The Planning program curriculum is designed to be interdisciplinary, providing students with an opportunity to specialize in an area of interest while obtaining a solid background in planning theory and practice.

To earn the Master of Science in Planning (MSP) degree, students must complete 37 credits of core courses and an internship under the direct supervision of a professional planner. The internship seminar matches student interest with community partners. Students will also choose nine credits of concentration courses within one of our three areas, or may create their own independent concentration area. Choosing an area of concentration allows for greater student engagement with specialized faculty while providing an in-depth exploration of content, methods, and applications specific to a desired professional focus. Full-time planning students typically complete the program in two years.

Areas of Concentration

Incoming Planning students may choose from three diverse concentration areas or may tailor a unique educational experience by creating their own area of concentration through consultation with the academic advisor. The area of concentration allows students to engage with specialized faculty and to focus their study on content, methods, and applications specific to their desired professional goals.

Land Use and Urban Development: The Land Use and Urban Development concentration prepares students for jobs in public and private sector agencies in the areas of land use regulation, growth and land development, comprehensive planning, infrastructure planning, and other aspects of professional planning practice.  Students may focus on the physical, economic, environmental, or social dimensions of land use and community development.  The concentration emphasizes the connections among these land use dimensions and is designed to reflect the many ways in which land use and community development are linked to housing, infrastructure, public finance, social equity, and other planning issues. 
Environmental Planning and Geodesign: The Environmental Planning and Geodesign concentration focuses on the complex linkages between human and natural systems through carefully integrating components of sustainable development. The concentration involves the study of landscape ecology, resource and natural systems management, environmental design, conservation planning, large-landscape evaluations, land use suitability, green infrastructure, spatial modeling, and Geographic Information Science (GIS). Geodesign is an emerging field in which the analytical rigor and methodological strategies of environmental planning are fused with the creativity and graphic capabilities of landscape design.  Methodologies in Environmental Planning and Geodesign are systematic, iterative, and transparent and they rely on integrating a wide spectrum of contemporary environmental issues in order to achieve more sustainable environmental and social outcomes.
Heritage Conservation: The Heritage Conservation concentration educates students in the preservation of the built environment as part of a comprehensive ethic of environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. In this interdisciplinary concentration which is intended to balance theory and practice, research and outreach, students gain an awareness of the geographic, cultural technological, economic, and political factors that shape the built environment. They have an opportunity to become familiar with building traditions, cultural artifacts, sites, and cultural landscapes of prehistoric and historic groups who have defined the Greater Southwest. Students will gain an understanding of the language, concepts and tools of heritage conservation and historic preservation and will be able to survey, document and communicate information about cultural and historic resources.

Independent Concentration: The Independent Concentration focuses on areas of specialization identified by students who chose to work with faculty mentors to select courses that target individualized professional goals. Courses taken for the Independent Concentration must be pre-approved by the student’s adviser.

Degree Options

Dual Degree: The Planning program has partnered with the Eller College of Management to offer the option to earn both a Master of Business Administration degree and an MS Planning degree concurrently (MBA/MS Planning). 

Accelerated Degree: University of Arizona undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Geography and Regional Development or Sustainable Built Environments may be able to earn an MS Planning degree through the Accelerated Master’s Program.

Accelerated programs are available on a case by case basis for those students who have completed an undergraduate degree in Planning.

Graduate Certificates

Planning students may earn an interdisciplinary professional certificate along with the planning degree in any the following programs:

For additional information regarding any of the above programs, please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor, Amy Moraga, at, or at 520-621-9819.

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