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Urban Planning and Community Development, MS

UMass Boston's Urban Planning and Community Development master's program is designed to make you an expert in the theory and practice of planning urban spaces and economies. The program brings together the expertise of faculty from several colleges within the university and builds upon decades of research and community engagement by the university’s institutes and centers, which collectively focus on the metropolitan area’s diverse population, governance, and its built and natural environments. In addition, the program takes advantage of partnerships with community-based organizations to promote economic development, affordable housing, and small business development, with a deliberate agenda to address social and environmental inequity and serve the needs and interests of underrepresented communities.

 (Public Information/PAB Required)

Application Deadlines:

Deadlines: June 1 for fall, December 1 for spring
Letters of Recommendation: 2
Other: 3.0 undergraduate GPA

What You Can Take

Students take core courses in the foundations of planning, cities, and urban economies gaining an understanding of human settlements drawing from concepts and theories from social and environmental sciences. Students complete method and technique courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods and geographic and management information systems. Students choose a concentration (Environmental Planning or Community Development) and complete 5 courses within their area of concentration. All students complete a capstone Design Studio rounding out the 48 credit hours required for the degree.

Learning Objectives for this program can be viewed here.


Program of Study

Required Core Courses (9 courses, 27 credits)
UPCD 600 History and Theory of Planning
UPCD 613 Urban Economics and the Environment
UPCD 620 Quantitative Research Methods
UPCD XXX Master Planning (new course)
UPCD 631 Land Use Controls
UPCD XXX The Urban Development Process (new course)
UPCD 632 Law, Ethics, and Practice
PPOL 704 Research Methods II (Qualitative Research Methods)
PPOL 746 Geographic Information Systems for Public Policy

Required Capstone (2 courses, 6 credits)
UPCD 750 Planning Studio 1
UPCD 751 Planning Studio 2

Environmental Planning and Land Use Concentration (5 courses, 15 credits)
UPCD 667 Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment (Site Planning)
UPCD 701 Urban and Regional Environmental Planning (Regional Scale)
ENVSCI 718L Environmental Law and Policy: Federal Agencies, Courts, and Congress
Two electives selected from graduate courses in Environmental Sciences (ENVSCI), Urban Planning and Community Development (UPCD), Economics (ECON), or Public Policy (PPOL)

Housing and Community Development Concentration (5 courses, 15 credits)
UPCD 720 Community Development for Urban Planners (History/Theory/Methods)
UPCD 725 Contemporary Community Development (Project Planning)
UPCD XXX Financing Housing and Community Development Projects (new course)
Two electives selected from graduate courses in Environmental Sciences (ENVSCI), Urban Planning and Community Development (UPCD), Economics (ECON), or Public Policy (PPOL)

What You Will Learn

After completing your MS in urban planning and community development you will be prepared to work as a professional urban planner or community development officer. You will have deep and practical knowledge of the qualitative and quantitative methods and skills required for these professions as well as experiential understanding of the environmental, design, and economic development principles that shape the field. 

What You Can Do With a Masters in Urban Planning and Community Development

MS in Urban Planning and Community Development alumni apply the practical and theoretical knowledge gained in the program to work with diverse communities, across government agencies, and in private and nonprofit sectors. Alumni are employed as regional planners with state agencies, in neighborhood organizations as community development officers, and in municipal government and nonprofits supporting integrated issues of social justice, equity, and environmental sustainability.

Application and Admission

Application Information
Information for International Graduate Applicants

Cost of Attendance

General Information
Tuition and Fees

Graduate Student Aid

University-funded Graduate Assistantships
Grant-funded Research Assistantships
Off-Campus Internships and Cooperative Education

Program Faculty

Program Contact

Contact or Graduate Program Director Elizabeth Sweet at

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