Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

School of Planning, Design and Construction

Scott G. Witter, Director


The School of Planning, Design and Construction uniquely unites four built environment disciplines to foster synergistic learning and collaboration: construction management, interior design, landscape architecture and urban and regional planning. The academic programs are accredited and produce career-ready graduates. Students work on real-world, cross-discipline projects and activities. The faculty cross-collaborate on pressing built environment issues, delivering timely and crucial sustainable research and outreach.The School of Planning, Design and Construction is administered jointly by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science.

 


Undergraduate Programs

The school offers a Bachelor of Science degree program in urban and regional planning through the College of Social Science.

The school also offers Bachelor of Science degree programs in construction management, and interior design and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree program through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The school also offers a dual degree in the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Master of Arts in Environmental Design. For information about those programs, refer to the statement on the School of Planning, Design and Construction in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources section of this catalog.


Urban and Regional Planning

The undergraduate program in urban and regional planning provides students with a basic understanding of the history of urbanism, the theory and principles of urban design, and the relevant legal and administrative procedures. Students study the techniques of survey and research used in the analysis of the structure and growth of urban areas. They are involved in written and graphic communication. They recognize the contributions made by other disciplines concerned with the study of urban development. By developing systematic programs for the orderly and unified arrangement of urban physical structures, students focus their accumulated knowledge and skills on specific urban problems. The undergraduate program, which has been accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, is designed to prepare majors to assume the responsibilities encountered in entry level professional planning practice.

Admission as a Junior

The number of students who can be admitted as juniors to the urban and regional planning major is limited. Applications are accepted and reviewed only during the spring semester of each year.

To be considered for admission as a junior, a student must have:

  1. submitted a completed application form by the deadline specified by the school.
  2. completed Urban Planning 201 with a minimum grade of 2.0, which is a prerequisite for the 300–400 level courses required for the bachelor’s degree.
  3. completed the following prerequisites (13 credits) with a minimum grade of 2.0 in each course:

    CSE 101 Computing Concepts and Competencies 3
    EC 201 Introduction to Microeconomics  3
    PLS 100 Introduction to American National Government 3
    STT 201 Statistical Methods
    4
    The completion of Statistics and Probability 201 may also be used to satisfy the University mathematics requirement.  

Admission decisions are determined by the faculty on the basis of the relative qualifications of applicants and the enrollment capacity in the program. Admission is competitive. Factors related to the program’s accreditation may also be considered in the selection process.

A student who has been admitted to the urban and regional planning major for a given semester, and decides not to enroll for that semester, would need to reapply for admission to the program. There is no guarantee of admission to the program.

All persons who are interested in applying for admission as juniors to the urban and regional planning major must request an application form and detailed information regarding admission requirements and procedures from the School of Planning, Design and Construction, Room 101 Human Ecology.

Students who are enrolled in colleges and universities other than Michigan State University should contact Michigan State University’s Office of Admissions and the School of Planning, Design and Construction regarding admission to the Bachelor of Science degree program in Urban and Regional Planning as transfer students.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning
  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Urban and Regional Planning major is met by completing Urban Planning 365.  That course is referenced in item 3. a. below.
  2. The College of Social Science requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
    a. All of the following courses with a grade of 2.0 in each course (30 credits):  
      UP 201 Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning 4
      UP 314 Methods for Investigation of Urban Systems 4
      UP 353 Land Use Planning 4
      UP 365 Planning Law and Ethics (W) 4
      UP 424 Geographic Information Systems and Design Tools for Planning 3
      UP 433 Introduction to Environmental Planning 4
      UP 454 Local Economic Planning 3
      UP 494 Planning Practicum 4
    b. Cognate Areas (21 credits):  A critical component for completion of the major is the design of a professional cognate. Students must meet with the program advisor to identify a cognate that complements their core planning courses. All selected courses must be at or above the 300-level.  

 


Graduate Study

The School of Planning, Design and Construction is administered jointly by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science. The school offers a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree program with a major in urban and regional planning, and a Master of International Planning Studies degree program with a major in international planning studies through the College of Social Science. Those programs are described below. The school also offers a Master of Arts degree program in Environmental Design; a Master of Science degree program in Construction Management, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Planning, Design and Construction through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. For information about those programs, refer to the statement on the School of Planning, Design and Construction in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources section of this catalog.

 


International Planning Studies

The Master of International Planning Studies (MIPS) is a one-year (2 semesters and one summer) program that is designed for practitioners currently employed in urban and regional planning or related fields who desire additional knowledge in the field of community and regional development.  Prospective students must have direct experience in the international aspects of planning or related fields that directly relate to their proposed area of concentration.

