Welcome to the website of the School of Planning and Public Affairs (SPPA) at the University of Iowa.

With over 1,000 alumni, SPPA has offered high-quality professional graduate education for 60 years. SPPA’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning (URP) program is nationally ranked at #16 in the most recent Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs. The program prepares students to be professional planners who make positive changes to communities, cities, and regions. Our vision is to promote inclusive human settlements in which economic development, environmental sustainability, and social justice jointly contribute to prosperity, resilience, and the quality of life from local to global.

In 2020, SPPA launched a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program. We educate future leaders in public and nonprofit sectors who can solve the most pressing economic, social, and environmental problems humanity is facing in the 21st century. Taking advantage of campus-wide resources and interests in public policy at a world-class research university, our MPA students excel both academically and professionally. Based on the U.S. News and World Report, we are already the #1 public affairs graduate program in Iowa.

SPPA is a national model in student-centered community engagement. SPPA’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities identifies, facilitates, and supervises student capstone projects through partnerships with communities throughout the state of Iowa. Working with SPPA faculty, our graduate students have made real-world impacts even before they graduate.

SPPA has internationally recognized, award-winning faculty. They are experts in community and economic development, land use, housing, transportation, environment and sustainability, public and nonprofit management, public finance, and policy analysis.

SPPA also offers opportunities to UI undergraduate students through accelerated Undergraduate-to-Graduate (U2G) programs and our popular minor in Public Policy and minor in Urban Studies.

Leadership. Action. Policy. It all starts here. I hope you join the SPPA family and change the world with us.

If you would like more information, please contact me (haifeng-qian@uiowa.edu). For admissions related questions, contact Abbi Castle (abigail-castle@uiowa.edu) to schedule a time to chat or a visit.

Dr. Haifeng Qian

Professor and Director