Two people working on a city model.

Master of Regional Planning

Urban and Regional Planning

Program of Study


This 48-credit program prepares you for a professional urban planning career with neighborhood, community, state, and federal agencies, environmental consulting firms, commercial developers, transportation consulting firms, and urban housing and economic development groups.  

You can choose from three areas of specialization in the master’s planning program: environmental and land use planning, transportation planning, and community planning, with opportunities to use data-driven, open-source, web-based tools to detect trends and monitor policy outcomes.


  • Planning History and Philosophy
  • Urban and Metropolitan Structure and Functions
  • Computer Applications in Planning
  • Statistical Methods
  • Planning Processes, Plans, and the Design of Communities
  • Planning Law
  • Planning Studio
  • Planning internship
  • Specialization courses (see below)
  • Elective courses (see below)
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Master's research paper

Elective Course Options

You can choose from a wide range of elective course offerings to broaden your expertise.

  • Planning Ethics
  • Urban Ecology
  • Energy, Environment, and Climate Change
  • Remote Sensing I and II
  • CAD in Planning
  • Introductory MapInfo
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Advanced GIS
  • Geographic Information Systems Applications
  • Metropolitan Governance and Planning
  • Studio Report and Implementation

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Dr. Catherine T. Lawson at [email protected].

Regional Planning Specializations
Environmental and Land Use Planning

Required courses:

  • Plan Implementation and Development Management
  • Environmental Planning


One or more of the following:

  • Environmental Assessment and Permitting
  • Parks, Preservation and Heritage Planning
  • Water Resources Planning
  • Environmental Restoration and Brownfields Redevelopment
  • Site Planning
  • Urban Design and Public Space 
  • Topics in Environmental and Land Use Planning
Community Planning

Required courses:

  • Urban Community Development
  • Urban Policy in the United States


One or more of the following:

  • United States Housing Policy
  • Local Economic Development Strategies and Technologies
  • Planning for Jobs, Housing, and Community Services in Third World Cities
  • Parks, Preservation and Heritage Planning
  • Environmental Restoration and Brownfields Redevelopment
  • Plan Implementation and Development Management
  • Topics in Housing, Local Economic Development, and Community Planning
  • Regional Theories and Techniques
  • Independent Study in Housing, Local Economic Development, and Community Planning
Transportation Planning

Required courses:

  • Transportation Planning
  • Urban and Metropolitan Transportation Planning 


One or more of the following:

  • Transportation Technologies Practicum
  • The Role of Transportation in Emergency Preparedness
  • Public Transportation Planning
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Planning
  • Topics in Transportation Planning
  • Independent Study in Transportation Planning 
Albany Visualization and Informatics Lab


AVAIL is the applied research lab in data science and regional planning at UAlbany, in the Lewis Mumford Center. Here, you'll gain hands-on experience applying your knowledge of computing, data science, and analytic methods and instruments to develop innovative solutions for commercial and public projects. 

The regional planning research lab produces visually rich, web-based applications and tools that support evidence-based decision making in transportation, demography, meteorology, and entrepreneurial economics.

Projects include:

  • New York State hazard mitigation planning
  • New York State Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) performance management reporting and local planning tools (e.g., Congestion Management Plans)
  • NJDOT traveler info applications
  • Community Indicators for the Capital Region

Previous projects:

  • Real-time MTA subway transit information
  • Public bus route demand modeling
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystem mapping
Career Paths

Within one year after commencement, 70% of UAlbany MRP graduates are employed in planning-related jobs, often in fields aligned with their area of specialization. 

Common job titles of regional planning program alumni include:

  • City Planner
  • Community Development Specialist
  • Environmental Impact Consultant
  • Transportation Planner
  • Planning Project Manager
  • Housing Policy Analyst
  • Director of Planning and Economic Development




Master of Regional Planning Completed Studio Projects

Master of Regional Planning Program Public Information

MRP Program Handbook




Four young professionals engaged in urban planning

"A successful planner empowers communities by connecting communities with process. By connecting values and visions with civic programs and projects, we can turn plans into realities."

