Master of Urban Planning

Specialization Options

Focus your research, build valuable expertise

For some years, urban planning education has felt a tension between an approach that aims to train good generalists, with knowledge and skills geared to adaptability and life-long learning, and an approach that attempts to focus, particularize, and deepen knowledge with training in job-specific skills.  Because this debate has no simple conclusion, the faculty has opted to give students choice in selecting which form of education and professional training most suits them.

Our students must select either one of our MUP specializations or our advanced graduate certificate.  The specialization leads to a certificate granted upon graduation.  The advanced graduate certificate has special SUNY recognition and also appears on the diploma.  Specializations each consist of an introductory course, advanced course, and specialized practicum (6) credits, adding up to 12 credits.  For requirements for the advanced certificate, see below.

Please note that each specialization (and the advanced graduate certificate) requires a specialized practicum. Under some circumstances, if an appropriate 6-credit specialized practicum is not available during a reasonable period of the student’s curriculum, students may (upon approval of the specialization director and department chair) take two three-credit courses in lieu of the 6-credit practicum.

  • Community Health and Food Systems
    Explore the links between planning and public health to strengthen urban agriculture, local and regional food systems and create healthier, more equitable, sustainable communities. Cultivate your sociological, anthropological, and environmental design research skills in planning as you prepare plans for community clients in local and global settings.
  • Economic Development Planning
    Work with cities and communities to increase employment opportunities, relieve poverty, build international economic competitiveness, promote human development, enhance ecological practices, and facilitate sustainable growth. Study these issues alongside our diverse network of government, industry and community partners.
  • Environmental and Land Use Planning
    Apply the planning process to the sustainable development of cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Develop environmental design solutions that restore natural resources; minimize the negative effects of human settlements on ecosystems; identify opportunities for landscape reclamation; and ethically mitigate the impact of environmental problems on human health and urban and regional systems.
  • Historic Preservation (Graduate Certificate)
    Engage the material fabric of our cultural past as you explore urban and architectural histories, the craft and technical methods of preservation, and the sustainable development of supportive policy and planning tools. Buffalo’s turn-of-the-century architecture, ecological landscape, and world-class urban design provide inspired settings for applied preservation research while considering the environmental, ethical, sociological, and anthropological implications.
  • Historic Preservation (Advanced Graduate Certificate)
    This certificate engages with the historic built environment and introduces students to the theory and practice of historic preservation through coursework in history and theory, methods, preservation planning and design and taking advantage of the incredible historic resources in the Buffalo Niagara region.
  • Neighborhood Planning and Community Development
    Rethink planning and design toward the development of the just urban metropolis. Through a community-driven process, explore the physical, ecological, economic and sociological dimensions of development in under-served communities. Particular focus is given to the intersection of race, class, and gender in the construction of ethical, sustainable environments.
  • Urban Design and Physical Planning
    Advance research and practices that make cities and neighborhoods more socially livable, pedestrian-friendly, environmentally sustainable, and aesthetically agreeable. Applying the tools of GIS, site planning, ecological landscapes, and environmental design, students reimagine the city across all scales, from waterfronts and parks, to streetscapes and infrastructure programs, to housing and town or village centers.