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Master of Urban Planning (MUP)

Save the world, be a planner. The Master of Urban Planning is an accredited, professional degree oriented towards excellence for planning practice. A master's degree 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.

Why urban planning at KU?

The urban planning program is an accredited, two-year master’s degree program within the School of Public Affairs & Administration. We have a long history of training planners for successful, rewarding careers.  Our combination of dedicated and knowledgeable professors and instructors, engaged and talented students, and real-world planning opportunities available in and around Lawrence, Kansas City, and Topeka make us confident you will have an empowering experience as a student at KU.

Urban planning will prepare you to strengthen communities and inspire hope for the future as you learn how to identify and solve problems related to people and nature living next to one another. A degree in urban planning will put you on track to make the world a better place with career opportunities in sustainability, transportation, housing, community building, environmental conservation, governance, non-profits, advocacy, and more.

Domestic Student Application Deadlines

  • Fall admission: July 1

  • Spring admission: Dec. 1

  • Summer admission: May 1

International Student Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: May 1

  • Spring Admission: Nov. 1

Learn More

Our program

  • Focuses on full-time, in-person master’s degree students, pursuit of paid internships, real-world projects, and compassion for self and others. Part-time study is possible.
  • 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, judgment, integrity, initiative, and the ability to work amicably and effectively with others.


Housing and development planning

  • Within the broad profession of planning, many planners choose to work in the area of housing and community development.
  • They pursue careers in neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing development, and local economic development.
  • They are employed in the private sector by real estate developers and real estate lenders, in the non-profit sector by community development corporations, and in the public sector by housing authorities and state housing finance agencies, plus many other organizations and firms.  
  • The housing and development specialization prepares planners to contribute to the profession in this area with an array of courses that address the theories and policies that drive the many housing and community development programs administered at the federal, state, and local levels.  
  • The courses also address the methods of market analysis and project feasibility pursued in the field.  
  • Courses address what works and does not work in the field so as the better utilize scarce resources to achieve success.
  • Students are prepared on how to achieve greater social justice in our cities and neighborhoods.

Sustainable land use planning

  • Planners look out for the long term consequences of current decisions and sustainable land use planners do this by focusing on how we make use of land and other natural resources.
  • Humans, other animals, and plants cannot help but occupy space and there is only so much to go around.
  • Sustainable land use planning seeks to make the best use of that space balancing the competing values of equity, ecology, economy, and quality of life for today and tomorrow.
  • Sustainable land use planners study human and natural systems to provide guidance and recommend policies and designs to decision makers for the long-term viability of communities.
  • Common careers for sustainable land use planners include working for cities and counties creating visions for the future and managing day-to-day development based on long range plans.
  • Those same sorts of skills are sought by consulting firms who hire planners to then work with public sector planners, developers, or property owners.  
  • Sustainable land use planners also work for regional, state, or federal level agencies and governments often in the areas of air or water quality. In addition, they can work in the real estate development field.  
  • Sustainable land use planning is a flexible specialization as it forms the foundation for transportation, housing, and development.

Transportation planning

  • Transportation is an integral element of urban life.
  • Transportation networks facilitate the movement of people and goods, while also having a considerable impact on urban form and the creation of socioeconomic spaces.
  • Transportation occurs at the intersection of planning and politics, and resulting decisions can have resounding impacts throughout a city and region. Issues faced by transportation planners are increasingly complex and interdisciplinary, which require a diverse skillset to address.  
  • Students in this concentration will develop skills in data analysis, technology, policy development, and design as it relates to transportation planning.
  • The transportation planning focus area prepares students for professional work in transportation related entities at local, regional and national levels, and in private firms which are engaged in transportation planning.

Connect With Us

We're taking a brief summer vacation from hosting our info sessions while we get the application ready for 2025. We'll start up again in September and hope you join us then! If you'd like to meet with us directly, book a meeting with our program coordinator.

Accelerated degree programs

The urban planning program offers accelerated master's degrees between planning and other University departments. These accelerated master's programs allow well-qualified students to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years, rather than the six years it would take to earn each degree separately.

Woman in UBPL785 Class Participation

Dual degree programs

The urban planning program offers dual degrees between planning and other University departments. Each of these dual degree programs allows a student to earn two KU degrees while reducing the number of hours required to complete each of those degrees.

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Graduation Rates and Employment Information

of students the entering class of 2019 graduated within 4 years
of the graduating class of 2018, who took the AICP exam within 5 years, passed
of the graduating class of 2022 obtained professional planning or planning-related positions within 12 months of graduation

Learn more about this program

Get more info on admission, deadlines, tuition and financial aid, career paths, curriculum, and more when you fill out the form below. We’ll be in touch to answer any questions and help you get started.

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Questions about the MUP?

Program and admission information
Derek Bixler, Graduate Program Coordinator

Internship & professional development
Cari Ann Kreienhop, Graduate Programming Manager

Issues submitting application
KU Graduate Studies