USC Price School of Public Policy

Master of Planning

VIDEO: MPL students and recent grads discuss why they chose USC; the friendships, connections, and mentors they are making at USC; and how through the blend of theory and real-world experiences they are having a positive impact in our community.
USC Price is making a significant investment into expanding the visualization of public policy and urban planning with the launch of the Spatial Analysis Lab (SLAB), aiming to experiment with multimedia sights and sounds to bring attention to overlooked urban spaces and people. These visual tools enhance Price’s commitment to social justice and equity. Learn more »
Renowned Faculty: Price faculty members are distinguished scholars who share a deep and abiding commitment and teaching. Our adjunct faculty members are drawn from the vast pool of professional urban planning talent available in the region and beyond. Read about our faculty scholarship and teaching, in their own words, in our Faculty Voice Series »
The Graduate Certificate in Social Justice explores the factors that contribute to a broad range of disparities (or inequities) and the challenges that exist when managing, planning and policy making among diverse populations. Learn more »
The Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development provides an overview of the development process and specific training on the financial modeling and market analysis skills used to evaluate the success of a real estate project. Learn more »
Price grad students traveled to São Paulo to explore housing provisions and make recommendations based on the experiences of other major metropolitan areas. The trip was part of the Brazil International Lab, led by Professor Richard Green.

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— What role will you play? How will you shape our communities for the better? —

The Master of Planning (MPL) Program

Urban planners address today’s complex challenges while designing a blueprint for the future of their communities. They consider a broad spectrum of needs to promote the growth, wellness, and sustainability of localities based on its resources and character. With more than half of the global population living in cities, there is great demand for creative and knowledgeable planning professionals.

The Master of Planning (MPL) program at the USC Price School of Public Policy is one of the most distinguished academic programs of its kind. USC Price is ranked 4th overall among public affairs schools in the U.S. News & World Report and Planetizen considers the MPL program one of Top 10 Graduate Urban Planning Programs. The MPL curriculum draws strategically upon the core disciplines at USC Price, including public policy, administration, and real estate. Integrating theory and practice, the Price MPL program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board of the American Planning Association.

Our Mission: The mission of the Master of Planning 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.

Explore the many professional and research opportunities available through our areas of expertise


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What makes the USC Price School MPL program so unique?

Students study in a dynamic, living laboratory — Los Angeles is the nexus for progressive thinking on urban planning, sustainability, and policy. Distinctive public spaces, public services, institutions, renewal projects, and topographies are imagined and reimagined for a richly diverse population. Price MPL students find unmatched opportunities to interact with planning leaders, mentors, and innovators. They conduct research alongside our prominent faculty, take classes focused on current challenges in the field, and build an extensive professional network across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Emphasis on Practice: We are committed to preparing students for practice. Through internships, domestic and international planning studios, community-based research and projects, our students have numerous opportunities to put to practice theories and ideas learned in the classroom.

Renowned Faculty: Price faculty members are distinguished scholars who share a deep and abiding commitment and teaching. Our adjunct faculty members are drawn from the vast pool of professional urban planning talent available in the region and beyond.

Multi-Sector Perspective: A hallmark of the MPL program is its multi-sector approach to planning. USC Price graduates recognize that planning must emphasize not only the public sector, but also involve the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and unique needs of individual communities in urban planning.

Concentrations that Develop Expertise: The Price MPL program links theory and practice by requiring theoretical core classes and immersive studio experiences. Students shape their educational experience by selecting one of five concentrations listed below.

Dual Degree Options: 12 different dual degree options are available for students interested in mastering two disciplines, often over an accelerated period of time.

Los Angeles: The Price School’s location in the heart Southern California provides MPL graduates perspective that can be translated globally. In addition, L.A. is the largest planning job market in the world.