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Degree Requirements

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Degree Requirements

Curriculum Revisions - Approved

Effective for incoming students Fall 2016

RCPL has revised the requirements and format for our degree program.  

We have consolidated  the concentrations into two -  Physical Planning concentration and Community & Economic Development concentration. Students will complete some coursework in each area but will focus more of their electives in one based on their individual interest. 

We are excited about the new format and concentrations as see this as a unique way to capture the balance between building skills and helping our students become holistic planners.

As always, your feedback on our changes is always appreciated!

Please contact either Dr. Charles Warnken at  or Dr. Meghan Wieters at if you have questions or ideas about our program!



Core Courses (23 credits)


5013 History and Theory of Regional and City Planning(3 credits)
5113 Research Methods (3 credits)
5203 Urban Land Use Controls (3 credits)
5173 Urban and Regional Analysis (3 credits)
5463 Computer Mapping and GIS in Planning (3 credits)
5525 Comprehensive Planning Studio (5 credits)
5053 Planning Management (3 credits)


Students will select one of the following specializations:

A. Physical Planning

B. Community & Economic Development

Breadth Courses (12 credits)

Students will take the three (3) breadth courses in their Selected Specialization (Physical Planning or Community & Economic Development) AND one (1) breadth course in the Non-selected Specialization. (12 credits total in breadth courses)

Physical Planning Specialization


Breadth Courses

5513 Subdivision and Planned Unit Developments
5970 Infrastructure Planning
5813 Environmental Planning Methods

Community & Economic Development Specialization

Breadth Courses 

5723 Community Development and Revitalization
5713 Urban Economic Development Planning
5353 Public Budgeting and Finance

Depth Courses (9 credits)

Students will take a minimum of three (3) depth courses that build on their Selected Specialization.  These courses may be taken from the list below OR students may look for other graduate courses in other related departments or disciplines that also may support their Selected Specialization.

Students who wish to take non-RCPL classes to satisfy the depth course requirements are encouraged to discuss this with the Graduate Liaison to insure the desired course is a good fit for the student and the curriculum.


Physical Planning Specialization

Depths Courses 

5483 Urban and Regional Transportation Planning 
5463 Public Mass Transportation
5493 Transportation and Land Development
5663 Sustainable Urban Design 
6643 Urban Design Theory
6653 Urban Design Seminar
5970 Public Health and the Built Environment
5990 Special Topics courses. such as:

  • Water issues
  • Sustainability Issues
  • Climate Change Issues
  • Hazard/Disaster Planning

Community & Economic Development Specialization

Depth Courses

5733 Real Estate Development in Planning 
5853 World Economic Development 
5823 Rural and Regional Planning
5990.026 Historic Preservation
5033 Sociology of Housing
5990 International Development
5990 Special Topics courses, such as:

  • Housing Policy
  • Participatory Methods
  • Public School Planning

Additional Credit Requirements

NON-THESIS STUDENTS: Require a total of 44 credits.  The  Core Courses (23 credits) + Breadth courses (12 credits)+ Depth Courses (9 credits) = 44 credits.  (Effective Fall 2016)

THESIS STUDENTS: Require a minimum of 48 credit hours, including 23 credits in the core curriculum, and 4 thesis credits. A thesis is the product of individual research. It should represent an original contribution to the academic field of knowledge; and it must represent original research by the student. Students considering a thesis should discuss their ideas with faculty members sometime during their first year of study.


Other Curriculum Requirements


WRITTING COMPREHENSIVE EXAM: All students - THESIS and NON-THESIS students will take a written comprehensive exam in the semester they intend to graduate (per RCPL scheduled calendar for exam each semester).  This exam is given to insure basic knowledge, skills, and values have been obtained by each graduating student.

ORAL COMPREHENSIVE EXAM: NON-THESIS Students after completing the written exam successfully and submitting their Learning Portfolio will have a scheduled Oral Defense (Oral Exam).  A committee of faculty will ask the student key planning questions as well as discuss their portfolio as a final assessment prior to graduating.  The days when the defenses are scheduled is on the RCPL calendar.

LEARNING PORTFOLIO:  NON-THESIS Students will prepare and submit 5 copies of their Learning Portfolio per RCPL calendar. These will be reviewed by the faculty committee and discussed at the Oral Defense. Examples of past portfolios are located in Rm 345 Duncan Studio.



The University Catalog provides detailed descriptions of all RCPL courses.

Please click here to visit the University Catalog.