MUP Curriculum


The strength of the program is the connection between theory and practice.

O'CarrollSusan O’Carroll, MPL ’81, Ph.D. ’89
President / Founder, Pareto Planning and Environmental Services

MPL CurriculumThe Master of Urban Planning degree trains students to be leaders and innovators in all aspects of urban planning. Students study the traditional elements of urban planning while being immersed in innovative and emerging themes. Students will study normative approaches to social justice, equity, and inclusion in planning practice, data resources, and visualization techniques that are transforming cities, and methods for crafting place-based approaches to societies most pressing issues.

The Master of Urban Planning degree requires 48 units of graduate coursework, typically completed over a two-year period. All students pursuing the MUP degree will complete core courses that cover basic theories, techniques, and methods. While many students specialize in a specific topical area, the curriculum is structured to support six broad concentrations:

Specialization in Social Justice

The Price School of Public Policy offers a Specialization in Social Justice that focuses on factors contributing to a range of social disparities and inequities, as well as challenges related to managing, planning, and policy making among diverse populations.

I have always believed that there is a huge need for urban planning professionals in civic leadership. As an urban planner, I have always chosen to serve in communities that I believed were up and coming and where I could make the largest impact.

Aja BrownAja Brown, MPL ’05, Compton Mayor, 2016 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award recipient

MUP Core Courses

The MUP core curriculum comprises five lecture-seminar courses:

  • Planning Theory and History for a Just Society
  • Urban and International Development
  • Data, Evidence, and Communications for the Public Good
  • Physical Planning: Urban and Community Design
  • Legal Environment of Planning


Students select from six available Concentrations appropriate to their interests in the planning field. The concentration includes a four-unit gateway course, a four-unit methodology course, and two elective courses.

Studio Class

Students take one studio class as part of the MUP curriculum.


In addition to elective units within the student’s concentration, MUP students complete additional electives for a total of 16 units. These units may be taken as part of an International Lab, from another concentration in planning, a specialization, a certificate program, or from other related fields.