Admission

Applications for admission must hold an advanced degree or have significant experience in international planning, and seek knowledge about urban and regional conditions and related areas such as real estate, economic development, environmental protection and international planning. Applicants must demonstrate that the degree will strengthen their career credentials and make them more competitive in the applicant’s chosen international planning profession. Prospective students are assumed to have a basic knowledge of planning concepts.

Requirements for the Master of International Planning Studies Degree

The program is available under Plan B (without thesis) only. The student must complete at least 30 credits as specified below.

The student must:

  1. Complete the following core courses (12 credits):
    UP    801    Concepts and Issues in Planning and Development  (4)
    UP    844    Decision Theory for Urban Planning and Development  (4)
    UP    894    Planning Practicum  (4)
  2. Complete one of the following courses (3 credits):
    UP    890 Independent Study  (3)
    UP    893    Internship in Urban Planning  (3)
  3. Complete one additional 3 credit course at the 400-level or 800-level as approved by the student’s academic advisor.
  4. Complete a minimum of 12 credits in a concentration related to international planning studies chosen from the following fields: economic development, environmental protection, international planning, or real estate. The concentration course work must be approved by the student’s academic advisor.
  5. Successfully complete a final examination.



Urban and Regional Planning - Master of Urban and Regional Planning

The graduate program leading to a degree of Master in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) is committed to preparing students for professional planning careers in both the private and public sectors and seeks to develop both general planning knowledge and specific skills for practice. Current faculty research and teaching expertise covers a wide range of planning subjects including urban design; land use planning; land use law; housing; community, economic and real estate development; research methods; international development; transportation; environmental planning; and public policy. The MURP degree is a nationally accredited degree and admits students with a variety of academic backgrounds.  Ideal students are those with strong intellectual ability; good written and verbal communication skills; basic statistical methods and have demonstrated a proven potential for leadership in the field of urban and regional planning.

A student entering the graduate program in urban and regional planning is expected to concentrate, under faculty guidance, on studies that provide an optimum learning experience in applying the various principles, theories, techniques, and design skills of planning to specific field problems. Unlike undergraduates, whose studies are divided between liberal education and technical studies, the graduate student is immersed in significant planning studies and research. The graduate program is designed to provide professional competence. After graduation, the student should be capable of assuming responsibilities on an intermediate level of a professional planning operation. The master's program in Urban and Regional Planning has been accredited by the American Planning Association.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

To be admitted to the master’s degree program, the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution; a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0; a grade-point average below 3.0 may be supplemented with a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 1000 in verbal and quantitative, and an analytical writing score of 3.5. Students who are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must submit scores.

Requirements for the Master in Urban and Regional Planning Degree with a Major in Urban and Regional Planning

The program is available under both Plan A (with thesis) and Plan B (without thesis).  The student must complete at least 43 credits, at least 24 of which must be in courses numbered in the 800 and 900 series, and meet the requirements specified below:

Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B (28 credits):
1. Urban planning core courses (28 credits):
UP 801 Concepts and Issues in Planning and Development 4
UP 814 Applied Research Methods for Planning and Development 4
UP 823 Urban Land Management and the Environment 3
UP 824 Geographic Information Systems and Design Tools for Planning 3
UP 844 Planning Theory and Ethics 3
UP 854 Economics of Planning and Development 4
UP 865 Planning and Development Law 3
UP 894 Planning Practicum  4
2. Complete 9 credits of approved elective courses chosen from a list of electives in consultation with the student’s academic advisor . At least one 3-credit Urban Planning Special Topics course must be taken.
Additional Requirements for Plan A:
The following course:
UP 899 Master's Thesis Research 6
Additional Requirements for Plan B:
1. Six additional credits in two courses approved by the student's academic advisor.
2. Pass a final comprehensive examination.

Academic Standards

Academic standards for graduation require that each student maintain an average of 3.00, or better, in all course work, including study undertaken in collateral courses; however, the accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than two courses of 3 or more credits each removes the student from the degree program.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 10 transfer credits at the 400 or 800-level may be accepted toward the Master in Urban and Regional Planning degree.

For Law College students who have been admitted to the dual J.D.-Master in Urban and Regional Planning program with Michigan State University - College of Law, a maximum of 9 credits from Michigan State University - College of Law may be transferred to the Master in Urban and Regional Planning program with a major in urban and regional planning. A grade of 2.0 in a Law course will transfer to MSU as a passing grade. Students will be assessed at the Law College tuition rate with a graduate assistantship covering only the MSU cost of in-state tuition. Transfer courses must be approved by the Director of the Urban and Regional Planning program. Credits taken prior to admission at Michigan State University –  College of Law will not be accepted for transfer.

Time Limit

The time limit for completing the degree is six years from the first semester of enrollment in the program.