MUP - The Program

The curriculum of any vital and dynamic program will change from time to time. The description which follows below applies to students entering the program in Fall 2021, and may differ for students entering in other semesters.

All enrolled graduate students should have in their possession an original copy of the curriculum they must satisfy based upon their date of matriculation. Copies of each student's required curriculum are sent to all students before they enter the program, are distributed again during graduate student orientation, and an official copy is placed in each student's file in the department. 

  • The curriculum varies depending upon the students’ entry into the program. Students usually enter the MUP program in the fall semester, although entry in the spring semester is an option.
  • The program encourages full-time study; however, students may pursue their degree part-time.
  • Students may apply to waive a required course based on prior coursework.

As you look at our program, you will notice that some courses are labeled “practicum” which has the same meaning as “studio”.

Curriculum Program Requirements

Recommended course: URP 691 Colloquium (1 credit) (Fall)

Required core courses

  • URP 501 Evolution of Urban Structure (Fall semester)
  • URP 510 Planning Concepts and Controversies (Spring)
  • URP 512 Research Methods for Planners (Fall)
  • URP 538 Economic Concepts (Spring)
  • URP 573 Land Use and Physical Planning (Fall)
  • URP 581 Planning Practicum (6 credits) (Fall and Spring)
  • URP 582 Planning Practicum (6 credits) (Fall and Spring)

Required Professional Competencies, choose one from each of two categories (6 credits)

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS):
    • URP 569, GIS Applications (Offered in Spring)
    • URP 601, Advanced GIS Applications (normally offered in Spring) (with permission)
  • Design skills and design literacy
    • URP 523 Graphic Communications in Planning (fall)
    • URP 526 Site Planning and Design (normally offered in Spring)
    • URP 565 Urban Design Understanding Form (normally offered in Fall)
  • Group process
    • URP 508, Race, Class, Gender  
    • URP 509 Qualitative Methods 
    • URP 577 Planning Techniques in Action (normally offered in Spring)


  1. Dual March/MUP students must take URP 569 as their competency.   It is understood they receive design competency through their architecture education.
  2. Dual students will take either URP 581 or URP 582.  The studio they take must be designated for their specialization.

Required MUP Specialization or Advanced Graduate Certificate (12 credits):

  • Choose one of the following
    • MUP Specialization consisting of an Introductory Course, Advanced Course, and specialized URP 582 Planning Practicum II
    • Advanced Certificate in Historic Preservation, see separate information on requirements.

Required Culminating Exercise (3 or 6 credits)

  • Choose one of the following
    • Project Option:  URP 697 Master’s Project Preparation, 3 credits
    • Thesis Option:  URP 698 Master’s Thesis Preparation and URP 699, Master’s Thesis, each 3 credits for a total of 6 credits.* (with permission)

NOTE: URP 697 Masters Project is a capstone course which must be taken in a MUP student’s final semester. Students, may, however, request to work on a 6-credit thesis instead of a 3-credit final project. Thesis is pursued through two courses, URP 698 Master's Thesis Preparation and URP 699 Master's Thesis, which should be taken consecutively. Thesis students would take URP 698 in the next-to-last semester and URP 699 in the final semester. Upon special permission of the chair, under special circumstances, students may take them simultaneously. Sometimes students start a thesis but fail to complete itSuch students are permitted to switch to the project option, but are then not allowed to use the thesis credits towards the MUP degree

General Electives (remaining credits)

  • Students may choose from graduate courses offered within the department.
  • They may also apply for up to 3 credits of URP 545 (Internship) and up to 3 credits of URP 599 (Independent Study). No more than 3 credits of internship and 3 credits of independent study may be applied to the MUP.     
  • As part of their academic program, students may complete one Internship course.  It is expected that the internship be an unpaid experience.  Students are responsible for finding an appropriate site for their internship and must recruit a faculty advisor to oversee the internship.   Students must submit an internship proposal form to the department chair for approval.
  • You are allowed to take up to 6 credits outside the department.  Be sure the course content is relevant to planning. If you are unsure, ask for written permission from the department chair.

M.U.P. Curriculum Total: 52 credits

Academic Standing

  • Students must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 to remain in academic good standing. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for successful completion of the MUP degree.
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We accept and review applications on a continual basis throughout the year.
Submit your application by March 1,2021 for preferred scholarship consideration.

Explore our Specialization Options

MUP students select one of our MUP specializations or the advanced graduate certificate in the second semester of study. Students choosing the advanced certificate will see the designation also listed on the their diploma.  

  • 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.


Develop versatile skills with our courses: focused, practical, and relevant

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