This concentration provides the skills and experience needed by professional planners to develop and use spatial analysis technology in both public and private organizations to improve their service delivery, management, and policy planning activities. Planning students learn state-of-the-art skills for using and analyzing data spatially in planning for improvements in transportation, housing, economic development, environment, natural resources, and related fields.

Related Certificates

Overview

The Urban Planning program at UWM is a professional, skills-oriented, master’s program designed to train students to perform a variety of planning-related jobs in either the public or private sector.

The program focuses on planning as a process for improving collective decisions in the public and private sectors. The planning process includes analyzing problems, designing alternative solutions and evaluating their consequences, developing strategies for action and participating in their implementation. This process is used in both government and business in developing policy for future action, so that today’s solutions do not become tomorrow’s problems.

The program’s elective courses combined with other courses on campus enable the development of more specialized depth in several planning related areas under the following concentrations: Urban Revitalization; Economic Development; Urban Geographic Information Systems; Transportation; Physical Planning and Urban Design; and Environmental Resources.

The Department is staffed by faculty members who combine academic and professional qualifications and who are committed to active involvement in current issues. They teach by example, using case studies and projects involving actual situations in most courses. This approach injects reality into the educational environment, allows students to see the relevance of the material in the curriculum, and shows students how their courses relate to their professional practice.

The Milwaukee Metropolitan area of one-and-one-half million persons is a learning laboratory that classroom projects and faculty researchers use extensively. Moreover, students gain additional practical experience through internships in the wide array of planning positions available in the Milwaukee area.

MArch/MUP Coordinated Degree Program

In cooperation with the Department of Architecture, the Department of Urban Planning offers a Master of Architecture/Master of Urban Planning program to prepare students for positions as architect/planners. Students in the program concurrently pursue a Master of Architecture degree program and a Master of Urban Planning degree program. Prerequisite to the award of either degree in this program is the simultaneous award of its counterpart degree. For more detailed information on this program see Credits and Courses section below.

MS/MUP Coordinated Degree Program

In cooperation with the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the Department of Urban Planning offers a Master of Science in Engineering/Master of Urban Planning program to prepare students for positions in transportation, public works or similar areas. Students in the program will concurrently pursue a Master of Urban Planning degree program in the Department of Urban Planning and a Master of Science in Engineering degree program from the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Prerequisite to the award of either degree in this program is the simultaneous award of its counterpart degree.

MPA/MUP Coordinated Degree Program

A joint degree program has been designed to allow students to obtain both the Master of Public Administration and the Master of Urban Planning degrees concurrently. This program is intended to combine professional training in planning with applied administrative and managerial skills. More detailed information on this program can be found later in this section and in the Public Administration section of this Bulletin.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these Department of Urban Planning requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  • Three letters of recommendation from three previous faculty and/or professionals.
  • For international applicants whose first language is not English, a minimum TOEFL score of 100 iBT or a score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam is required. Applicants with TOEFL scores from 79-99 iBT, or an IELTS score of 6.5 will be considered for admission only with the stipulation that further coursework in English be taken.

Candidates seeking admission to the M.Arch/MUP, the MPA/MUP, or the MS/MUP program must apply to and be admitted to both programs. The requirements for admission to the Master of Architecture degree program are detailed in the Architecture section of this Catalog. The requirements for admission to the Master of Science in Engineering program are detailed in the Engineering section of this Catalog. The requirements for admission to the MPA program are detailed in the Public Administration section of this Catalog.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 48 credits. Of these 48 credits, 27 are taken in the core curriculum, consisting of the following courses:

Core Curriculum
URBPLAN 701Introduction to Land Use Planning1
URBPLAN 702Introduction to Planning Law2
URBPLAN 711Planning Theories and Practice3
URBPLAN 720Urban Development Theory and Planning3
URBPLAN 721Applied Planning Methods3
URBPLAN 740Data Analysis Methods I3
URBPLAN 810Planning Policy Analysis6
URBPLAN 811Applied Planning Workshop3
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Urban Design and Physical Planning
Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning
Urban Design as Public Policy
Concentration or Emphasis Area
Select a concentration or emphasis area21
Total Credits48

Emphasis Areas

The remaining 21 credits may be taken in the general option or any of the emphasis areas listed under the Overview tab: Urban Revitalization; Economic Development; Urban Geographic Information Systems; Transportation; Physical Planning and Urban Design; and Environmental Resources. Each emphasis area consists of a recommended cluster of courses which may include one or more planning electives as emphasis area core courses, and a selection of electives from among planning and other courses. Details of the emphasis area can be obtained from the Department of Urban Planning and are finalized in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.

Transcript-Designated Concentration in Geographic Information Systems

Students must complete a minimum of 15 credits from the following groups of courses.

Required9
Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning
Using Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planning
Applied Projects in Urban Geographic Information Systems
Electives6
Select a minimum of 6 elective credits 1
Total Credits15

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. A student who is not assigned to an advisor at time of admission should immediately contact the Department Chair.

Transfer Credits

Graduate coursework in urban planning or a related discipline taken prior to a student’s admission to the program may be considered for transfer to the master’s degree.

Writing Assessment

Being able to write clearly and effectively is a critical skill for planners. The Urban Planning program encourages improvement in student’s writing skills by emphasizing writing improvement across the curriculum, and especially in the core courses.

In some cases, students require more intense instruction to improve their skills to the level needed for planning practice. Faculty members assess student writing proficiency in the first semester core courses. Students who lack the required level of proficiency may be required to take a writing course as part of their second semester program of study. Writing proficiency is also a required element of the comprehensive exam.

Comprehensive Examination

All students in the program must take a written comprehensive examination as a requirement for graduation. The examination is given between the second and third semesters so that any deficiencies can be eliminated in the second year of the program through structured courses or directed study. Successful completion of the exam, or successful completion of courses specified for removal of deficiencies, represents fulfillment of the comprehensive examination requirement. Students in the M.S./MUP program also must take and pass the comprehensive examination in engineering.

Thesis

No formal master’s project or master’s thesis is required for the MUP degree. However, a thesis may be substituted for as many as 6 elective credits. The student must obtain approval for the thesis proposal from any urban planning faculty member. The students may relate their thesis work to the program core, the general option or an emphasis option.

Time Limit

The degree program itself is designed largely for full-time students. But the program does allow students up to seven years from the time of initial enrollment to complete all degree requirements.

Students in the M.Arch/MUP and MPA/MUP programs are allowed up to seven years from time of initial enrollment to complete all requirements for both degrees. Students in the M.S./MUP program are allowed up to five years from time of initial enrollment to complete all requirements for both degrees.

*Note* Individuals seeking to use the School’s Shop must first provide evidence of personal accident and health insurance to the Dean’s office. Since no accident or health insurance is provided to any user by the University, access to this resource will be prohibited to uninsured individuals.