Best 15 Masters in Urban Planning in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Why Choose a Masters in Urban Planning?

A Masters in Urban Planning teaches students how the planet uses and allocates resources. It may teach design and how to structure areas to work best for its occupants. It may also teach sustainability and about the rising need for more resources around the world or in your own community.

With a Master in Urban Planning, you can become a city manager, public policy worker, nonprofit program manager, an economic development professional, or affordable housing professional. Some people go on to work as architects or with their local city councils.

Choosing a Masters in Urban Planning

A Masters in Urban Planning provides training to work in urban and regional planning. In 2019, there were approximately 39,700 jobs available. There are expected to be around 4,400 more jobs in the field by 2029, growing by 11% (much faster than average). The average pay in this role is $74,350 annually, which works out to around $35.75 per hour.  

Below are the top 15 schools for a Masters in Urban Planning based on our ranking system. We put these in order from best to worst based on overall tuition rates and enrollment. If you want help finding the right master’s program for your educational needs, contact us so we can help.

The Top 15 Schools for a Masters in Urban Planning

1. Westfield State University

At the top of our list is Westfield State University. This university offers a strong program in urban and social justice as well as regional planning. The school tops our list for having reasonable tuition rates and lower enrollment than other options. The school has an Environmental Planning Club and awards scholarships to students in the field each year.

•             Tuition (in-state): $1,890

•             Enrollment: 5,795

2. Minnesota State University

Minnesota State University offers a Master of Urban and Regional Studies and a Master of the Arts in Urban Planning. This is a two-year program with 33 semester hours.

•             Tuition (in-state): $7,694

•             Enrollment: 14,325

3. Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University offers a non-thesis Master of Geography that has a concentration in urban planning. There is an additional certification available to graduate students as well, so they can get a certificate in planning.

•             Tuition (in-state): $4,839

•             Enrollment: 19,280

4. CUNY City College

CUNY City College offers a Master of Urban Design that students can complete in just two semesters. The program is completed on-site and has students work both in New York and in another city domestically or internationally. Only those with a professional degree in landscape architecture or architecture can enter the program.

•             Tuition (in-state): $11,090

•             Enrollment: 15,816

5. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students can obtain a Master in City and Regional Planning. The program offers internship opportunities and research opportunities for students who are interested. There are also assistantships available that pay $11,100 or more.

•             Tuition (in-state): $10,552

•             Enrollment: 29,877

6. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa offers an MS in Civil Engineering with a joint MS in Urban and Regional Planning. There are five areas to specialize in with this program, giving students an excellent selection of options for their preferred focus.

•             Tuition (in-state): $10,079

•             Enrollment: 31,240

7. SUNY at Albany

Located in Albany, SUNY offers a Master of Regional Planning that can be completed in two years. Students can opt to specialize in one of three areas including transportation planning, housing and local economic development and community planning, or environmental and land-use planning. This program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.

•             Tuition (in-state): $11,310

•             Enrollment: 17,544

8. Iowa State University

Iowa State University offers a Master of Community and Regional Planning. This program offers five areas of focus to concentrate on, such as environmental planning, social policy, and international planning. The program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.

•             Tuition (in-state): $9,758

•             Enrollment: 33,372

9. University of Georgia

The University of Georgia offers a Master of Environmental Planning and Design. This is a studio-based program focused on environmental principles and planning. The entire program consists of 58 credit hours.

•             Tuition (in-state): $8,878

•             Enrollment: 38,920

10. Texas A&M University in College Station

Texas A&M University offers a program in urban planning including a Master of Urban Planning and a Master of Land and Property Development. The curriculum is unique and combines both physical planning and business courses. Students do need to complete a thesis or research project to graduate.

•             Tuition (in-state): $6,677

•             Enrollment: 68,726

11. University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts, which is located in Amherst, offers a two-year program in regional planning at the master’s level. The program requires students to take studio courses. This program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.

•             Tuition (in-state): $14,014

•             Enrollment: 31,350

12. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Master in Urban Planning and Policy. Its program is accredited through the Planning Accreditation Board and allows specialization in economic development, spatial planning and design, and other areas.

•             Tuition (in-state): $13,276

•             Enrollment: 32,324

13. University of Florida

The University of Florida offers a Master of Urban and Regional Planning program. This program offers an online option or a combined degree program for undergrads who want to go on to the master’s program during their junior and senior years. Those who want to can also move on to a Ph.D. in Design, Construction and Planning with a concentration giving them a specialization in Urban and Regional Planning.

•             Tuition (in-state): $10,770

•             Enrollment: 52,407

14. Michigan State University

Located in East Lansing, Michigan, Michigan State University offers a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. Students can opt to specialize in areas such as golf course planning or resource economics.

•             Tuition (in-state): $18,858

•             Enrollment: 49,809

15. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities rounds out our list of top 15 schools. It offers a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with the opportunity to go on to a 400-hour professional internship and capstone project.

•             Tuition (in-state): $17,580

•             Enrollment: 51,327

Ranking Specifications

In this article, the schools above were ranked based on overall tuition and enrollment. Those with the lowest enrollment rates and tuition costs were ranked highest. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information, but the results here are not guaranteed and this list may change at any time.

If you have questions about how your school was ranked, we’re more than happy to talk to you about it. If your school is not listed here and you’d like to have it ranked, contact us. We’ll discuss the programs you offer and our services.

