The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program is a 72-credit graduate program that prepares students for professional planning practice. Graduates of the program will acquire skills suiting them for employment in public agencies, private firms, and non-profit organizations involved in the urban development process. The Master of Urban Studies (MUS) program is a 52-credit graduate program that gives students skills to study and interpret urban phenomena from a variety of viewpoints, also suitable for employment by public agencies, private firms, and non-profit organizations. Since the core curriculum of the MUS program mirrors that of the Urban Studies Ph.D. program, MUS students can make a relatively easy transition into the doctoral program, if they apply and are accepted. In any case, the MUS program is academically focused on researching the urban environment.
The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) defines planning as:
"a systematic, creative way to influence and respond to a wide variety of changes occurring in a neighborhood, in a city, in an entire region, or around the world. Planners assist communities to formulate plans and policies to meet their social, economic, environmental, and cultural needs in the face of societal forces. Planners do so by identifying problems and opportunities, evaluating alternative solutions or plans, communicating their findings in ways that allow citizens and public officials to make knowledgeable choices about the future." (Choosing a Career in Urban and Regional Planning, 2000. page 1.)