The graduate program in Urban + Environmental Planning at UVA is committed to community engagement, collaborative planning, and sustainability. We believe it is necessary to consider both the urban and environmental aspects of a setting to address its challenges and opportunities. We are as much concerned with the economy and issues of equity as we are with the environment, recognizing the interconnected relationships found within all complex built environments.
The Master of Urban + Environmental Planning degree is a professional degree aimed at individuals interested in planning and creating healthy, safe, livable, and equitable communities. Our students obtain the analytical skills, technical tools, theoretical insights, and applied experiences needed to make them effective, ethical and leading professionals.
Our students come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, including but not limited to: the social sciences, engineering, design, and liberal arts.
The Graduate Program in Urban and Environmental Planning is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, sponsored jointly by the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
The Master of Urban + Environmental Planning is a 2-year graduate degree with a minimum of 49 credits.
The degree requires 49 credits: 22 in the core generalist courses, 15 for a self-defined concentration, 3 in a required PLAN environment elective, 7 credits in 2 PLAC electives and one 2 credit elective. Graduate courses (5000-level or higher) are selected from those in the department and in other departments in the School and University. Students earning dual degrees or who have transferred from other planning programs may warrant advanced standing and be able to complete the planning program in less than two years. Students may take more than the minimum 49 credits if their schedules allow it.
PLAC - PLANNING APPLICATION COURSES
The MUEP curriculum includes PLAC (Planning Application Courses). These courses combine theory and practice, emphasizing application through a project approach. The subject matter rotates within topical areas including: land use planning, housing, community development, environmental impact analysis, social planning, transportation planning, neighborhood analysis, and more.
As part of the requirement for the degree, our students also complete an internship. An internship is an approved 10-week assignment in an agency, firm, or organization engaged in planning activities and/or planning research. The internship is an integral part of the educational experience offering students professional experience and exposure to the diverse career opportunities afforded by a planning degree.
A unique feature of the School of Architecture is the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN), founded in 1980, and affiliated with the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning. Students internships with the IEN provide high impact learning experience through work on real community projects addressing a important current environmental and social issues. Students form a vital part of IEN’s professional services team. They learn to work with stakeholders and clients, grapple with real issues on the ground, gain understanding of how to design community engagement, and see how conflict is addressed in ways to foster positive outcomes for all parties, and gain and refine important job skills.
In addition to completing the basic curriculum, students meet with their advisors to plan courses of specialized study called Planning Concentrations (PCs). Their purpose is to enable students to develop deeper expertise in a specific area (like transportation, housing, design) based on individual interest. Planning Concentrations should be crafted in consultation with departmental advisors; advisors have a template of courses that serve as foundation courses as well as complementary electives. Of the 15 credits required for the concentration, at least 2 courses must be drawn from the planning department (i.e., be PLAN classes.) Additionally, each self-directed planning concentration must include an appropriate PLAC (Planning Application Course). Students enrolled in specific certificate programs, such as the urban design and historic preservation certificates explained below, should use the certificate program as their planning concentration.
THE SCHOOL OF LAW and URBAN + ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING
The School of Law offers a dual-degree program with the Department of Urban + Environmental Planning at UVA School of Architecture. Students may earn both the Juris Doctor (JD) and a Master of Urban + Environmental Planning (MUEP) in four years, instead of the typically required five years to pursue each degree separately.
FRANK BATTEN SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP + PUBLIC POLICY and URBAN + ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING
The UVA School of Architecture and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy offer a dual degree which leads to the completion of the Master of Urban + Environmental Planning degree (MUEP) and the Master of Public Policy degree (MPP) in three years, instead of the four years that would be required to complete each degree separately. The program is administrated by faculty advisors from the School of Architecture and Batten School.
Dual degrees are available also between Planning and each of the programs in the School of Architecture.
The School of Architecture offers high-performing UVA School of Architecture undergraduates direct admission into a graduate program offered within the School, including Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban + Environmental Planning, or Architectural History.
All undergraduates who complete their degree in good academic standing are invited to continue their studies and complete their graduate degree at UVA. Students who complete their 7th semester with a 3.3 GPA or higher are guaranteed direct admission into the corresponding graduate program. For direct entry into graduate programs in Architecture (MArch) and Landscape Architecture (MLA), undergraduate architecture students must also achieve a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA in design studios. These graduates are also invited to defer their admission for two years allowing them to enroll immediately or in either of the next two entering classes. In this way, Historians and Planners can earn the graduate degree (MArH and MUEP) in 5 years, Architects earn the professional graduate degree (MArch or MLA) in 6 years.