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Master of Urban Planning (MUP)

Master of Urban Planning (MUP)

Louisville City Shot (Skyline)


UofL's MUP Program Ranked #23 Nationally According to Planning Educators, #10 in the South Region. Planetizen 2012 Rankings

MUP Program

The Department of Urban and Public Affairs offers a Master of Urban Planning (MUP) degree in cooperation with the Department of Geography and Geosciences. The MUP Program prepares students to work in a wide variety of fields, including land use and environmental planning, housing and community development, real estate development, parks and recreation planning, economic development, urban design, historic preservation, transportation planning, regional planning, and in the development of geographic information systems. With the continuing expansion of Louisville and the nation's other metropolitan areas, urban planning is one of the leading professional fields in terms of demand and job satisfaction, according to surveys by Jobs Rated Almanac and Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance. The MUP program is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) and was ranked 23rd nationally in the “Top 25 According to Educators” category of The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs in 2012.

Louisville Skyline

Students can specialize in one or two of four areas: land use and environmental planning; administration of planning organizations; spatial analysis for planning; and housing and community development. Students have the opportunity to benefit from working on real planning problems through the required internship and studio courses. Studio courses are taught at the Urban Design Studio (UDS), located in downtown Louisville and operated by the MUP Program.  The UDS serves as a classroom, meeting point, resource base, and exhibition space. Professors and practitioners cultivate various research endeavors throughout the year and periodically join forces on special issues. The UDS frequently holds planning and design charrettes and discussion forums that help increase the level of public involvement.  It is a wonderful asset and resource of the Department of Urban and Public Affairs.

UDS Photo

The MUP degree requires 48 hours (two years of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study), although up to 12 hours of relevant graduate course work may be transferred into the program. Students may enroll on a part-time or full-time basis.  A Master of Public Administration/Master of Urban Planning joint-degree, Master of Urban Planning/Juris Doctor joint-degree, and Master of Urban Planning/Master of Public Health joint-degree programs are available.

Streetscape Drawing


Applicants must have a bachelor's degree (any major is acceptable), and provide a completed application form, a transcript of all undergraduate course work, scores for the Graduate Record Examination, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation. Admission is competitive and generally requires a minimum GRE score of 153 in Verbal and 144 in Quantatative and a GPA of 3.00. Those applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a degree from a university where the language of instruction is English, must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 79 on the internet-based test or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with a minimum score of 6.5.

Application Deadlines

The Department of Urban and Public Affairs maintains a rolling admissions policy.  The deadlines include:

Fall semester: July 15

Spring semester: November 15

Summer semester: April 15


Financial Aid

The Department of Urban and Public Affairs administers a limited number of Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs).

GRAs carry a monthly stipend and are granted tuition remission. In return students are required to carry at least nine hours of courses per semester and assist a faculty member for 20 hours per week over a 10-month period. GRAs are required to carry at least 9 hours of courses per semester. Students interested in a GRA should consult the program director.

There are three different types of GRAs available to students within the Department of Urban and Public Affairs.  They all include full tuition remission, a monthly stipend, and health insurance and are all highly competitive.  The first is departmental funding awarded primarily based on merit, thus the higher the GRE score and GPA, the better the chances of the student receiving funding.  There are typically 1-2 available positions per academic year and thus are highly competitive.  The second type is offered via grant or contracts obtained by our various research centers within the department: State Data Center, Center for Hazards Research and Policy Development, Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods, etc.  These funds are awarded based on the student’s skills and experience with similar projects.  The third type of funding is awarded through departments outside of Urban and Public Affairs.  In the past, some students were able to secure funding through positions in the International Center, Cultural Center, Athletics, and Alumni Center and the REACH campus tutoring service.  These funds are awarded based upon the student’s skills and experience related to the position.  Contact information for these departments is available on the website.

The deadline for application for the departmental GRA application is March 1st.

Please fill out and submit the application below to be considered for the GRA.

Graduate Research Assistantship/Fellowship Application

For more information on general student financial aid (loans, grants, and work study) contact the UofL Financial Aid Office.

Core Courses

The core consists of nine required courses and 3 credits of the internship program for a total of 30 credits. Core courses may be waived by the Program Director based on previous study.

