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    Cal Poly Pomona
  Feb 20, 2018
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Urban and Regional Planning, M.U.R.P.

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Offered by: College of Environmental Design, Urban and Regional Planning Department

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona prepares individuals for leadership roles in urban and regional planning. Offered in the evening, it provides an opportunity to gain a Masters degree while obtaining professional planning experience. Most students support themselves through professional planning work, but research assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Full-time study requires two years; students with extensive professional obligations may complete the program over three or more years.

The program helps practicing planners advance in their careers and provides entry to the profession for students from a wide range of academic disciplines and work experiences. Coursework takes advantage of the rich research and practice opportunities available in Southern California. The program is further distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • A commitment to linking theory and practice.
  • A strong physical design component.
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with students in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, and Regenerative Studies.
  • The option of a thesis or comprehensive exam.

The program offers specializations in land use and design, community development, environmental policy, and transportation policy. Recent initiatives include increased coursework in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), negotiation and visioning, and leadership. International experiences are available, including an interdisciplinary China studio program offered in conjunction with North China University of Technology.

All graduate students entering College of Environmental Design majors are required to purchase a computer that meets departmental specifications. Applicants are invited to check with their department office or go to the department's website to obtain these specifications. Financial aid assistance for this computer purchase is available to students qualifying for Federal Student Aid (requested via the FAFSA application). Please contact the University's Office of Financial Aid (909-869-3700) for additional information.

Employers laud the program's graduates for their preparation for professional practice, and a large alumni network welcomes them as colleagues. The program has been accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (or its equivalent) since 1974 and is the only Cal State University graduate professional planning program in Southern California. While most graduates become planning practitioners, some pursue Ph.D.s and teaching and research careers.

Professional planners improve the quality of the built and natural environments by developing creative solutions to environmental, transportation, housing, social, economic, and design problems at urban, regional, and national levels. Graduate study leads to the Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree which qualifies graduates for management-level employment in a variety of departments at all levels of government, as well as in private consulting. Graduates also work for public foundations, non-profit corporations, and environmental or public interest groups.

The program offers a broad, interdisciplinary, and rigorous curriculum that combines lectures, seminars, and studio projects. The program features extensive contact with faculty. All required core courses are offered in the evening to accommodate working students. The Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board and has been cited as a national model for the education of planners.

Richard W. Willson, Chair
Do-Hyung Kim, Graduate Coordinator

Admission to the Program

Admission to the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program requires an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better, three letters of recommendation, and a "Statement of Purpose" setting out the applicant's interest in planning, along with a brief background. An applicant with an undergraduate grade point average between 2.5 and 3.0 will be considered for admission on the basis of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A minimum score required on this exam is 280 on the combined scores with not less than 135 on either part. Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or better are not required to take the GRE.

Students are admitted into the program from a variety of disciplines and work backgrounds. Following admission, the student and the Graduate Coordinator prepare an individual program that specifies all courses and other requirements that the student must fulfill to earn the master's degree. Students select a specialization module in one of four areas: environmental policy, community development, land use and design, or transportation policy. Each student's elective program is designed to fit individual needs and interests. The Graduate Coordinator must approve selection of all elective courses. There are opportunities to take interdisciplinary design courses during the summer and to participate in international planning education programs.


Seventy-two units must be completed in the graduate degree program. Certain required courses may be substituted by the departmental Graduate Studies Committee based either on a special examination or on an evaluation of the student's prior education and/or professional experience.

No more than 13 transfer, Extended University, and/or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on a master's contract. The stipulated time limit of 7 years applies to all of the above.

No course below the 400 level will be accepted for graduate credit. A grade point average of "B" (3.0) or better must be maintained in all graded course work at this University attempted by degree-declared graduate students in the Urban and Regional Planning program, and in all courses used to satisfy degree requirements. A maximum of eight units with the grade of "C" (2.0) will be accepted for credit.

Completion of the Program

Students must pass the Graduation Writing Test and all courses on the student's contract to complete the program. Students may elect to complete the final part of their contract by either developing a master's thesis or by successfully completing the master's comprehensive exam. The exam is given once a year in the spring quarter. Students must take the exam preparatory course given in the winter quarter in order to take the exam that spring. The thesis and exam options are all six units each and may be completed in a minimum of two quarters. Enrollment in thesis must begin by the first quarter of the seventh year after the first course taken in pursuit of the MURP degree. In no case will an extension be granted for a thesis or exam that is not completed by the end of the seventh year. An oral defense of the thesis or exam is required.

Specialization Module Courses/Specialization Courses

Students must develop an area of specialization. Each specialization area is composed of 12 units and must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Selected courses for the specialization must meet department guidelines. Students may use 400–level planning courses with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator. Please see the undergraduate section of the catalog. With the Graduate Coordinator's approval, students may also use graduate and 400–level undergraduate courses in other departments and off campus to complete an approved specialization. Suggested areas of specialization are listed below along with the appropriate core course(s).


Elective courses to complete the required minimum of 72 units may be selected from those listed above, 400-level planning courses or any 400, 500, or 600-level course of this university with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator. Specialization module courses may be used as electives. The student should select a group of electives that will help either to specialize in one area or to broaden the student’s background and acquire a wider area of competence.

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