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Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning

Bulletin 2017-2018


The MURP degree program is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. It is a professional program designed to:

  • Equip students to fill professional planning and policy analysis roles in public agencies, international organizations, private firms, and community groups, particularly in Hawai‘i, Asia, and the Pacific Basin
  • Develop and apply new knowledge in the field of planning; and
  • Provide service to public agencies, communities, and others concerned with urban and regional planning.

Students normally take from two to three years to complete the MURP program. The program requires a minimum of 42 credit hours. Please refer to the Curriculum in Brief for a detailed review of the course requirements and the Course Streams.

Grades of B or better are required in PLAN 600, 601, and 603, and an average of B or better must be earned in all courses counted towards the MURP degree.

Both thesis (Plan A) and non-thesis (Plan B) programs are available. All students are required to pass a final examination, including successful defense of the thesis (Plan A) or the selected area of concentration (Plan B) and to meet the departmental standards for graduation (Plan A and B).

No one course of study is appropriate for all, or even a majority, of the students in the Department. Much emphasis is therefore placed on advising. When the student is admitted to the Department, he/she is initially advised by the Department Chair. The emphasis is on assuring that students understand their opportunities and obligations during their ensuing graduate work. At the initial advising session after admission, each student specifies his or her field of interest:

  1. Community planning and social policy
  2. Environmental planning and natural resource management
  3. Urban and regional planning in Asia and the Pacific
  4. Land use, transportation and infrastructure planning

Students may subsequently change the designation of field of interest in consultation with his/her advisor. It is important that each student embark on a well planned course of study. Attention must be paid to the correct sequencing of courses.

By the end of the first semester of study, students should select a member of the Urban and Regional Planning faculty to serve as the student’s ongoing advisor.

As the student progresses, more emphasis will be laid on his/her interests, in particular as they are to be expressed through a thesis (Plan A) or work in a focus (Plan B, Capstone). The focus may either fall within one area or bridge interest across two or more areas of interest. At this later stage a committee is formed for each student at his/her invitation. The committee, consisting of at least three faculty members, two of whom must be from the Urban and Regional Planning Department, carries the primary responsibility for assuring that subsequent coursework is appropriate for the student.

The chairperson and committee ultimately certify that the student has met the standards for graduation. Committee formulation is a formal process, initiated by the student and approved by the Department chairperson and the Graduate Division.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, students will be able to:

  1. Explain major planning paradigms and their applications;
  2. Articulate processes leading to urbanization and rationales for planned interventions;
  3. Apply planning methods to organize, analyze, interpret and present information;
  4. Critically and creatively develop planning inquiries or processes to foster solutions-oriented decision-making;
  5. Effectively collaborate as a planning team to work with a client and/or stakeholders to assess and address a relevant planning problem to create a plan or professional report;
  6. Effectively present oral and written work (as a plan, professional report, or research paper) in a coherent, persuasive and professional manner; and
  7. Reflect upon the ethical implications of the choices planners make as professionals.
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