Portland Planning Diversity Awards (PPDA)

The Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning is pleased to offer Portland Planning Diversity Awards for students in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program. The purpose of these awards is to attract and support outstanding students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, including racial and ethnic backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate urban planning programs. Additional goals of the PPDA are to facilitate the development of skills, connections, and professional pathways for diverse MURP students, and to expand the pipeline of diverse, emerging planning talent available to employers in the Portland planning community.

Two Types of Awards:

  • Two-year funding commitments made at the time of admission to the MURP program, typically to three students per incoming MURP cohort (see application procedure below);
  • One-year awards to incoming or continuing MURP students, subject to funding availability.

The PPDA functions like an externally-hosted Graduate Assistantship. Read more about Graduate Assistantships on the Graduate School's website. Each award entails a tuition waiver (up to 36 credits per academic year), partial fee waiver, and a monthly stipend (minimum $800/month) based on a paid position (minimum 12 hours/week, up to 19.5 hours/week) as a graduate assistant working off-campus with a local public agency or community partner during the academic year. The specific details of the placement vary by partner organization.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Prospective student who has applied for priority admission to the MURP program (two-year awards), or incoming or continuing MURP students enrolled full-time (9 credits or more) and in good academic standing with the PSU Graduate School (one-year awards).
  • Eligible for off-campus job placement. Due to visa restrictions on off-campus employment in the first year of the program, international students are not eligible for two-year PPDA awards, and eligible for one-year awards in their second year of the program only.

Selection Criteria:

Awards will be made to prospective MURP students who meet the eligibility requirements, submit a complete application, and best exemplify the goals of the Portland Planning Diversity Awards, including professional potential and contribution to the diversity of the MURP program and the planning profession. The committee is interested in multiple dimensions of applicants’ personal, academic and professional background and experience that would contribute toward a more diverse MURP student environment, including but not limited to: race/ethnicity, class/socioeconomic background (e.g., first-generation college students), educational background (e.g., attendance at a predominantly minority institution such as an HBCU or tribal college, or at a community/junior college), gender, sexual orientation, disability status, age, veteran status and life experiences. Priority will be given to individuals who have participated in Ronald E. McNair Scholars Programs as undergraduates.

Application Process:

All MURP applicants applying for Fall 2020 admission by the Priority deadline (January 6, 2020, 11:59pm PT) will receive a link to the PPDA application once their full application has been received. PPDA applications are due February 1, 2020, and two-year award notifications will be made when admissions decisions are announced, approximately mid-March. PSU faculty will then work to connect PPDA awardees to their host employers in the subsequent months.

Applications for one-year PPDA awards will be accepted based on funding availability. All incoming and continuing MURP students will be notified when such positions are available.

Meet Some of Our PPDA Scholars:

Interested in hosting a PPDA student at your organization? Contact Greg Schrock, MURP program coordinator, at gschrock@pdx.edu.