PLAN 601 Planning Theory and History (3)

PLAN 602 Statistics for Public Affairs (3)

PLAN 603 Urban Economics (3)

PLAN 604 Applied Research Methods (3)

PLAN 605 Land Use and Planning Law (3)

PLAN 606 Professional Practice (3)

PLAN 608 (GEOG 558)Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (3)

PLAN 636 Site Planning (3)

PLAN 649 Internship/ Practicum (3)

PLAN 650 Capstone Studion (3)

Elective and Advanced Courses

Elective and advanced course work includes 9 credits in an area of specialization (with 3 credits being one required class for the specialization,  marked with *** in bold letters below, eg PLAN 607 Land Use Planning for the Land Use and Environmental Planning Specialization), 9 additional credits of electives (which can be in a second area of specialization), plus two 3 credit required courses: PLAN 649 Planning Internship and PLAN 650 Capstone Studio. The Planning Internship involves a minimum of 200 hours of practical planning experience, while the Capstone Studio involves working on a team to address real planning problems under the guidance of a faculty member.

The courses available for each specialization are as follows. Other courses not listed below may be substituted with the permission of the Program Director.

Specialization in Land Use and Environmental Planning

GEOG 501 Urban Environmental Quality

PLAN 607 Land Use Planning (3)*** (Required for Specialization)
PLAN 612 Mediation and Dispute Resolution (3)
PLAN 620 Environmental Policy (3)
PLAN 622 Urban Design (3)
PLAN 623 Environmental Policy and Natural Hazards (3)
PLAN 624 Urban Transportation Planning (3)
PLAN 635 Comparative Urban Development (3)
PLAN 652 Neighborhood Planning Studio (3)

LAW 839 Water Resources Law and Policy (3)

Specialization in Administration of Planning Organizations

PLAN 609 Public Budgeting and Finance (3) ***(Required for Specialization
PLAN 610 Strategic Management and Planning (3)
PLAN 611 Human Resources Management (3)
PADM 612 Non-profit Grantsmanship (3)
PLAN 613 Public Administration and Organizational Theory (3)

Specialization in Spatial Analysis for Planning

PLAN 614 Real Estate Market Analysis (3)
PLAN 615 Spatial Statistics (3)
PLAN 616 Analytical Urban Geography (3)
PLAN 618 Urban Demography (3)
PLAN 619 Urban Geographic Information Systems Applications (3) *** (Required for Specialization)
PLAN 621 Urban Infrastructure (3)
PLAN 624 Urban Transportation Planning (3)

Specialization in Housing and Community Development

PLAN 614 Real Estate Market Analysis (3)
PLAN 617 Housing and Community Development (3) *** (Required for Specialization)
PLAN 621 Urban Infrastructure (3)
PLAN 622 Urban Design  (3)
PLAN 625 Historic Preservation (3)
PLAN 626 Economic Development (3)
PLAN 631 Real Estate Principles (3)
PLAN 633 Real Estate Development (3)
PLAN 634 Real Estate Finance & Investment (3)
PLAN 635 Comparative Urban Development (3)
PLAN 652 Neighborhood Planning Studio (3)

PAB Student Achievment and Public Information


MUP Faculty

Tony Arnold, J.D., Boehl Chair in Property and Land Use Law and Professor of Law. Land use and environmental law.

Steven C. Bourassa, Ph.D., KHC Real Estate Research Professor, Professor of Urban and Public Affairs.  Coordinator, Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development Program.  Housing and land markets and policy, urban planning.

Carrie G. Donald, J.D., Associate Professor of Urban and Public Affairs and Director, Labor Management Center. Labor law, health care, labor relations, workplace issues of women and minorities.

John I. Gilderbloom, Ph.D., Professor of Urban and Public Affairs. Research methods, housing, community development, planning and design.

Frank Goetzke, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Urban and Public Affairs. Urban economics, spatial analysis and transportation policy.

Lauren Heberle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology. Environmental policy, community development.

Steven G. Koven, Ph.D., Professor of Urban and Public Affairs and Director, Master of Public Administration Program. Organizational administration, research methods, public budgeting.

H.V. Savitch, Ph.D., Brown and Williamson Distinguished Research Professor of Urban and Public Affairs. Public management and planning, urban government, comparative urban systems.

David M. Simpson, Ph.D., AICP, Chair, Department of Urban and Public Affairs, Fifth Third Bank Professor of Community Development, Associate Professor of Urban and Public Affairs and Director, Center for Hazards Research and Policy Development. Planning, environmental policy, disaster preparedness.

Sumei Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urban and Public Affairs. Location theory, quantitative methods, geographical information systems.

Contact Details

David M. Simpson, Ph.D., AICP, Program Director
Phone: (502) 852-8019
Email David

Yani Vozos, MUP, Student Advisor
Phone: (502) 852-8002

Email Yani
Master of Urban Planning Program
Department of Urban and Public Affairs
University of Louisville
426 W. Bloom Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40208

Phone: (502) 852-7906
Fax: (502) 852-4558



MUP Student Guide
MUP Internship Handbook
Graduate Research Assistantship/Fellowship Application


American Planning Association
Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association
UofL Planning Student Organization

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