Master of Urban and Environmental Planning

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Student Handbook

Our Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree program is ranked among the top in the nation, because we prepare students to enter the workforce, impact their communities and become leaders in the planning profession.

Our Master of Urban and Environmental Planning program offers you the opportunity to specialize your skills to meet your personal goals and interests. Our program offers three graduate certificates, three concurrent degree options, and five topical areas. Our school has close relationships across the university, allowing students to incorporate learning opportunities from multiple disciplines to create a custom learning experience.

Our students are able to not only build a degree that satisfies their interests but also land the job that helps them make a difference. Over 75 percent of students in our program are employed in planning, or a related field, within one year of graduation. Graduates go on to fulfilling careers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning is unique. We place our focus on location – the heart of geography, urban planning, climatology, and GIS – and from that foundation, we develop cutting-edge techniques and solutions to the complex issues facing society. We have a saying here: “Navigate the world. Plan the future.” With our unique approach of combining geography and urban planning, you will be prepared to not only navigate the planning world but also plan for a more sustainable and equitable future for our cities.

Note: This program may lead to a professional licensure or certification. For more information, visit: 

#3 small program in nation
6:1 student-to-faculty ratio
77% employment within one year

Degree Overview

The Master of Urban and Environmental Planning program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. It is a transdisciplinary, professional degree designed to prepare students for leadership roles in planning in the public and private sectors.

Students study in a dynamic, living laboratory. Cities in metro-Phoenix are leading the way on issues like urban climate change, sustainability, and transportation planning. Our students take advantage of opportunities to interact with planning leaders, mentors, and community organizations. Students conduct research alongside our faculty, take classes focused on current issues in the field, conduct research and reports for local clients, and start building their professional network across the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Focus Areas

As active scholars in an accredited planning program, our faculty have a wide range of interests and expertise, including in the areas of:

Climate change | Disasters and resilience | Environmental planning | Housing and community development | Infrastructure planning | International development | Public engagement | The sharing economy | Smart cities | Social equity | Sustainability | Transportation and land use

Our program also focuses our courses on five interest areas that we call 'topical areas.' Students will become well-versed in the areas of: city building and urban structure; environmental and resiliency planning; housing, neighborhoods, and community development; spatial analytics and smart cities; and transportation planning and policy. Learn more about our topical areas

How to apply

The application process for this degree program is completed through ASU Graduate Education. Prospective students will be required to submit a statement of interest, a resume, university transcripts, along with other items. Priority funding deadline for Fall admission is January 15. Applications received after January 15 will be considered on a rolling basis until the program is full. Detailed instructions

Learn more about our financial support options

I had many great professional experiences and real-life projects in the Phoenix area that prepared me for a successful career.

Brandon Stocksdale
MUEP graduate and development planner with the National Park Service


The Master of Urban and Environmental Planning program is a transdisciplinary, professional degree designed to prepare students for leadership roles in planning in the public and private sectors. The curriculum includes a core of required courses, laying the foundation of knowledge of the planning field, with a diverse selection of electives. Combined, these courses link knowledge and practice with skills and fundamental theories.

A minimum of 47 hours is required.

Core courses24
Other required courses3
Culminating experience5-6
Total credit hours47

Courses and electives

Students in our program are able to build a degree that reflects their interests and goals. With core classes that provide a strong planning foundation, students can then utilize their electives to customize their learning experience.

CourseTitleAbout the classCredits
PUP 501Planning History and TheoryThis course reviews the planning profession within a political, governmental, multicultural and gender framework. Students explore how planning practice and processes have historically been formulated and socially and institutionally established.3.0
PUP 520Planning Practice, Ethics and ProcessesWithin the framework of the APA Principles and AICP Code of Ethics, this class looks at how planners plan and the tools they use. Students learn who planners are, their types of work, and how planners plan for people and community needs.3.0
PUP 571Planning Methods IThis course is an introduction to applied planning research. Students will learn quantitative methods commonly used by planners on the job.3.0
PUP 531Planning & Development Control LawThe goal of this course is to familiarize students with the private and public components of the laws governing the control and use of real estate, particularly through zoning and other land use laws. After a brief review of the basic structure of the American political and legal system, the class will study many significant appellate cases.3.0
PUP 544Urban Land Use PlanningThis course is an introduction to applied planning research. Students will learn both qualitative and quantitative methods commonly used by planners on the job.3.0
PUP 542Environmental PlanningThis course addresses the underlying concepts, approaches and critical issues that define the field of environmental planning. This is an overview course that introduces the student to the history of environmental planning, regulatory responses, approaches or methods.3.0
PUP 579Planning Methods II

This course covers key qualitative skills and techniques that planners require, including research design and the understanding of validity and reliability issues, case study research approaches, qualitative data collection strategies, and strategies for analysis.

