4+1 Program (BSSD/MUP)

The BSSD/MUP 4+1 program allows students completing the Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design (BSSD) degree to complete the Master of Urban Planning (MUP) on an accelerated timeline. The 4+1 program is highly selective - the majority of successful applicants to the program have a 3.5 GPA or higher, and demonstrate extraordinary evidence of preparedness for the MUP program. BSSD students must plan early to complete prerequisites. Junior BSSD students may apply to participate in the program.

UP Course Requirements Prior to Senior Year

To apply for the BSSD/MUP 4+1 program, BSSD students should take the following UP courses prior to senior year:

Code Title Hours
UP 101 Introduction to City Planning 3
UP 116 Urban Informatics I (Gen Ed: Quant Reasoning I) 3
or STAT 100 Statistics
UP 210 Environmental Economics (Gen Ed: Social/Behavioral Sci) 3
or ECON 102 Microeconomic Principles
or ACE 100 Introduction to Applied Microeconomics
UP 203 Cities: Planning & Urban Live 3
or UP 204 Chicago: Planning & Urban Life
UP 312 Communication for Planners (Gen Ed: Advanced Composition) 4
UP 316 Urban Informatics II (Gen Ed: Quant Reasoning II) 3
Pick one: 3-4
UP 405 Watershed Ecology and Planning
UP 406 Urban Ecology
UP 418 GIS for Planners
UP 420 Planning for Historic Preservation
UP 430 Urban Transportation Planning
UP 433 Public Transportation Planning
UP 434 Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning
UP 456 Sustainable Planning Workshop
UP 479 Community Engagement in Planning
UP 486 Planning with Climate Change
UP 494 Special Topics in Planning (section SK, Food Systems Planning)
One additional course at the 400 level in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning (may also pick an additional course from pick one list above) 3-4

Admissions Process

Applications for the 4+1 Program are due from BSSD students by December 15th of their Junior year.  Applicants will prepare a packet containing the following items:

  1. Cover Letter: Please prepare a cover letter that includes your name, UIN, and University of Illinois email address, and that clearly states that you are applying to the BSSD/MUP 4+1 program.
  2. Statement of Purpose: Please compose a statement of purpose of no more than 1,500 words that describes your background, motivation, and qualifications for pursuing a MUP degree at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The statement of purpose should focus not only on your qualifications, but also on your future educational and professional goals, and your substantive area of focus within the MUP program.
  3. Resume: Please attach a current resume of no more than 2 pages in length.
  4. Work Examples: Please attach with your application up to two examples of professional work products. These products may have been produced by you as part of a class assignment, internship, or other professional engagement. The selected work examples should be reflective of your preparedness to undertake graduate-level study in the senior year of your BSSD degree.

Applicants should submit their application packet as a single PDF document to Jennifer Kowalski at urbplan@illinois.edu by December 15th of their Junior year. Students will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies by February 15th of their junior year if they have been accepted into the 4+1 program. Admission to the 4+1 program does not guarantee admission to the MUP program, although applicants are accepted into the 4+1 program based on the high likelihood that they would be admitted to the MUP program.

4+1 Plan of Study (BSSD/MUP)

The 4+1 program is split into two components – the senior year of the BSSD program, and the MUP program year.

BSSD Senior year

A BSSD student admitted to the 4+1 program is expected to enroll in the first-year MUP core courses in their senior year, although they are not yet admitted to the MUP program. Typically, a 4+1 student will take FAA 430 BSSD Capstone Seminar (3 hours) and FAA 431 BSSD Capstone Studio (5 hours), as required by the BSSD program, plus the five first-year MUP core courses:

  • UP 501: Planning History and Theory (Fall)
  • UP 503: Physical Planning (Fall)
  • UP 504: Urban History and Theory (Spring)
  • UP 505: Urban and Regional Analysis (Spring)
  • UP 511: Law and Planning (Spring)

The MUP core courses meet the BSSD requirements for UP electives and planning-related electives. In the fall and spring semesters of the senior year, the BSSD Program Coordinator will collect feedback on 4+1 student performance from their course instructors and will make a determination regarding adequate progress in the program.

At the end of the senior year, the 4+1 student is qualified to graduate with the BSSD degree, having met all the requirements of that program. In the senior year, 4+1 students wishing to complete the MUP degree will formally apply to the MUP program, by submitting a full application package including recommendations, statement of purpose, and transcripts. Students who follow this program will be eligible for a minor in Urban Studies and Planning regardless of their admission to the MUP program as a 4+1 student.

MUP program year

Once admitted to the MUP program, a 4+1 student must take 32 hours of graduate courses, 20 of which must be UP courses. These courses include the MUP capstone requirement (8 credit hours). Up to two MUP core courses may be included among the 32 hours. If more core courses are needed, then correspondingly more than 32 hours will be required for the MUP degree. The 32 hours of graduate courses is a minimum requirement for the MUP degree; it cannot be reduced by UP 590 internship or course waivers.

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