The Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is primarily intended to prepare graduates for professional positions in government, non-profit 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 department takes an integrated approach to academic studies. It’s research and service goals reflect the university’s combination of scholarly and applied work. The research activities of departmental faculty are diverse. They tend to cluster around the areas of: land use planning; economic planning; natural resources and environmental planning; community development planning; and international development planning; as well as on planning process themes. Faculty members are engaged in research on planning practice; the ethics and values of planners; community development planning, evaluation of economic development and social welfare programs; tourism and natural resources planning; comparative planning and public policy issues in the international area; integrated environmental planning and management; watershed planning, social conflict over land use and environmental issues; growth management; alternative dispute resolution; social justice in urban areas; and other related areas. These interests are reflected in the curriculum structure.
The Master’s degree coursework consists of 45 credits distributed among core planning skills and knowledge, an individualized Area of Concentration, and elective courses. Students also gain practical experience in planning and problem solving through required internships. A summary of the department’s requirements are outlined below; details are available in the MS URPL Handbook .
The objectives of the professional Master of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning are to:
(1) 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 non-profit sectors. Planning processes include the identification of objectives, design of possible courses of action, and evaluation of alternatives.
(2) Convey a set of planning literacies to enable students to perform effectively as planners in public, private or non-profit 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
(3) Prepare students with the substantive knowledge foundation and tools, methods and techniques of planning associated with an area of concentration.