PUP 642Urban and Regional Economic AnalysisFrom an urban economic lens, students will gain understanding of why cities exist, what determines whether they grow, how and why households and firms choose locations within a city, and how these choices affect and are affected by cities policies regarding transportation, housing, and labor markets.3.0
CourseTitleAbout the classCredits
PUP 576GIS Workshop for PlannersThis course will introduce the fundamental concepts of geographic information systems (GIS) and geographic information science (GIScience), and provides basic instruction in Esri's ArcGIS. PUP 576 may be waived with ample GIS experience and substitute course selection.3.0

Any graduate level GCU, GIS, GPH, or PUP course may be taken as elective, including Research and Reading & Conference credits. Interdisciplinary courses may be taken, but must be with approval by the department.

Here are some of the elective courses you can choose from:

PUP 515International Planning and Development
PUP 525Urban Housing Issues
PUP 548Planning for Sustainable Communities
PUP 550Transportation and the Environment
PUP 553Urban Infrastructure Anatomy
PUP 561Urban Design Workshop
PUP 565Sustainable Urbanism
PUP 584Internship
PUP 591Seminar: City Building in Asia
PUP 591Seminar: Transportation Systems Pro
PUP 591Seminar: Urban Food Systems
PUP 598Special Topics: Environment, Justice & Cities
PUP 598Special Topics: Public Participation Planning
PUP 598Special Topics: Smart Cities
PUP 598Special Topics: Theory of Urban Design
PUP 598Special Topics: Transportation and Land Use
PUP 598Special Topics: Transportation System Planning
PUP 598Special Topics: Tribal Community Planning
AMT 523Intermodal Transportation Management
AMT 525Airport Planning and Design
CEE 573Transportation Operations
CEE 598Transportation Systems Planning
CEE 598Travel Behavior Analysis
DSC 598Activating Urban Spaces
DSC 598Creative Measurement and Neighborhood Change
PAF 504Microeconomics of Public Policy I
PAF 530Management of Urban Government
PAF 546Environmental Policy and Management
PAF 574Diversity, Ethics, and Public Change
SOS 514Human Dimensions of Sustainability
SOS 532Sustainable Urban Dynamics
SOS 540Statistical Modeling for Sustainability
SOS 594Urban Sustainable Redevelopment
SOS 594Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness

Students may choose one of the following three options for their culminating experience:

CourseTitleAbout the classCredits
PUP 580Planning WorkshopThe planning workshop immerses students in a real-world planning context to provide an integrative academic and professional experience. Working as a team, students define the problem scope and apply appropriate methodologies to identify a solution or recommendations. The final products for the course typically consist of a professional report and presentation.5
PUP 593Applied ProjectThe applied project involves the application of advanced planning methodologies to a specific, real-world planning problem and is prepared for a planning-related organization (the client). An applied project typically involves defining a problem; reviewing, selecting and applying appropriate methodologies to address the problem; and identifying a solution or recommendations, if applicable. The major objective of the applied project is to give students the opportunity to develop their planning problem solving abilities in a real-world setting.5
PUP 599Master's ThesisThe master’s thesis is an extensive piece of original research that demonstrates the capability of the student to act as an independent scholar and use experimental methods. Upon approval of the written thesis by the supervisory committee, the student will schedule an oral defense of the completed thesis.6

Concurrent degree options

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning has teamed up with other schools at ASU to provide planning students three concurrent degree options; giving students the opportunity to create a specialized degree to suit their specific interests.

The concurrent degree programs are:

MUEP- Sustainability - ASU offers an opportunity to build expertise in both sustainability and planning through a new concurrent degree program in which students earn both a Master in Urban and Environmental Planning (MUEP) and a Master of Science in Sustainable Solutions. A student will be able to earn both degrees in a three-year period.

MUEP-MPA - The School of Public Affairs and the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning have partnered to allow students to concurrently work towards a Master in Public Administration (MPA) and Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning (MUEP). The program builds powerful qualifications for a public service career, building a broad expertise that links the practice of urban planning to its implementation.

MUEP-MPP - Also a partnership between the School of Public Affairs and the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning, our Masters in Public Policy (MPP) and Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning (MUEP) program builds powerful qualifications for a public service career, building a broad expertise that links the practice of urban planning to its implementation.

Concurrent applicants must apply to each degree program separately and must meet the admissions criteria for each program. Students considering a concurrent degree should apply to both programs as soon as possible; only coursework taken after admission to both degree programs may be shared as concurrent credit. More information

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