A Flexible Curriculum Built Around Your Needs

Our program provides a solid foundation in theory and practical skills. And it offers the flexibility to design a concentration around your needs. Students finish their degree in 2 years. They complete all required courses and a capstone project or thesis for a total of 64 credit hours.

Urban Planning class

Opportunity for a Joint Degree

MUP students can pursue a joint degree with other graduate programs on campus. A joint degree program allows students to complete 2 graduate degrees with reduced total requirements. We have established joint degree guidelines for the following programs:

  • Master of Architecture (MArch)
  • Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)
  • Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Science in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism (MSRST)

Students may propose joint degrees with other related graduate programs on campus.

Urban Planning class

Comprehensive Requirements

We have organized the MUP curriculum into 5 major components.

  • Core Courses: 6 required classes that review fundamental knowledge, skills, and values for urban planning
  • Flexible Concentrations: specialized courses in one or more selected concentrations
  • Electives: from the department and across the university
  • Recommended Internship: real-world planning and research experience
  • Capstone Project or Thesis: (required) in which students demonstrate professional aptitude through practical problem solving or research

Core Courses

MUP core courses teach a solid base of knowledge and skills required for effective professional planning. Students take core courses as a cohort over their first 3 semesters.

  • UP 501: Planning History and Theory
  • UP 503: Physical Planning
  • UP 504: Urban History and Theory
  • UP 505: Urban and Regional Analysis
  • UP 511: Law and Planning
  • UP 510: Plan Making Workshop

Flexible Concentrations and Stream

MUP students develop specialized expertise in one or more subfields. They work with their faculty advisor to design a concentration tailored to their specific interests. The MUP has 4 recommended concentrations and 1 stream that align with faculty expertise.

  • Land Use & Environmental Planning (LUEP): Land use planning impacts our environment, infrastructure, and demography. It influences the ways our communities function. Students develop an understanding of the theories and ideas important to planning. They hone analytical skills for managing land use, physical development, and environmental quality. LUEP Faculty: Dustin Allred, Arnab Chakraborty, Fang Fang, Sean Kennedy, Bumsoo Lee, Rolf Pendall, Hugo Sarmiento, and Daniel Schneider
  • Transportation Planning: Transportation planners evaluate and prioritize transportation projects. And they assess the economic, social, and environmental impacts of those plans and projects. Beyond technical skills, this concentration emphasizes integrated transportation and land use planning, multi-modal transportation systems, and equitable access to opportunities in disadvantaged communities. Transportation Faculty: Lindsay Braun, Arnab Chakraborty, and Bumsoo Lee
  • Community Development for Social Justice (CDSJ): Community development professionals design and implement strategies to improve quality of life. They empower people, build capacity, and generate community-based wealth and asset control. This concentration prepares practitioners for a range of local, regional, and global contexts, as well as for public and non-profit sectors. CDSJ Faculty: Andrew Greenlee, Lindsay Braun, Marc Doussard, Faranak Miraftab, Rolf Pendall, Magdalena Novoa, Ken Salo, and Lou Turner
  • Local & Regional Economic Development (LRED): Economic development planners strengthen the growth and equity of local and regional economies. They redress problems of economic distress, unemployment, and poverty. They secure the resources vital to essential public services, including affordable housing, parks, schools, and transportation infrastructure. LRED Faculty: Marc Doussard, Mary Edwards, and Craig Rost
  • Transnational Planning Stream: The Transnational Planning Stream is a group of courses and learning opportunities that supplement the MUP concentrations. It works with, rather than in lieu of, other planning subfields. The stream promotes critical thinking and analytical skills related to the history of international development planning, globalization, and the ethics and politics of contemporary development. Transnational Planning Faculty: Faranak Miraftab, Arnab Chakraborty, Marc Doussard, Andrew Greenlee, Sean Kennedy, Ken Salo, Hugo Sarmiento, and Daniel Schneider

Recommended Concentration Courses

Land Use & Environmental Planning

Transportation Planning


UP 406 Urban Ecology
UP 466 Energy, Planning, & Built Environment
UP 546 Land Use Policy & Planning


UP 430 Urban Transportation Planning
UP 460 Urban Transportation & Land Use Policy


UP 418 GIS for Planners
UP 475 Real Estate Development Fundamentals
UP 519 Advanced Applications of GIS


UP 431 Travel Behavior Analysis


UP 405 Watershed Ecology & Planning
UP 438 Disaster Planning
UP 447 Land Use Planning Workshop
UP 456 Sustainable Planning Workshop



UP 432 Transportation Equity
UP 433 Public Transportation Planning
UP 434 Pedestrian & Bicycle Planning
UP 494 Transportation Planning Workshop


Community Development for Social Justice

Local & Regional Economic Development


UP 473 Housing and Urban Policy



UP 407 State & Local Public Finance
UP 545 Economic Development Policy & Practice


UP 474 Neighborhood Planning
UP 479 Community Engagement in Planning
UP 494 Neighborhood Analysis


UP 418 GIS for Planners
UP 475 Real Estate Development Fundamentals
UP 494 Neighborhood Analysis


UP 432 Transportation Equity
UP 470 Shrinking Cities
UP 478 Community Development Workshop



UP 473 Housing & Urban Policy
FIN 445 Real Estate Investment



Transnational Planning


UP 423 Community Development in the Global South


UP 428 International Planning Workshop
UP 521 Transnational Planning Seminar


Professional Internship

We encourage MUP students to complete a professional internship. This opportunity provides practical experience in real-world planning, especially if students do not have prior professional experience.

Student in foreign country with child

Capstone Project or Thesis

MUP students complete a capstone project or thesis in their second year, which demonstrates professional competency to both faculty and potential employers. The capstone asks students to apply what they have learned to real-world problems. A capstone project is a professional project or analysis, typically for an external client. It focuses on a topic relevant to the student’s selected concentration. A capstone thesis may be applied or basic scholarly research conducted under the formal thesis guidelines of the department and Graduate College. MUP Capstones (projects and theses) are archived in IDEALS, the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarhip. Contact the City Planning and Landscape Architecture Reference and Resource Center if you need assistance locating any capstone materials.

Student in foreign country with child

Sample Coursework

Below is a sample of MUP courses including core, concentration, and elective classes.



Year 1

UP 501: Planning History and Theory
UP 503: Physical Planning
UP 504: Urban History and Theory
Concentration Foundation
UP 505: Urban and Regional Analysis
UP 511: Law and Planning
Concentration Method

Summer Internship

Year 2

UP 510: Plan Making Workshop
Concentration Application
UP598/599 Capstone Project/Thesis
UP598/599 Capstone Project/Thesis

For more information on the MUP program and policies, please refer to the MUP Program Handbook:



We encourage you to reach out to:

Professor Bumsoo Lee
MUP Program Director
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Voice: 217-333-3601
E-mail: bumsoo@illinois.edu

Professor Andrew Greenlee
Director of MUP Admissions
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Voice: 217-333-9069
E-mail: agreen4@illinois.edu

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