Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP)



The Master of Urban and Regional Planning is a two-year, 72 credit professional degree program designed for those interested in working as professional planners. The curriculum includes a 46-credit core that focuses on the history and theory of planning as a field, plan implementation, analytical methods (including Geographic Information Systems [GIS]), and the dynamics of metropolitan development. 

With their 26 elective credits, MURP students have the opportunity to develop a customized course plan that prepares them for careers within the planning profession. The faculty have developed a series of advising pathways to help current and prospective MURP students learn about career pathways within planning, the skills and knowledge that are important for those pathways, and the courses that help students prepare for those careers.

For the last two quarters of the program, students work in groups on community-based, client-focused workshop projects. This two-term (winter and spring) sequence provides students with the opportunity to form teams to work on projects for community clients, and to produce a professional product by the end of the spring term. Check out examples of past workshop projects.

Experiential learning is an integral component of the program. The program requires 400 hours of internship experience. Internships in the Portland region are plentiful and varied, and include opportunities such as working with Metro's state-of-the-art transportation planning model, with a non-profit community development corporation to revitalize neighborhoods, or with a bi-state agency to implement the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area Act.

Students can transfer up to 24 credits of course work taken at another university or at PSU prior to admission, provided that the courses were taken within seven years of completion of the MURP program, that they fit within the student's program of study and have not been used to obtain another degree.

Two dual degree programs are complementary with the MURP program: Public Health and Civil and Environment Engineering (with a transportation focus). With very careful planning, students may be able to complete both degrees in three years.

Core Curriculum

43 credits

Planning Sequence:

  • USP 540 History and Theory of Planning (4)
  • USP 541 Dynamics of Planning Practice (3) 
  • USP 550 Participatory Planning (3)

Methods Sequence:

  • USP 531 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planners (4)
  • USP 533 Planning Methods I (4)
  • USP 535 Planning Methods II (4)
  • USP 584 Negotiation in the Public Sector (can be taken second year) (4)

Analytical Sequence:

  • USP 515 Economics: Applications to Urban Studies (4)
  • USP 525 Design Analysis in Planning (2)
  • USP 553 Legal Processes in Urban Planning (1)


  • USP 558 Planning Workshop* (3,6)
  • USP 559 Internship/Planning Practice Workshop (1)

* Students are required to complete all core courses prior to enrolling in USP 558, with the exception of USP 559.


Admissions are accepted for fall term only. The priority deadline for Fall 2020 is January 6th. The final deadline is May 4th.

Learn more about MURP Admissions...

Financial Aid

Graduate research assistantships (GRAs) are available through faculty, research centers and institutes on campus, covering 9-12 credits of tuition and paying a monthly stipend. There is no system for awarding GRA positions to MURP students; available positions are posted to departmental email lists throughout the year, and MURP students may apply directly to them. Incoming MURP students are added to the email list where GRA positions are posted as soon as they accept admission in the spring.

The Office of Graduate Studies also provides students with additional funding resources.

In addition, the College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA) offers a number of scholarships each year.  The deadline for applications (to be submitted through the PSU scholarship online application system) is February 1st

All qualified applicants may be considered for financial aid in the form of student loans. Contact Portland State University's Financial Aid Office at (503) 725-3461.

Career Opportunities

ACSP Brochure: Choosing A Career in Urban Planning

The Career Guide was prepared as a public service by Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). 

ACSP Guide to Undergraduate and Graduate Education in Planning

Also prepared as a public service by the ACSP, the Guide is available as a PDF file.

PSU Career Center Profile of the MURP Degree



Dr. Greg Schrock, MURP Program Coordinator
Associate Professor
URBN 370 T

Pauline Duffy, Student Services Coordinator
Urban Center Building, Room 370C

Office of Graduate Studies