The Curriculum

Planning is a dynamic and exciting field. Planners combine analysis with activism and policy evaluation with implementation, in order to improve the quality of life in cities and regions. Professionals are in demand in such diverse fields as:

  • regional transit management
  • environmental impact analysis
  • rural economic development
  • infrastructure investment
  • nonprofit neighborhood housing development
  • legislative analysis
  • growth management planning

The University of Iowa is recognized as a leader in developing a curriculum attuned to the changing world of planning. At the heart of the master's degree in urban and regional planning is an integrated core curriculum that gives first-year students a solid foundation in analyzing social problems and public policies, preparing them for a wide range of careers.

Areas of concentration are developed by the student during the second semester and students often select two of them.

Combined degree programs are available as undergraduate-to-graduate and graduate-to-graduate. 

Those interested in an international perspective may take a winterim course held in India which focuses on environmental issues, coordinated by Study Abroad.

Iowa's planning program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. The program enrolls 30 to 40 full-time and one to three part-time students, on average. Typically, enrollment is about half women, half men. Students bring a variety of educational backgrounds to the program, including such undergraduate majors as geography, economics, English, political science, engineering, architecture, sociology, urban studies and history.

The common core of courses and the design of our facilities allow students to get to know each other quickly. Students also interact closely with faculty in the classroom, through informal conversations, or while working on research projects.