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Engineering</option></optgroup><optgroup label="Trades &amp; Careers"><option value="144">Automotive</option><option value="264">Carpentry</option><option value="90">Construction Management</option><option value="259">Culinary</option><option value="218">Electrical Technician</option><option value="141">Fire Science</option><option value="217">Heating/Cooling</option><option value="145">Technology</option><option value="143">Trades</option></optgroup></select></label></div><button type="submit" class="css-hkmjk6">Find Your School</button><input type="hidden" name="publisher" value="bestvalueschools.org"/><input type="hidden" name="url"/><div class="ad-disclosure-wrapper css-1kwozlu-Wrapper"><section class="css-1pz3fcu css-1iam9o9"><button type="button" class="css-1p5s0hp-AdDisclosure tooltip-toggle">AD</button><div class="tooltip-body right css-iok6vd-Tooltip">BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.<button type="button" class="css-1pz3fcu css-11e3mg8 css-1w9ghd css-1hhul3j css-1jbuhzf css-yrxnuw css-1u78gm9 css-1y4tel7 css-1kru6p0 css-rnous3 css-12fbi72 bg-accent close-button">Got it!</button></div></section></div></form></div></div> <script> (function(){var i=this.element,e=this.props;if(i){i.setAttribute("data-ssr-mounted","");var o=i.querySelector("select[name=degree]"),a=i.querySelector("select[name=category]"),c=i.querySelector("select[name=subject]"),t=c.querySelectorAll("optgroup"),n=i.querySelector("[name=url]"),r=o.children[0].label,l=a.children[0].label,u=c.children[0].label,s=window.self!==window.top;n.value=s?document.referrer:window.location.href;for(var d,g,m,p=[],f=[],h=[],y=1;y<o.length;y++)p.push({name:o[y].label,id:o[y].value,selected:o[y].selected});for(var b=1;b<a.length;b++)f.push({name:a[b].label,id:a[b].value,selected:a[b].selected,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})});for(var v=0;v<t.length;v++){for(var x=void 0,w=0;w<f.length;w++)f[w].name===t[v].label&&(x=f[w].id);for(var O=0;O<t[v].children.length;O++){var E=t[v].children[O];h.push({name:E.label,id:E.value,selected:E.selected,category:x,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})})}}o.addEventListener("change",F),a.addEventListener("change",N),c.addEventListener("change",z);var S="".concat("https://platform.highereducation.com/","api"),j="\n query QuickDegreeFinderFeed(\n $publisher: String!\n ) {\n quickDegreeFinder(\n publisher: $publisher\n ) {\n degrees {\n id\n name\n slug\n categories {\n id\n name\n slug\n subjects {\n id\n name\n slug\n }\n }\n }\n }\n }\n ",k={publisher:e&&e.publisher},C="".concat(S,"?query=").concat(encodeURIComponent(j),"&variables=").concat(encodeURIComponent(JSON.stringify(k)));if(k.publisher&&I(C,function(e){var t,n,i=JSON.parse(e).data,r=i&&i.quickDegreeFinder&&i.quickDegreeFinder.degrees;r||!r.length?(t=r.reduce(function(t,n){return n.categories.forEach(function(e){t[e.id]=t[e.id]||e,t[e.id].degree=t[e.id].degree||[],t[e.id].degree.push(n.id)}),t},{}),t=Object.keys(t).map(function(e){return t[e]}),n=r.reduce(function(n,i){return i.categories.forEach(function(t){t.subjects.forEach(function(e){n[e.id]=n[e.id]||e,n[e.id].category=n[e.id].category||t.id,n[e.id].degree=n[e.id].degree||[],n[e.id].degree.push(i.id)})}),n},{}),n=Object.keys(n).map(function(e){return n[e]}),d=p.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),g=f.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),m=h.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),p=r.map(function(e){return e.selected=d[0]&&d[0].id==e.id||!1,e}),f=t.map(function(e){return e.selected=g[0]&&g[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),h=n.map(function(e){return e.selected=m[0]&&m[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),F()):console.error("Problem loading QDF feed.")}),"undefined"!=typeof window&&!window.toggleTooltip){Element.prototype.matches||(Element.prototype.matches=Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector||Element.prototype.webkitMatchesSelector),Element.prototype.closest||(Element.prototype.closest=function(e){var t=this;do{if(t.matches(e))return t;t=t.parentElement||t.parentNode}while(null!==t&&1===t.nodeType);return null}),window.NodeList&&!NodeList.prototype.forEach&&(NodeList.prototype.forEach=Array.prototype.forEach);var P=function(e){if(!e)return!1;var t=window.innerWidth,n=e.getBoundingClientRect().left,i=t-(n+e.offsetWidth);return 275+10<i?"right":i<n?"left":"right"};window.toggleTooltip=function(e){if(e.target.classList.contains("tooltip-toggle")){var t=i.querySelector(".tooltip-toggle"),n=e.target.closest("section").querySelector(".tooltip-body");"left"===P(t)?(n.classList.remove("right"),n.classList.add("left")):(n.classList.remove("left"),n.classList.add("right")),n.classList.toggle("open"),"undefined"!=typeof window&&void 0!==window.tagular&&window.tagular("beam","ElementClicked",{"@type":"redventures.usertracking.v3.ElementClicked",webElement:{location:"AD_DISCLOSURE",elementType:"TOOLTIP",position:"Search Experience",text:"Click - 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