University of Illinois Launches New Masters in Sustainable Urban Management

MSSUM Release Prepared by Karen Bollinger – Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

University of Illinois Launches New Masters in Sustainable Urban Management

October 12, 2017 – The Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is launching a new accelerated graduate program that addresses the global challenges of sustainable urban management. Designed with early to mid-career professionals in mind, the Master of Science in Sustainable Urban Management (MSSUM) can be completed in one year. The degree will offer students an integrative learning experience addressing the complex relationships between urbanization and sustainable development, giving them a chance to pick up new skills essential to tackling the sustainability problems facing the 21st century city.

Cities are beacons of opportunity and advancement but can also be drivers of unsustainable lifestyles and practices that are depleting resources and degrading natural systems. The MSSUM addresses the demand for urban management professionals who can understand and manage the challenges of accommodating growth and change in a way that balances the needs of economic development, environment protection and social inclusion. "Increasingly, cities are where humans live in the 21st century. Globally, urban population growth is booming, and the worldwide need for professionals who can understand and manage cities has never been so high,” said Professor Daniel Schneider, Professor and Department Head.  

The program framework consists of core foundational coursework providing hands-on experience addressing current challenges facing urban areas. In addition, students will pursue coursework and projects that focus on areas like regional systems and informatics; energy and environment; and governance and community, providing a deeper analysis of the range of subject-specific policy interventions and the technical tools needed for critical evaluation.

“Through this intensified period of study, we expect a rich exchange of experiences and content, welcoming a variety of working professionals, both domestic and international, to discuss sustainable urban management challenges relevant to the entire world,” said Rob Olshanksy, Professor and former Department Head.

March 15 is the preferred application deadline. The first cohort begins in Fall 2018. For more information about the MSSUM degree, please contact Professor Dustin Allred at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-333-6531


The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is one of the largest planning programs in the U.S., and is among only a few programs to offer four degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning, a Master of Urban Planning, a Master of Science in Sustainable Urban Management, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Regional Planning. It also offers a Minor in Urban Planning, as well as joint master's degree options, including with Law, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture. Located in the College of Fine and Applied Arts along with the School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning includes design components in its curricula through its own teaching and via linkages with those units while providing a planning education with firm roots in the social and policy sciences. The University of Illinois has a long and rich history in the training of professionals working on urban and regional policy issues, dating back to 1913 when Charles Mulford Robinson, one of the era's most distinguished urban planners, was appointed Professor of Civic Design in the University's Landscape Architecture Division. At that time, only the University of Illinois and Harvard University offered courses in urban planning. Today, The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs, 4th Edition, ranks Illinois among the top programs in the United States and the leading planning program in the Midwest.

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