Master of Urban Planning Overview

The Master of Urban Planning (MUP) program prepares students to become practitioners and leaders in the planning profession by providing students with a deep intellectual grounding and advanced skills and techniques. The program can also form the basis for the Ph.D. in planning or advanced research positions.

MUP Curriculum

  • A Core of six required courses covering fundamental knowledge needed for practice in the field of urban planning;
  • Flexible Concentrations, which help students develop specialized expertise in a chosen area of professional practice;
  • A required Capstone Project or Thesis in which students demonstrate professional competence through real-world problem solving or research;
  • A recommended Internship in which students gain professional experience;
  • Electives, from among the rich offerings of DURP and the entire university.

Basic Requirements

To qualify for the MUP degree, each student must complete all required core courses and capstone project/thesis. Students must also satisfy one of the following:

  • A total of 64 earned hours, if no internship course is completed. At least 40 of the 64 hours must be in UP courses.
  • A total of 60 earned hours, if a zero credit internship course (UP 590) is successfully completed. At least 40 of the 60 hours must be in UP courses.
  • A total of 32 earned hours, if the student was admitted to the 4+1 program while an undergraduate at Illinois. At least 20 of the 32 hours must be in UP courses.
  • A total of 32 earned hours of UP courses, if the student is in the law or architecture joint degree programs.
  • A total of 40 earned hours of UP courses, if the student is individually approved for a joint degree in a field other than law or architecture.

Up to 16 hours may be waived if a student has an undergraduate professional degree in urban planning. See Waivers & Credits for details.

For all MUP students, at least 16 of their earned hours must be at the 500 level, and 12 of those 16 hours must be in UP courses. In all cases, 32 hours is the absolute minimum required by the Graduate College.

MUP Core (24 Hours)

The MUP core conveys the common base of knowledge required for creative and effective professional practice in the field of planning. Students take these core courses (all in 4 credit hours) as a cohort over the first three semesters of study.




Year 1

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

Year 2 UP 510: Plan Making  

Flexible Concentrations and Streams 

Students are strongly encouraged to develop a depth of specialized expertise in one or more subfields of planning. Rather than formally requiring concentration tracks, the faculty has consciously decided to maintain students' flexibility to tailor a program to their specific interests and learning goals. Students work throughout the program to develop an appropriate plan of study with their faculty adviser. More about the concentrations here.

Students can also pursue the transnational planning stream. The stream includes recommended courses, study abroad options, and project-based learning opportunities designed to help MUP students better understand trends in globalization, international linkages among U.S. cities, regions and populations, and major international planning and development issues. The stream is designed to help students create a plan of study that joins the specialized knowledge from their concentration with a rich understanding of international and transnational issues. More about the transnational planning stream here.


In the second year, students complete a project or thesis. In addition to working closely with a capstone adviser to develop and implement their capstone, students participate in a collaborative Capstone Seminar (UP 591) that covers capstone proposal development, professional development, and career planning. More about the capstone here.


All students are encouraged to complete a planning internship, especially if they do not have prior professional experience in the field. The internship must be preceded and succeeded by at least one semester of course work in planning while in residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More about the internship here.


Each student is assigned a faculty adviser upon entry into the program. The student and adviser work closely to develop a customized plan of study and concentration area. Advisers also work closely with students to guide capstone research. As students progress through the program, they can change their adviser to better correspond to their interests and capstone research. More about advising here.

Program Contacts

The MUP Program Director is responsible for overall direction of the program, including approval of course credits and waivers, internships, and capstone options. For questions about the program, please contact:

Professor Bumsoo Lee
MUP Program Director
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
111 Temple Buell Hall
611 Taft Drive, Champaign, IL 61820
Voice: 217-333-3601
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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