Master of Urban Planning Admissions

Technically, applications from domestic applicants are considered on a continuous basis. However, because slots in the entering class and financial awards are both highly competitive, you are encouraged to apply as early as possible. We recommend that you apply by December 15, the date in which the department's admissions committee begins reviewing applications, for full consideration for admission and financial awards.

Applications from international students cannot be considered on a continuous basis. International applicants must submit all materials no later than January 15 to be considered for fall admissions. However, as with domestic applicants, we highly recommend that international applicants also apply by December 15 to receive full consideration for admissions and financial awards.

We begin extending most offers of admission and competitive financial support in early March. These offers are made on an ongoing basis through mid- to late-April.

Because our admissions committee undertakes an extensive review of all applicant materials. The committee seeks to review as many applications as possible (and preferably all applications) before extending admissions and financial award offers. This process, which allows us to identify the very best pool of applicants, takes time. However, it does ensure that your application will receive a very careful and thoughtful review.

We begin reviewing applications on December 15th. We begin extending most offers of admission and competitive financial support in early March. These offers are made on an ongoing basis through mid- to late-April. We keep accepting applications late into the Spring semester and consider them in case we have available seats.

Access an online application through the Graduate College online application system. You can upload your personal statement online, and send out requests for recommendations. If your reference letters are uploaded to the online application system, you do not need to mail copies to the Department. Transcripts must be uploaded to the online application system.

If you have already received a graduate degree from UIUC, you will use a petition process rather than  the application system. Graduate College instructions for this process are found here. Follow the instructions for Entering A New Graduate Program after Previous Enrollment. In addition to the paperwork required by the Graduate College, you will need to submit to DURP all of the supporting materials required by those using the online application system (see next FAQ). Your submitted petition packet will be reviewed at the same time as all other applications received through the online application system.

  • Application for admission to the Graduate College, with application fee
  • Your statement of purpose
  • Your resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores (official scores sent to University, code 1836)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores if you are an international student (official scores sent to University, code 1836)
  • Academic transcripts.

Transcripts from all secondary and post-graduate educational institutions should be uploaded to the online application system. If admitted to the department, official transcripts will be required within one month of starting classes.

All applicants must submit scores for the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing components of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. Scores may be entered into the online application system. All applicants should request the Educational Testing Service send scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using our institution code number 1836. Our university does not use department codes so that may be left blank.

International students must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. Please submit all test scores into the online application system and request official scores be sent to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using our institution code number 1836. If you have earned a graduate degree from an English-speaking institution abroad or are from an exempted country, you may not need to submit TOELF scores. Please see the Graduate College requirements for further information. However, non-native speakers of English who wish to be considered for teaching assistantships must provide evidence of spoken English language proficiency.

No. Our program is designed for full-time students to begin each fall.

No. Since the MUP degree is not a design degree, we ask that you do not submit a portfolio. Your carefully crafted Statement of Purpose is sufficient.

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning does not offer need-based financial aid. Rather, we offer merit-based fellowships and research and teaching assistantships. Assistantships typically require ten hours of work per week and include a partial or full waiver of tuition and most fees. Information on need-based financial aid (grants and loans) is available from the Graduate College.

The University has a grade point average (GPA) cutoff of 3.0 (B) for admission to the Graduate College, based on the final 60 hours of your undergraduate degree. Occasionally we admit students with lower undergraduate GPA’s if they have significant professional experience, a strong statement of purpose, outstanding recommendations, or other extraordinary qualifications. The median GPA of admitted MUP students is 3.7.

The Graduate College evaluates the transcripts of international applicants for the purposes of determining a GPA equivalent to U.S. university records. The Graduate College uses a conversion formula specific to international university.

We have no minimum GRE score. In recent years, median percentile scores of admitted MUP students have been about 80 percent for the verbal component of the exam, 70 percent for the quantitative component, and 65 percent for the analytical writing component. We consider an applicant's full set of qualifications in making admissions decisions, and occasionally admit students with lower GRE scores if they are strong in other areas (e.g., professional experience). Please see the discussion of admissions criteria for additional information on how we make admissions decisions.

You must achieve a TOEFL score higher than the following: 610 (PBT), 253 (CBT), and 102 (iBT). Note that we prefer your scores to be much higher. See here for more information on Graduate College TOEFL score requirements.

Yes, though infrequently. To do so requires that we submit a detailed request to the Graduate College; the case for the exception must be very strong (e.g., the application is highly exceptional in other areas, such as professional experience, professional achievement, etc.).

No. All applicants are automatically considered for financial awards in the form of assistantships and fellowships.

We offer awards to our very best domestic and international applicants each year. Only the top 15 to 25 percent of our applicants will receive financial award offers, depending on the number of applicants and our resources in any given year. Applicants with exceptional professional experience and academic records stand the best chance of winning an award. Test scores are also considered, though they have proven to be less reliable predictors of applicants' abilities and therefore they are emphasized less than experience and academic record in the awards process.

It varies, depending on whether the student is an Illinois resident or not and whether the package includes a partial waiver of tuition, a full waiver of tuition, additional scholarships, etc. In AY 2014-15, the annual base graduate student tuition rate is $25,546 for non-residents of the state and $11,824 for Illinois residents. The College of Fine and Applied Arts assesses an additional tuition charge of $1,126. Quarter-time assistantship stipends are approximately $7,999 in AY 2014-15. Thus, an award package that includes a stipend plus waiver of all non-resident tuition and selected fees would be valued at over $34,000.

It depends on how you count it. A one-semester assistantship obligates you to 10 hours of service per week for 18 weeks (180 hours). The stipend is $3,999 in AY 2014-15. Therefore, from one point of view, you are earning $22.22 per hour. However, the University is also paying some or all of your tuition and most of your fees as you pursue your graduate degree, as well as providing your health coverage (including dental and vision). Considering those costs, which are a direct savings to you, the assistantship “compensation” is considerably higher than $22.22 per hour.

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