Naismith with basket of plans

Save the World, Be a Planner

What is Urban Planning?

Urban planning is a professional field concerned with addressing the health and welfare of communities. Planners are problem-solvers. They must be able to deal with both short- and long-range planning and projects large and small. Planners seek to enhance overall quality of life by addressing aspects of communities such as housing, land use, transportation, and responsible development that preserves the natural environment.

Planning is:

  • Protecting the environment
  • Serving the public
  • Housing people
  • Creating transportation choices
  • Pursuing sustainability
  • Preserving history
  • Attending to resilience and hazard mitigation
  • Fostering economic development, and
  • Crafting great communities

Good urban planning creates communities that offer better choices for living. Planners help people make their communities more convenient, healthful, efficient, fair and attractive. Good planning improves the welfare of people and communities in the present and for the future.

If you are curious to learn more about what planning is, the American Planning Association is a great resource. 


Our History

The KU Urban Planning Program granted its first master’s degree in 1975. Since that time, more than 550 “Jayhawk Planners” have graduated. We take pride in being a small, student-centered program, where faculty members strive to provide a cutting-edge curriculum that is responsive to student interests and needs.  Thomas Galloway was the founding chair of the urban planning program at KU.  As a professor, Galloway pushed students to understand the present by seeking out different social, cultural, environmental, ideological, and philosophical points of view. He encouraged students to go out into the world and change it with a sense of responsibility and humility.


Why Urban Planning at KU?

KU's Master of Urban Planning is an accredited, professional degree oriented towards excellence for planning practice. It is the normal academic qualification for planning and planning-related positions. Our graduates excel in careers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Our program:

● Offers subject matter that reflects the state of the art of policy planning and analysis, planning education, and planning practice.

● Provides a curriculum flexible enough to respond to the emerging needs of society and the planning profession.

● Gives students applied skills needed for entry-level professional positions, as well as the fundamentals of theory and methods that will enable them to move up to higher positions or pursue advanced study.

● Assists students in developing personal qualities essential to be an effective professional planner, such as creativity, common sense, judgment, integrity, initiative, and the ability to work amicably and effectively with others.

● Has a reputation of high in-field job placement and a strong network of alumni who make significant contributions to the field of planning.  Learn more on the Public Information and Program Data page.

Our MPA and MUP students have nearly 100% placement rate within 6 months of graduation.

  • We are unique in offering students both academic and workplace-based professional development education to strengthen the provision of public services in society.

  • It is this signature combination, rigorous academic study, and practical experience that consistently places us among the top-ranked programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

  • Our students are ready and able to step into their communities equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve.

Are you ready to make a difference?