The MURP program curriculum provides a balance of critical thinking and skills development, empowering students to address complex urban challenges, in diverse areas such as environmental planning, housing and community development, land use planning, transportation, and international development planning. 

Students develop a course plan that fits their professional aspirations and meets program requirements in consultation with faculty and the graduate coordinator. No area of concentration is required, and many students use this opportunity to learn about various areas of planning and to develop as generalists, while others prefer to take courses with a tight focus in a particular area. Beyond the small set of foundational core courses, students may fulfill degree requirements with electives offered by the department, as well as with planning-relevant courses from other units on campus, such as law, business, engineering, and environmental sciences. 

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 72 course units, typically taking three courses (four units each) per quarter over two years, including:

  • Five required core courses covering fundamentals of planning history, theories, and analysis methods.
  • Three additional required courses, one in each of three primary planning topic areas: law, methods, and urban settlements.
  • Eight elective courses relevant to the student's desired area of expertise, such as housing, land use, transportation, economic development, and environmental planning. 
  • Two courses in conjunction with the Capstone Exit Requirement, in which students gain hands-on problem solving and/or research experiences, completed in the second year of study. 

MURP Course Plan Worksheet

Sample Non-UPPP Elective Options

Complete degree requirement details and course descriptions are available from the online UCI General Catalogue.*

*Note: The department of Urban Planning and Public Policy changed its name in summer 2017. In the Schedule of Classes, courses for Fall 2018 and beyond, courses are listed under Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP). Courses for prior terms were listed under "Planning, Policy, and Design" (PP&D).

To find out when certain courses will be offered, view the Urban Planning and Public Policy department's academic year course plans.

2020-2021 Academic Year Departmental Course Plan

2022-2023 Academic Year Departmental Course Plan

Need some additional guidance about your MURP program plan? Contact MURP Assistant Director, Jorge Padilla (

More Curricular Options

Study Abroad  

The Department of Urban Planning and Public Policy offers opportunities to add an international educational component to your graduate studies. The most popular option is participation in the Network for European and U.S. Regional Urban Studies (NEURUS) student exchange program. This is a great opportunity whether you are interested in international issues or want to compare U.S. practices and experiences with the reforms and adjustments taking place in a metropolitan area in the European Union.

Learn more about Study Abroad

Educational Quality

The MURP program is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), which provides students “assurance that the program is engaged in continuous review and improvement of its quality, that it meets nationally endorsed standards for the profession, and that it is accountable for achieving what it sets out to do.” The PAB website has many resources for those considering education and careers in planning, and their "Why is Accreditation Important?" includes a helpful explanation of the process and its value.

Our department is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), a consortium of university departments, programs, and individuals promoting planning education, research, and outreach.

Resources and Information for Current Graduate Students

Our graduate students should become familiar with the Social Ecology Graduate Student Handbook for the year you were admitted, as it contains information about policies, procedures and requirements for degree completion.

The School of Social Ecology's Graduate Services website includes a list of campus resources, and information about academic services. The Social Ecology Graduate Student Association is involved with advocating for and planning community-building events for our school's students. The Director of Graduate Student Services also posts events, updates, and funding opportunities related to graduate students in the School of Social Ecology on the News, Updates & Reminders page. Bookmark the page to stay in the loop. 

Visit UCI's Graduate Division website, and their Admitted Students and Services information pages, with helpful checklists and other information for graduate students.

UCI's Graduate Resource Center offers workshops and programs designed to support professional development, writing support, communication, preparation of grant and fellowship funding applications, wellness and work-life balance, mentoring and more. Thanks to Daniel Herman, MURP '18, for providing a list of student writing resources and links that he and MURP peers have found useful!

International Students

In addition to the resources notes above, UCI's Graduate Division offers the Graduate Interconnect Program to support the successful transition of international graduate students and scholars. 

Photo: Patricia DeVoe, UCI School of Social Ecology