Graduate Program Urban and Regional Planning

PSU urban and regional planning graduate student studying outside

Urban and Regional Planning Master's Degree Overview

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) educates planning professionals, able to make plans and also to become leaders in the field. Our students engage in practice from the moment they join us, and we use the real planning issues and processes of our region, state, and bioregion as the basis for much of our teaching and research. Experiential learning is an integral component of the program, which requires an internship and a workshop project that is client‐focused, community‐based, and culminates in a professional product to serves as a capstone to the program.

The MURP is a two‐year, 72 credit professional degree program designed for those interested in working as professional planners. Our core curriculum focuses on the history and theory of planning as a field, plan implementation, analytical methods, and the dynamics of metropolitan development. MURP students have the opportunity to customize their education to meet particular scholastic and professional objectives. Each student also chooses a pathway that allows them to specialize in fields such as Community Development, Economic Development, Environment, Land Use, and Transportation.

Degree Details

Urban and Regional Planning Master's Degree: Why PSU?

Our students do award-winning projects that have tangible impacts. In 8 of the past 12 years, a Planning Workshop project has won a national award from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), more than any other planning program in the United States.

Our faculty are engaged in scholarship addressing a wide range of issues: gentrification and displacement, urban heat islands, bicycling, urban agriculture, food justice, homelessness, the maker movement, tiny homes (aka accessory dwelling units), carbon taxes, equity planning, autonomous vehicles, disaster recovery, food trucks and carts, and collaborative planning processes. Our faculty are directly involved in planning and policy in Portland and beyond. In addition to conducting impactful research, we serve on the boards of OPAL Environmental Justice, A Home for Everyone, Home Forward, and the TransitCenter to name a few.

MURP faculty and students have a front-row seat to innovative planning efforts going on in the community, as well as an expectation that PSU, and the MURP program in particular, will be more than just a spectator, but part of the action through engaged student learning and faculty scholarship. But we’re not just about Portland. Our work and our impact goes beyond the urban growth boundary to include regional, national, and international research, study abroad, and internship opportunities. We believe that planning practice addresses our common future in order to make places better—more just, sustainable, and prosperous. We promote equity and foster an environment of cultural difference and diversity among faculty and students.

What can I do with a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning?

  • Our employment rates one year after graduation are regularly around 90%.
  • Median salaries one year out for MURP graduates are usually $50,000 - $60,000.
  • About half of our grads go into the public sector, 40% into the private sector (e.g., planning consulting firms, developers), and 10% into the non-profit sector.
  • About two-thirds of MURP graduates stay in the Portland metro region; about three-quarters stay in the Pacific Northwest.

Course Requirements

Planning sequence

  • USP 540 History and Theory of Planning
  • USP 541 Dynamics of Planning Practice
  • USP 550 Participatory Planning

Methods sequence

  • USP 531 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planners
  • USP 533 Planning Methods I
  • USP 535 Planning Methods II
  • USP 584 Negotiation in the Public Sector

Analytical methods

  • USP 515 Economics: Applications in Urban Studies
  • USP 525 Design Analysis in Planning
  • USP 553 Legal Processes in Urban Planning


  • USP 558 Planning Workshop
  • USP 559 Internship Seminar
  • Specializations and Electives

Field Paper/Project

Students may choose to prepare an original research paper or project in their field of specialization. The research paper or project is meant to demonstrate a student’s ability to integrate and apply material from his or her coursework and is designed in consultation with faculty.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning program is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.