The master’s degree in urban and regional planning is intended primarily to prepare graduates for professional positions in government, nonprofit and community organizations and the private sector. We seek to train students with the knowledge, theories, skills and abilities to be leaders in shaping communities.
The M.S. program equips students with sufficient understanding of and training in the principal tools, methods, and techniques of planning to enable them to perform effectively as junior members of planning staffs from the start of their careers; in addition, UW–Madison’s program in planning emphasizes concepts, perspectives, and practices that promise to be useful not only upon graduation, but even more so in later years for graduates who reach positions of major influence and responsibility.
Although the department stresses the development of general skills and mental attitudes that are common to all planning endeavors, students are required to specialize in an area of planning that is of interest to the student.
The department seeks students with high academic qualifications and the potential to become qualified professional planners. The department is especially interested in women and minority applicants. Since there are relatively few undergraduate planning programs in the country, students come into the field from a wide range of disciplines. In recent years, planning students have generally come from the social sciences, with geography, economics, political science, and sociology the most common undergraduate backgrounds. The range, however, runs from the arts to the sciences.
Objectives of the M.S. URPL degree
- Prepare students to engage in planning processes that recognize a complex, pluralistic democratic society. Students develop the capacity to work with diverse publics, across government agencies, and in private and nonprofit sectors. Planning processes include the identification of objectives, design of possible courses of action, and evaluation of alternatives.
- Convey a set of planning literacies to enable students to perform effectively as planners in public, private or nonprofit sectors. These literacies include knowledge in the following areas:
- Structure and function of cities and regions
- History and theory of planning processes and practices
- Administrative, legal and political aspects of plan-making
- Public involvement and dispute resolution techniques
- Research design and data analysis techniques
- Written, oral and graphic communication skills
- Ethics of professional practice
- Collaborative approaches to problem solving
- Prepare students with the substantive knowledge foundation and tools, methods and techniques of planning associated with an area of specialization.