transportation?
  • What design components could we insert into neighborhood plans to help residents live healthier, more socially connected lives?
  • Cities are growing around the world. How does the American experience compare and contrast to the challenges and opportunities in Asian or Latin American cities?
  • How do we envision a healthy, prosperous future to create livable and sustainable communities?

What makes the USC Price School MPL program so unique?

  • The USC Price Master of Planning program is committed to preparing students for practice. Through internships, domestic and international planning studios, community-based research and projects, MPL students have numerous opportunities to put to practice theories and ideas learned in the classroom.
  • A hallmark of the MPL program is its multi-sector perspective on and approach to planning. USC Price graduates recognize that planning must not only emphasize the public sector, but also be aware of the role of the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and the needs of citizens in urban planning and community development.
  • USC’s location in Los Angeles and Southern California provides MPL graduates access to the largest planning job market in the world and opportunities for internships.
  • The MPL adjunct faculty are drawn from the vast pool of professional urban planning talent available in the region.

  From the MPL Director:

Half of humanity now lives in urban areas. As challenges of sustainability, economic development, human health, and democratic governance play out in cities and mega-cities across the globe, urban planners will have an increasingly critical role to play.

BoarnetProfessor Marlon Boarnet
Director of Graduate Programs in Urban Planning