Master of Urban Planning

Study urban challenges in the city and world around you

MUP students stand in an urban garden in Buffalo holding notepads and taking field notes as part of a class site visit.

Today the world is reexamining the interaction of human settlements and place in the context of complex challenges such as climate change, rapid urbanization and a global crisis in public health. In creating the policies and tools that shape our environment, urban planners are central to the development of sustainable and enriching places for all. 

UB’s nationally accredited Master of Urban Planning program is built around practice-based learning and research that tackles every urban planning challenge you can imagine. Our shared drive to build a better world engages real projects and communities, from the most challenged neighborhoods of Buffalo, NY, to Africa, India, and the Caribbean Islands.

Diverse paths converge here

UB welcomes students from any undergraduate major to apply for our Master of Urban Planning degree. Our students come from backgrounds in the social sciences, economics, environmental studies, architecture, public policy, and beyond. 

The new normal

Urban planning and development have the potential to offer solutions as the world confronts an historic pandemic and systemic racial injustice. Indeed, urban planning emerged in the early 1900s to address unhealthy conditions in industrial cites. And while the discipline has a complex legacy tied to racial segregation - from racist zoning policy to highways that split cities along racial lines - today urban planning is driving policy and action toward healthier and more just communities. Learn more about our recent work on public health and social justice.

Build foundational skills as you push new ideas

students teaching students.

The two-year professional degree combines practical experience and boundary-pushing research through a core curriculum of studios, general electives, colloquia, and a culminating professional thesis or project. Seminars and studios investigate sustainable development, environmental policies, ecology, environmental design, economics, natural resources, sociology, and anthropology. The program also explores sustainability through the lens of environmental design, ethical considerations, and economics. 

PAB logo.

You can learn more about the accreditation process at the  Planning Accreditation Board’s web site.

Sakshi Surawar: Meet our Ambassador

Sakshi Surawar.

Sakshi joined UB’s  MUP program at the State University of New York at Buffalo in the Fall of 2023 semester.  Sakshi is from Maharashtra India and has a Bachelors in Architecture from the Institute of Design Education & Architectural Studies.

Her passion for urban planning is a focused on representing the art of human association with the built environment. Creating a sustainable, functional, and liveable communities are at the heart of her passion for planning. Her goal is participate in action plans that directly affect the social, economic aspects of day to day lives of cities, towns, and regions.  Sakshi is passionate designing spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also efficient, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of diverse populations. Her focus is on facing the pressing challenges of our time, such as urban sprawl, transportation, housing affordability, environmental sustainability, and social equity.

Apart from Sakshi’s academic pursuits, she has a keen interest in sketching, writing, swimming, traveling, and occasionally engaging in exercise.

Explore the work of our studios and student research

  • Rooting Resilience: Planning for the future of urban agriculture in Buffalo, New York

    Lanika Sanders, a 2021 graduate of the Master of Urban Planning program, was recognized with the MUP Best Professional Project for her research on Buffalo’s urban agriculture landscape, synthesizing existing plans and policies to highlight opportunities for enhancement of Buffalo's agricultural capacity.

  • Villusion
    This short film was created using the zoom interface by two students studying on different continents. Miguel Ortiz-Teed, working in Buffalo, and Yogesh Ravichandar, working in India, wanted to examine and express the specific difficulties of personal interaction in the video-conference environment.
  • Neighborhood Walk
    This project invited urban planning students to plan and carry out a walk through a neighborhood of their choice. Their walking route needed to be safely navigable as a pedestrian and between .5 and 1 mile in length (around a half hour walk).
  • Methods in Preservation
    This course introduces students to the basic guidelines, standards, research methods, and documentation techniques used in historic preservation to identify and record historic structures and sites. These kinds of research techniques explored by students included the development of site descriptions, creating historical narratives, reviewing existing scholarly and/or professional literature, collecting primary and secondary data, developing skills in architectural photography, and understanding the basics of documenting and analyzing historic material fabric. The course makes use of lectures, discussions, and fieldwork to introduce the various ways in which preservationists document historic sites and resources.
Join our vibrant, diverse student community

Students in our MUP program are community-minded and collaborative, contributing in invaluable ways to the intellectual life of our school. Learn more about how you can get involved in our student leadership organizations. 

Do you have an interest in affordable housing?

Access to quality affordable housing in cities across the U.S. has reached crisis proportions. UB's Affordable Housing Initiative engages industry and community partners in interdisciplinary research and design-build projects that advance prototypes for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S., and our Advanced Graduate Certificate educates and trains aspiring and advancing professionals to be leaders in the design, policy-making, and development of affordable housing.

