Why Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP)? Why UCI?

Professor Jae Hong Kim, Program Director, on the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program:

Urban and Regional Planning is a dynamic, cutting edge field that attracts diverse individuals and draws upon and integrates knowledge from geography, economics, design, sociology, environmental studies, political science, urban studies, and other fields. Planners use a range of skills from critical thinking to spatial analysis to environmental sustainability assessment to understand and improve our world.

The UC Irvine Master of Urban and Regional Planning program prepares students to play a significant role in creating a desirable future by confronting the complex physical and social challenges in our cities and regions. It is a professional program that is a gateway to opportunities in planning and planning-related practice including work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Planners hold positions in all aspects of planning and development such as environmental sustainability, economic development, housing production and policy, land use and transportation planning, international development planning, and community organizing and development.

If you are curious, thoughtful, socially responsible and concerned with the present and the future, then you are a great candidate for a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree, and UCI's program offers many advantages:

  • Location and Institution: Orange County is a vibrant and exciting place to study planning and engage in professional practice. Our students study a broad spectrum of human settlements (including large cities and suburban areas within and beyond the county), and contribute to developing strategies for making our communities more equitable, sustainable, and empowered. According to the latest edition of the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Orange County (Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division) is listed as the top paying metropolitan area in the nation for for Urban and Regional Planners.

And UCI is a great place to live and study. One of UCI's institutional missions, "empowering students from all backgrounds to equip themselves with knowledge and reach their highest potential" has been recognized in a number of recent analyses of upward mobility among graduates. UCI's commitment to diversity is supported by its official designations as serving Hispanic, Asian, and Native American Pacific Islander students.  UCI is also among Sierra magazine’s top ten “Coolest Schools”, a ranking that recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that help find solutions to climate change issues, make significant efforts to operate sustainably, and help prepare the next generation of leaders in this arena. Irvine is ranked as the nation’s safest large city and has an extensive network of hiking, jogging and biking trails. UCI's campus is ideally located five miles from the Pacific Ocean, between Los Angeles, 40 miles north, and San Diego, 90 miles south.

  • Academic Foundation and Connection: UCI MURP program coursework provides a balance of critical thinking and skills development, empowering students to understand and address complex urban challenges. Our smaller class sizes ensure close interaction and collaboration with faculty members and other students, who draw from diverse communities and experiences, but are united by a shared vision and commitment to improve urban conditions at local, regional, national, and global levels. Students may also take advantage of the department's study abroad and concurrent degree options. 

  • Professional Engagement: Orange County’s professional planning community is vast, and those in the field have a strong commitment to support the growth of the next generation of planners, offering a wealth of opportunities for UCI MURP students, including mentorship and alumni networking, site visits, job shadowing, internships, career fair, and involvement with planning-related professional organizations. Take a look our Engage MURP blog for capsules of the various forms of UCI MURP professional engagement and development.

  • Accreditation: UCI is the only fully accredited master's degree program in the Orange County and San Diego regions. Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) reviewers note an exemplary record of curriculum, teaching, and services, and have granted the longest possible accreditation term for the UCI MURP program. The PAB website has many resources for those considering education and careers in planning, and their "Why is Accreditation Important?"  page for students includes a helpful explanation of the process and its value.

Student Perspectives