Master of Professional Studies in the Field of Sustainable Urban Planning

The master of professional studies in sustainable urban planning degree program is dedicated to helping students acquire the skills they need to face the challenges of modern urbanization, both in the United States and around the globe. The program offers an array of high-level theoretical, philosophical, and historical courses in planning, urban issues, and new technological approaches that aim to prepare new planning professionals for success in the burgeoning field. Above all, the program gives students the ability to use their ideas to help forge better cities.

The complete sequence of classes required for the master’s degree is offered each calendar year, including the summer session, and students may enroll on a full- or part-time basis.

The program also offers graduate certificates in sustainable urban planning and climate change management and policy, which are designed for students who are not in need of a complete master’s degree. 

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder.

Visit the program website for additional information.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 48 credits, including 30 credits in required courses and 18 credits in courses in one track.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 48 credits, including 30 credits in required courses and 18 credits taken in one track.

PSUS 6201Principles of Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning
PSUS 6202Urban and Environmental Economics
PSUS 6203Research Methods I: Geospatial and Econometric Analysis
PSUS 6204Land Use Law
PSUS 6210Transportation Planning in City Systems
PSUS 6211Regional Development and Agricultural Economics
PSUS 6212Sustainable Communities I: Housing and Design
PSUS 6213Research Methods II: Advanced Geospatial and Econometric Analysis
PSUS 6230Sustainable Community Design Studio
PSUS 6233Capstone Studio
Climate Change Management Track
PSUS 6221The Scientific Basis of Climate Change
PSUS 6222Climate Change Economics
PSUS 6223Sustainable Communities II: Tools for Assessment and Transformation
PSUS 6224Sustainable Energy for Cities and the Environment
PSUS 6231Practicum: Climate Change Management and Policy
PSUS 6235Advanced Topics in Urban Sustainability
Sustainable Landscapes Track
PSUS 6260Introduction to Sustainable Design
PSUS 6261Ecology of the Built Environment
PSUS 6262Tools for Sustainable Design
PSUS 6264Native Plants I
PSUS 6265Native Plants II
PSUS 6268Sustainable Design Methods
PSUS 6269Sustenance and the Landscape
PSUS 6266Ecological Restoration
PSUS 6270Sustainable Design Charrette

Director J. Carruthers

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000s to 4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

PSUS 6201. Principles of Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning. 3 Credits.

The environmental, social, and economic elements of sustainability. Present and future challenges, including environmental management, energy policy, financial crises, global warming, inequality, public education, third and first world slums, the success and failure of nations, urban agriculture, urban economics, and more. The implications of sustainable development and conducting research based on evidenced-based policy. Students focus on the work of researchers outside of the planning field as they write a series of research essays containing reviews of relevant scientific literature.

PSUS 6202. Urban and Environmental Economics. 3 Credits.

The application of neoclassical economics to problems faced by practitioners of the field of sustainable urban and regional planning. Key economic concepts including supply and demand, consumption and production, markets and market failure, and measurement of environmental and other non-market commodities. An economist’s perspective on the principals and methods for understanding urban and environmental challenges and solutions, urban growth, environmental quality, public policy, and other issues fundamental to contemporary development.

PSUS 6203. Research Methods I: Geospatial and Econometric Analysis. 3 Credits.

Focus on developing proficiency in geographic information systems (GIS) and econometric analysis, a method of statistical analysis for measuring the relationships at work in socioeconomic phenomena. Building and analyzing spatial datasets, specifically using ArcGIS and Stata statistical software.

PSUS 6204. Land Use Law. 3 Credits.

PSUS 6210. Transportation Planning in City Systems. 3 Credits.

Transportation planning with long-run goals in mind, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The role of planning at local and regional scales within the broader framework of transportation engineering.

PSUS 6211. Regional Development and Agricultural Economics. 3 Credits.

The economics of land use patterns and development processes in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Introduction to the field of agricultural economics and examination of food deserts and other food-related problems relevant to the field of sustainable urban planning.

PSUS 6212. Sustainable Communities I: Housing and Design. 3 Credits.

Community development with a focus on policy and the various sectors of interest that affect contemporary urbanization. How policies, planning techniques, and implementation strategies form the core work of planning practitioners. Topics include water supply, food deserts, public health, and urban resilience. Pathways to more sustainable communities are explored through the policy arenas in which key decisions are made; key sectors that make up the fabric of communities; and special topics that have emerged as critical challenges for sustainable community development.

PSUS 6213. Research Methods II: Advanced Geospatial and Econometric Analysis. 3 Credits.

Builds upon the skills learned in PSUS 6203. Application of econometric and geospatial analysis in the field of sustainable urban and regional planning. Emphasis on objectivity and use of the scientific method to form defensible, evidence-based policy. Prerequisite: PSUS 6203.

PSUS 6220. Planning Resilient and Low-Carbon Cities. 3 Credits.

International perspectives on urban planning, taking into consideration increased global temperatures resulting from greenhouse gas emissions-induced climate change. The course is taught with reference to the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and considers how urbanization around the world must adapt to the reality of global warming and its consequences.

PSUS 6221. The Scientific Basis of Climate Change. 3 Credits.

The science underlying climate change policy and decision making. Earth systems, climate change projections, the need for mitigation, and impact assessment. Designed for non-scientists.

PSUS 6222. Climate Change Economics. 3 Credits.

Energy use in built environments with an emphasis on fundamental drivers of energy demand, strategies to promote energy efficiency, and essential features of energy supply; the relationship between energy demand and supply in development.; how advances in construction technology can help counter greenhouse gas emissions.

PSUS 6223. Sustainable Communities II: Tools for Assessment and Transformation. 3 Credits.

Builds on PSUS 6212 by further detailing the theory and tools relevant to the assessment and transformation of neighborhood and communities. Geospatial analysis explore the fundamental drivers of urban form, advanced transportation systems, theories of change, and various impact assessment tools used to inform policy implementation.

PSUS 6224. Sustainable Energy for Cities and the Environment. 3 Credits.

Resource management and renewable energy technologies. Vulnerabilities of existing urban structures, particularly the energy grid. Implications of and solutions to energy-related problems likely to arise in present and future cities.

PSUS 6230. Sustainable Comm Design Studio. 3 Credits.

PSUS 6231. Practicum:ClimateChangeMgt&Pol. 3 Credits.

PSUS 6233. Capstone Studio. 3 Credits.

PSUS 6235. Adv Topics in Urban Sust. 3 Credits.

PSUS 6260. Intro to Sustainable Design. 2 Credits.

PSUS 6261. Ecology of the Built Env.. 2 Credits.

PSUS 6262. Tools for Sustainable Design. 3 Credits.

PSUS 6264. Native Plants I. 2 Credits.

PSUS 6265. Native Plants II. 1 Credit.

PSUS 6266. Ecological Restoration. 1 Credit.

PSUS 6268. Sustainable Design Methods. 2 Credits.

PSUS 6269. Sustenance and the Landscape. 2 Credits.

PSUS 6270. Sustainable Design Charrette. 3 Credits.

Preparation of a final project that demonstrates students' understanding of how to select and use sustainable site principles in a landscape design. Building and expanding upon techniques learned in previous coursework, students show comprehension of how their project site has boundaries within its surrounding ecosystem, but is still part of a larger life cycle. Students work in a concentrated charrette format to develop a site design that is fully sustainable and buildable.