- Maria Chau, MRP '08, Federal Highway Administration

Funding Opportunities for MRP Students
The Endowed Scholarship in Urban and Regional Planning

This scholarship provides support for graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Recipient(s) must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. The Donor’s first preference is that recipients hail from upstate New York. The second preference is that they hail from New York State.  

All MRP applicants are considered for the scholarship if they meet the eligibility requirements. The MRP selection committee evaluates qualified recipients and notifies eligible students with the scholarship offer. 


  • First Tier - Preference 
    • Graduate student as resident of an upstate county in New York State 
    • GPA 3.0 or above 
    • MRP degree student 
    • Indication of financial need (e.g., request for TA, GA, or inquiry on available resources) 
  • Second Tier - Eligible 
    • Graduate student as resident of New York State 
    • GPA 3.0 or above 
    • MRP degree student 
    • Indication of financial need (e.g., request for TA, GA, or inquiry on available resources) 

If no graduate-level candidates qualify, the scholarship could be awarded to an undergraduate student enrolled in the Urban Studies Major Program who fits the same eligibility requirements as an MRP candidate. 

Graduate Assistantships in the Department of Geography and Planning

Assistantships are used to employ full time graduate students as teaching and administrative assistants. 

Decisions on the assignment of MRP Graduate Assistant (GA) lines are made by the MRP core faculty. In making their decisions, faculty consider all current MRP students who have formally applied for assistantship funding within the Graduate Application and who still need to complete at least 10 credits to finish the MRP degree. They also consider all applicants to the MRP program who have been admitted and have formally applied for assistantship funding. 



The prime GA selection decisions for the upcoming academic year are made in April. Applicants seeking assistantships should ensure that their complete MRP applications are received by the university’s Graduate Office no later than March 15. Applicants who do not make this deadline are much less likely to obtain an assistantship.  



The selection of GA recipients is based on four major criteria, weighted equally, as follows: 

  1. Academic performance as an undergraduate, and in any subsequent graduate study, as reflected by grade point average (GPA), grades in key planning-related courses, and awards. 
  2. The extent to which academic background is cognate with planning. 
  3. Evidence of relevant work experience, volunteer experience, writing and verbal and technical skills appropriate to a graduate planning program. 
  4. Possession of skills and experience of value to the Department of Geography and Planning. 

In addition, in assigning GA lines, the MRP core faculty consider evidence of commitment to graduate study in planning at the University at Albany and diversity issues. Our objective is to form a pool of graduate assistants who can bring a wide variety of different talents, experiences and concerns to the department, and who are truly representative of the university’s student body as a whole. 



The MRP program core faculty seeks to divide its GA lines roughly equally between first- and second-year full-time students. Some GA awards are “full lines”— including a stipend and a tuition scholarship of nine (9) credits each semester, in return for 20 hours per week of work during the 14-week teaching semester. The majority of the awards are “half lines”— including a stipend and tuition scholarship of six (6) credits each semester, in return for 10 hours per week of work during the 14-week teaching semester. 

Students are encouraged to apply for other University funding opportunities.

The Paul Marr Award for Excellence in Planning Scholarship and Practice

The Paul Marr Award for Excellence in Planning Scholarship and Practice is presented to a student who best represents and honors the memory of Paul Marr, a Geography professor at the University of Albany who started the Planning program.


You must be a top performing Master of Regional Planning (MRP) student and must also be actively involved in community engagement in planning.

Selection Process

MRP program faculty meet each March to discuss the students who fit the criteria and come to a consensus on who best meets the requirements. Selected students are notified in April each year.

Additional Funding Opportunities
The Carson Carr Graduate Diversity Fellowship

The Carson Carr Graduate Diversity Fellowship Program is a competitive, merit-based program for full-time graduate students (9 graduate credits) who will contribute to the diversity of the student body in the graduate or professional program in which they will be enrolled. 

