USC Price School of Public Policy

Achievement Measurements


USC Price MPL students prove to be tremendously successful as evidenced by their job placement rates and pass rates for the AICP exam (the first step in becoming a certified planner).

Comprehensive Exam Pass Rates:

Pass rates for the USC MPL Comprehensive Exam, a requirement to graduate from the program, have been high over recent years. Students are well-prepared to produce a professional level analysis under time constraints dictated by the five-day exam format.

Year # of Students Registered for the Exam # of Students Passed # of Students Failed Pass Rate
2010 41 39 2 95%
2011 67 65 2 97%
2012 80 76 4 95%
2013 64 59 5 92%
2014 83 82 1 99%
2015 81 79 2 98%
2016 69 68 1 99%

Graduation Rates & Statistics

As our program has continued to develop, the number of graduates has increased considerably:

Year # of Students Graduated
2009-2010 34
2010-2011 66
2011-2012 76
2012-2013 69
2013-2014 79
2014-2015 79
2015-2016 81

One measure of success dictated by the Planning Accreditation Board is the graduation rate of students within four years of matriculating into the program:

Admit Year # of Enrolled Students Percent Graduated within 4 Years
Fall 2009 64 94%
Fall 2010 78 95%
Fall 2011 68 96%
Fall 2012 96 95%

Retention Rate:

The retention rate is the percentage of first-year students who return the next academic year.

Admit Year Retention Rate
2013-2014 AY 99%
2014-2015 AY 99%
2015-2016 AY 98%

Employment Rate:

The USC MPL program stays in touch with our graduates, and we are proud of the work they do in the field of planning — some as planners, others in planning-related jobs, and some in industries that benefit from the skills and experiences developed through the Price MPL program.

All graduates of the Price MPL program are surveyed for their job placement information. Job placement information is based on the total number of respondents of the Annual Job Placement Survey.

2013 2014 2015
% of graduates employed within 1 year of graduation in a professional planning job or planning-related job 96% 96% 96%
% of graduates not employed in planning or planning-related jobs within 1 year of graduation 2% 0% 2%
% of graduates who pursue further education within 1 year of graduation 2% 4% 2%
% of graduates with unknown employment status 0% 0% 0%
(*Total percentages add up to 100)
100% 100% 100%

A Master in Urban Planning prepares graduates to work across a variety of fields and sectors. USC Price alumni job placement data reflect this diversity of job opportunities. Our survey results indicate that graduates are working in the planning field, planning-related jobs; nonprofit work in mental health services and housing; and private sector jobs in business management, real estate, strategic consulting and public policy. The spectrum of positions is a reflection of the versatility gained with a planning degree and the interdisciplinary nature of the Price School.

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Exam:

To become a certified planner, members of the American Planning Association (APA) must meet certain education and experience requirements, and they must pass the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Exam. The pass rate is the percentage of test takers who pass the examination within 3 years of graduating from a master’s program and/or within 5 years of graduating from a bachelor’s program.

Graduation Years 2012 2013
Number taking exam 8 2
Pass rate 100% 100%

AICP Exam pass rate data are collected by the APA. For a complete list of pass rates for all PAB-accredited institutions see:

Student Achievement

Leadership Development:

The mission of the Master of Planning (MPL) program is to educate students to become leaders in the planning issues and the comprehensive urban development processes of the 21st Century. In June 2013, we surveyed alumni (graduating years 2008-2013, 28% response rate) and asked respondents to rate how well the MPL Program developed their leadership potential. Of the surveyed alumni, 89.3% said that the USC Price MPL degree prepared them for leadership roles in the profession.

Tuition Information:

Information on the Cost of Attendance

USC Price offers a competitive scholarship program to qualified master’s applicants. Information on the scholarship programs and financial aid can be found at the links below:

Price School Scholarship Programs information

USC Office of Financial Aid Website