ASU master's degree program for urban and environmental planning earns praise, re-accreditation

Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning recently underwent the accreditation process for the school’s Master of Urban and Environmental Planning (MUEP) degree program. The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) responded by granting the school a five-year accreditation for the growing program.

“The program should be proud of its accomplishments,” said Bruce Knight, chair of the PAB review committee, in a letter to school and university administration. “The site visitors observed a program well-connected to the planning profession and an impressive 4+1 program. The program’s Tribal Community Planning course and senior faculty’s strong relationships with multiple local tribes is noteworthy.” 

This accomplishment cements an incredible academic year for the program. Last summer, the program was recognized as one of the best planning graduate programs in the nation by Planetizen, an online network and news outlet for the planning community. The MUEP program made the list as the No. 22 planning program in the country, a rise of three spots over the previous year’s ranking. Planetizen also ranked it as the sixth best in the western region, and when accounting for student enrollment in the program, MUEP jumped to the third best small program in the nation. It was also the only program in Arizona to make the list.

The successes were also evident at the 2018 National Planning Conference where students in the MUEP program received accolades for their outreach and research efforts.

ASU’s Student Planning Association, composed of students interested in urban planning and issues associated with it, earned the 2018 Outstanding Planning Student Organization Award for Community Outreach. The group created a special event in honor of Native American Heritage Month, “Wandering Stories,” to create awareness and learning opportunities surrounding planning within Native American communities. This event brought together architects, urban designers, engineers, and construction managers to discuss the challenges and opportunities of planning for Native American communities on tribal land.

Also receiving recognition was Genevieve Pearthree, a recent graduate of the MUEP program. Pearthree won the 2018 American Institute of Certified Planners’ Student Project Award for Applied Research. Her submission, which also served as her capstone project for her degree, focused on affordable housing in communities with a strong tourism industry. Pearthree spent 16 months researching Ketchum, Idaho, as she examined the effect of short-term rentals and vacation rentals on affordable housing within the community.

Learn more about the Master of Urban and Environmental Planning program.