This award is named for Dr. Carson Carr, former director of UAlbany’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), in recognition of his stellar achievements in support of the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented students.

Carr Fellows receive a tuition scholarship, an academic-year stipend and a Teaching or Research Assistantship. All awards are subject to University-wide policies concerning the limitation on state-allocated funding. 



  1. Applicants must have earned by the time of enrollment, a baccalaureate degree granted by an accredited U.S. college or university, or an international university of recognized standing.
  2. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or have obtained permanent resident status by the time of enrollment.
  3. Students must contribute to the diversity of the graduate program to which they have been admitted. Economic or other disadvantage may be a basis for assessing a student’s contribution to enhancing diversity. Membership in a racial/ethnic group that has historically been underrepresented in the graduate or professional program in which admission is sought may serve as a plus factor in making awards.



Selection of the Carson Carr Graduate Diversity Fellows will be prioritized as follows:

  1. New graduate students who are being recruited but who have not yet accepted admission to a UAlbany graduate program. This first priority aims to recruit students who will contribute to the diversity of the student body and who otherwise would not come to UAlbany, especially New York State residents.
  2. Graduate Opportunity Waiver Program students who can be awarded a stipend to supplement their waiver to tuition.
  3. Currently enrolled doctoral candidates who have completed all degree requirements but the dissertation (“ABD”).
  4. Graduate Assistants and Teaching Assistants who can receive a supplement to their current stipends to enhance their retention in graduate studies.


How to Apply

Applicants must submit an essay (maximum 500 words) stating how they will: 

  • contribute to the diversity of their academic program’s student body 
  • commit, or are committed, to increasing opportunities for underrepresented populations, and 
  • fully participate in all aspects of the fellowship program, including acting as a mentor and teacher for a wide variety of students.

Prospective students should submit their essay with their admissions application.

Current students should email their essay, with an Albany ID number to [email protected].  



  • January 15 for summer and fall consideration
  • October 15 for spring consideration


For more information, contact [email protected].

Fellowship on Women & Public Policy

Female students near the end of their degree program can apply for this program run by the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society (CWGCS) at UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.

The Fellowship on Women & Public Policy Program has been in place for over 40 years. There are over 400 fellows who hold high ranking positions in the public service field all over New York State, across the country and around the world.

The fellowship offers policy-related placements in New York State agencies, the Legislature and statewide nonprofit advocacy organizations.


The Fellowship provides:

  • Policy-related placements in New York State agencies, the Legislature and statewide nonprofit advocacy organizations.
  • Policy field experience and academic coursework in public policy and advocacy.
  • Professional development and co-curricular activities such as workshops, conferences, policy field trips and community service opportunities.
  • Network mentoring program that gives access to over 300 alumnae fellows and other accomplished policy and social change agents.



The Fellowship program is open to graduate students and working professionals who have successfully completed a minimum of 12 graduate credits in any academic discipline and have a minimum of 3-5 years of work experience.


Award and Application

The Fellowship offers a $10,000 stipend and tuition assistance for academic coursework. In the spring semester, fellows are full-time graduate students at Rockefeller College with policy-related field placements for thirty hours a week from January through June. Health plans are available.

Access the application.


For more information, contact CWGCS at [email protected].

Admissions Requirements

Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: March 15
  • Spring: Not Available
  • Summer: Not Available

 No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: Rolling
  • Spring: Rolling
  • Summer: Not Available
Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of goals
Special Notes

This program requires an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience requirement. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions.  If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.   

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Masters in Regional Planning
  • Acquire knowledge of general planning history, principles, and practice.
  • Learn examples of planning processes and documents, and integrate tools and techniques used in plan making, plan implementation and plan evaluation.
  • Develop knowledge in one of several alternative fields of specialization.           
  • Develop effective research and writing skills, technical skills and proficiency in the most current planning support systems, including statistics, GIS, and other analytic and visualization tools.
  • Gain experience working in professional teams and with persons of different disciplinary background to better understand planning ethics, justice and equity, and the complexities of diverse populations.