About the Program
Frequently Asked Questions about Urban Planning

Is the program accredited?
What is the difference between an urban planning program and one called 'urban and regional planning'?
What are the advantages of studying urban planning in a city like Milwaukee?
How long does it take to get a degree?
How many credits are required for the degree?
How many students go through the program each year?
What are class sizes like?
What is the student composition of classes-full-time versus part-time, urban planning versus other majors, graduate versus undergraduate?
May I apply to begin the program in January?
Can I do the degree as a part-time student and how long will it take to finish part-time?
In what ways is this program different from related sorts of programs, such as public administration, urban studies, geography, or business administration?
Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is the program accredited?

Yes, the program has been accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board since 1974 and has been reaccredited every five years since then.

What is the difference between an urban planning program and one called 'urban and regional planning'?

In general, programs entitled 'urban planning' and those called 'urban and regional planning' cover the same basic skills and knowledge about cities. Degrees from these programs are considered interchangeable. An urban planning program is as likely to include course work concerning 'regional issues' as one called 'urban and regional planning.'

What are the advantages of studying urban planning in a city like Milwaukee?

A number of advantages arise from studying planning in a city like Milwaukee. First, the size of the city is large enough to provide students with an opportunity to study first-hand the issues and problems associated with large urban areas. A large metro area like Milwaukee's affords a large number of opportunities for internships and class projects. The area provides learning opportunities in both older redeveloping contexts and newer, fast-growth suburban contexts. As with any big city, cultural diversity is another advantage. Faculty, clients for class projects, and students represent a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and values.

How long does it take to get a degree?

A student studying full-time (12 graduate credits each semester) will complete the degree in four semesters, or two academic years.

How many credits are required for the degree?

A total of 48 credits are required for the degree. Of these, 27 credits are in required core courses and 21 credits are in elective courses.

How many students go through the program each year?

The graduating class usually numbers between 12 and 20 students. At any one time, between 40 and 60 students are enrolled in the program. Because joint students and part-time students are enrolled for more than two years, the number of students enrolled at any one time is larger than the number of incoming students plus the number of graduating students each year.

What are class sizes like?

Class sizes in the core courses usually number between 12 and 20 students. Class sizes in elective courses range from about 5 to 30 students.

What is the student composition of classes-full-time versus part-time, urban planning versus other majors, graduate versus undergraduate?

Core courses are composed almost entirely of graduate students in the master of urban planning program (a few graduate students in other programs elect to take these courses). In elective courses, classes may consist of a combination of urban planning students and students in other graduate and (for U/G courses) undergraduate majors.

Overall, about 80% of the students in the urban planning program are full-time students.

May I apply to begin the program in January?

Yes, students may begin the program in January. Two core courses are available to students without a prerequisite, or students may begin with a full schedule of elective courses.

Can I do the degree as a part-time student and how long will it take to finish part-time?

Yes, a student may complete the program as a part-time student. The program faculty has established a rotation of core courses offered in the evening for those students working full-time. Because of the number of credits required and the need to complete the first-year core courses before beginning the second-year core, part-time students can expect to spend approximately four to five years to earn the degree.

In what ways is this program different from related sorts of programs, such as public administration, urban studies, geography, or business administration?

Unlike urban studies or geography (or sociology, political science or other discipline-based masters degrees) the Master of Urban Planning is a professional degree, oriented toward the skills and knowledge required by professional planners. Unlike public administration or business administration, planning focuses less on day-to-day management issues and focuses more on the identification of long-term needs and strategies for achieving long-term goals. Compared to public administration, a planning curriculum provides more hands-on practice in dealing with issues related to place.