This degree prepares graduates for professional positions in government, non-profit, and community organizations, and in the private sector by training students with the knowledge, theories, skills and abilities to be leaders in shaping communities. The research activities of the faculty and students are greatly diverse with research topics that include land use planning, economic planning, natural resources and environmental planning, community development planning, and international development planning. This degree is intended as a professional degree and many of our students have pursued careers as practicing planners in a variety of situations. There is also a thesis option to prepare students for their research-oriented careers.
We offer a Master of Science with an emphasis on conducting original research in the form of a research-based thesis or a project-based thesis (creating evidence-based design solutions for complex problems in urban, rural and natural settings). This degree uses the sciences, arts, and humanities to respond to current issues in food and agriculture, natural resource management, and cultural and environmental stewardship, human health and well-being, and community development. Students tend to specialize in two areas: Restoration Ecology and Ecological Design and Community-Focused Design.
Graduates from this program have gone on to academics positions in the U.S. and abroad, as well as research positions in the public sector and overseas, and in private consulting. This degree allows students to study in the same concentration areas as the MS degree. Many of our graduates can be found across the world working in a variety of research positions in a widely varying array of institutions.