In addition to foundations and content area knowledge, planners need strong professional skills in analytics, report writing, infographics, oral presentation, and team management to function successfully in various organizational and political environments. Starting in Fall 2022, 45 semester hours are required: 23 semester hours of core courses, 6 hours of capstone courses (Field Problems in Planning I and II), at least 9 semester hours in an area of concentration, and 7 semester hours of electives. See the most recent catalog of planning courses.

Core Curriculum

  • Core courses focus on institutions and social, economic, environmental, political, administrative, and legal systems that frame planning, policy analysis, and public decision-making.
  • Students also develop the ability to identify social goals and normative criteria for evaluating public policies, and build their quantitative (statistics, forecasting, surveys, regional analysis) and qualitative skills for plan-making and evaluation.

Capstone

In capstone courses, students apply core principles to actual planning problems.

Required Curriculum

9 core courses
6 electives (including 9 s.h. taken within a concentration)
2-semester capstone project

  • At the heart of the two-year master's degree in planning is an integrated core curriculum providing students with a solid foundation in social, economic, and public policy analysis.
     
  • First-semester courses draw from traditional disciplines, particularly economics and statistics, and are combined with introductions to law, land use and the history, theories, and practice of planning.
     
  • As students proceed, increasing emphasis is placed on the development of critical judgment and insight through the application of theories to planning problems and case studies.
     
  • Students focus on one or two areas of concentration, as well as complete a major planning research project in our capstone Field Problems course.
     
  • For the capstone project students will apply their knowledge and skills to a planning problem or issue in an Iowa community. This will be done in tandem with the University’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) which for has been providing public consultation to communities in Iowa for over a decade.

Core Curriculum

URP:6200 Analytic Methods I 3 s.h.
URP:6201 Analytic Methods II 3 s.h.
URP:6202 Land Use Planning: Law and Practice 4 s.h.
URP:6203 The Making of Cities: History and Theories of Planning 3 s.h.
URP:6205 Economics for Policy Analysis 3 s.h.
URP:6208 Program Seminar 1 s.h.
URP:6225 Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Making 1 or 3 s.h.
URP:6233 Public Finance and Budgeting 3 s.h.
URP:6258 Systems and Scenario Thinking 3 s.h.

Typical Schedule for Full-Time Students

Students with sufficient previous coursework may request a waiver of a core course.

First Semester
URP:6200 Analytic Methods I core 3 s.h.
URP:6202 Land Use Planning: Law and Practice core 4 s.h.
URP:6203 The Making of Cities: History and Theories of Planning core 3 s.h.
URP:6205 Economics for Policy Analysis core 3 s.h.
URP:6208 Program Seminar core 1 s.h.
       
Second Semester
URP:6201 Analytic Methods II core 3 s.h.
URP:6225 Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Making core 1 or 3 s.h.
URP:6233 Public Finance and Budgeting core 3 s.h.
  Electives and area of concentration courses elective 6 s.h.
       
Third Semester
URP:6209 Field Problems in Planning I capstone 3 s.h.
URP:6258 Systems and Scenario Thinking core 3 s.h.
  Electives and area of concentration courses elective 6 s.h.
URP:6235 Internship elective 2 s.h.
       
Fourth Semester
URP:6210 Field Problems in Planning II capstone 3 s.h.
  Electives and area of concentration courses elective 9 s.h.