Collaborate with global thought leaders

Faculty and students work together in Hayes Hall.
Nationally ranked for research

Our faculty rank at the top of their peers in the prestigious Association of American Universities for research, including publications and funding awards. 

Combining a depth of experience in the profession and academy, our faculty are international thought leaders and influencers in fields such as food systems planning, climate resilience, global health equity, urban design, transportation planning and policy, and historic preservation. UB's urban planning faculty rank at the top of their peers in the Association of American Universities in publications and funding awards. 

The UB MUP offers high levels of faculty-student interaction and opportunities to incubate your ideas through independent research. Many of our faculty direct research centers and labs that support grant-funded research and opportunities for field research in local and global settings. Research generated by our faculty has been featured in top planning journals including Built Environment, Journal of the American Planning Association, and the Journal of Planning Education. We work creatively across the disciplines at UB, a flagship of The State University of New York (SUNY) and the most comprehensive public research university in the Northeast.

Bell tower.

We accept and review applications year round. We're ready to answer your questions and eager to help you explore your interest in real estate development.

Explore dual degree options

  • Master of Architecture + Master of Urban Planning
    The MArch + MUP embraces the notion that architecture and urban planning are fundamentally intertwined as evidenced by the impact of architecture on the urban fabric and the influence of urban planning on architecture. 
  • Masters of Urban Planning + Juris Doctorate
    The MUP + JD dual-degree program, offered jointly with the UB School of Law, explores the facets of local, state, federal and international policy and practice. The program prepares students for a variety of professional roles in public service, private law firms, planning consulting firms and public legal practice.
  • Master of Urban Planning + Master of Public Health
    Through this three-year program, you will earn an Master of Urban Planning (MUP) degree and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.
  • Historic Preservation
    Join our small and selective group of interdisciplinary students interested in pursuing promising careers in historic preservation. Designed for practitioners and students from disciplines as diverse as architecture, law and art, our curriculum includes an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and a Master of Science in Architecture specializing in Historic Preservation.

Get an education with an outstanding ROI

With a total cost of study (in-state tuition and fees) of approximately $25,000, UB offers an unmatched, affordable graduate education with an outstanding ROI. In addition to affordable tuition, over 55 percent of our students are awarded financial awards. Make a smart investment in your future – pursue an MUP at UB. 

Men walk near the Richardson-Olmstead Complex, a historic site that was once an insane asylum and is being converted to hotel and convention space, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y. New York state's upstate-downstate divide is alive and well, as Tuesday's election results showed. Cuomo has tried to appeal to upstate with talk of yogurt plants, tourism and economic development initiatives in Buffalo, but the numbers show there's still significant differences when it comes to how the two areas view state government. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez).

In the field, from Buffalo to Kashimir

Buffalo's Olmsted-designed park and parkway system.

Frederick Law Olmsted designed Buffalo's nationally recognized park and parkway system. The system is featured in the School of Architecture and Planning's documentary short on our relationship to Buffalo, "See It Through Buffalo." Photo by First + Main Films. 

Our practice-based approach to urban planning is built around our deep-rooted engagement with the City of Buffalo, its neighborhoods, and its people. In the midst of an historic rebirth centered on its legacy of world-class urban design and architecture, Buffalo also faces persistent gaps in economic opportunity, quality of life and public health - a dynamic that grounds our teaching and research. From our UB Regional Institute's work on a $65 million community-driven economic development plan for Buffalo's East Side, to a recent studio on redesigning the maligned Scajaquada Expressway, we are active in every corner of our community, from the site to regional scale.   

Our work is equally global. Faculty research sponsored by the United Nations, National Science Foundation, Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association support in-the-field learning around the world while study abroad programs take students from Estonia to Costa Rica. 

Build a Diverse Career Path

Image of building during construction.

Graduates of our program find diverse job opportunities in government agencies (local, state, and federal), international agencies, development authorities, ecological planning, nonprofit organizations, natural resource management, historic preservation, community groups, land development firms, environmental conservation, and consulting companies. Professional preparation is built right into our program through real-world studio projects and hands-on research. Our deep industry and community connections provide ready opportunities for networking, mentorship and internships. 

Meet our Alumni: Making an Impact

Best in the field

Graduates of the School of Architecture and Planning carry the qualities of next-generation leaders: grit, courage, enterprise, and collaboration. Our graduates are adept problem-solvers and nimble at working across disciplines, communities and the complex built and social landscape. It's why UB graduates are leading the profession's most emergent areas of practice.

Let us know how we can help