The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Master of City & Metropolitan Planning

Students at the U become impactful urban planners and designers while also contributing to forge a forward thinking and dynamic Utah. The Master of City and Metropolitan Planning (MCMP) is an accredited professional degree that prepares students to achieve excellence in guiding the growth and development of towns, cities, and regions. The core courses emphasize ecological resiliency, smart growth, and social justice through effective communication, collaboration, and innovation. The program blends core knowledge and skills with specializations to prepare students for professional leadership roles in public sector agencies at local, regional, state, and federal levels as well as private consulting firms, and non-profit organizations. Interdisciplinary work, drawing from fields outside of planning, is encouraged. The curriculum additionally features a community-based planning workshop and a capstone professional project.

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Core Curriculum

MCMP prepares students to achieve excellence and assume leadership roles in guiding the growth and development of cities and regions locally and globally. Upon graduating, students have the ability to develop and implement plans and policies guided by the core values of sustainability, resiliency, and equity. The MCMP core focuses on a number of key competencies, including technical literacy; ethical inquiry; inclusive community engagement, ecological thinking, and physical planning and design. These professional competencies cut across CMP core and elective courses. The curriculum features a community-based planning workshop and a capstone professional project. Students must complete a minimum of 48 credits.

Required Core Courses (24)

CMP6010 – Community & Regional Analysis (3)

CMP6100 – Urban & Planning Theory (3)

CMP6260 – Land Use Law (3)

CMP6322 – City & Metropolitan Economics (3)

CMP6430 – Community Engagement in Planning (3)

CMP6450 – Geographic Information Systems in Planning (3)

CMP6610 – Urban Ecology (3)

CMP6160 – Plan Making (3)

Capstone Courses (6)

CMP6970 – Professional Project I (3)

CMP6971 – Professional Project II (3)

Elective Courses (18)

  • Students are encouraged to select elective courses within specific planning subfields, in consultation with their faculty advisor.
  • At least 1 (one) of the electives must be a CMP studio or workshop course.


Professional Project (Capstone)

The professional project is an opportunity for students to apply planning and analytic skills to a practical planning issue. Each professional project will be supervised by a project advisor (a full-time CMP faculty member).  

Project Process:

Year 1

  • Spring – attend the Professional Project information sessions with MCMP Program Coordinator, learn about projects at the MCMP Poster Event, and begin working on professional project proposal.

Year 2

  • Fall – enroll in CMP6970 (A completed professional project proposal is required for enrollment). Students work closely with a faculty advisor on a professional project focused on a topic relevant to the student’s career goals. Often the project is conducted for an external client.
  • Spring – Enroll in CMP6971. Students continue to work closely with a faculty advisor and client. The final deliverable may be a report, a plan, drawings, models or other professional quality work. At the end of the spring semester, students turn in final report, create a poster and present a lightning talk at a final celebratory event.

The purpose of the MCMP specializations is to help students select a set of electives that ensure a depth of expertise in one or more planning subfields. CMP specializations are guides, not requirements. We encourage students to specialize but students may select elective courses more broadly and become a “generalist.” We offer many opportunities for students to further develop their expertise through the university research centers, special initiatives, and community engagement. 

Students satisfying all the requirements of a specialization will receive a certificate attesting to that completion within three months of graduation. Before graduating, students submit a specialization completion form for departmental records. Students may then include that specialization on their resume, however, the specialization will not appear on official university transcripts.  

If students want to take the specialization further, they may enroll in one of our dual degree programs or elect to pursue a certificate program inside or outside of the department. Both of these appear on official university transcripts.

Ecological Planning

This specialization emphasizes the knowledge, practice, and processes involved in weaving together social, built and natural systems to create functional, beautiful human habitats and thriving, resilient communities.  Ecological planning takes an interdisciplinary approach, recognizing the roles of the built environment professions, natural sciences, social sciences in understanding and working within human communities as complex social-ecological systems. Students learn how to draw upon diverse areas of expertise to plan and design with nature.

Housing & Community Development

This specialization focuses on building thriving communities and neighborhood by enhancing social, economic, and environmental conditions through capacity building, collaborative planning, community organizing, asset-based development, and advocacy.  Faculty and students work in underserved urban and rural areas with a particular focus on Salt Lake City’s diverse westside, as well as the rapidly growing gateway and natural amenity resource areas in the western United States. In these contexts, we explore the relationships between such things as the local and the global; theory and practice; experiential and technical knowledge; equity and equality. Students learn how to effect change by building bridges and finding common ground in complex systems.

Historic Preservation

This specialization encompasses architecture, planning, historical research, and public administration. Trends in sustainability and stewardship of the built environment are expected to expand and require practitioners who are familiar with the opportunities and synergies that historic preservation can create. Opportunities in historic preservation continue to grow as the inter-relationship between property owners, architects, engineers, construction professionals, planners, public administrators, historians, and the public become more complex. A graduate certificate is also available.

Real Estate Development

This specialization equips students with advanced skills in real estate development. It’s estimated that by 2040, the Mountain West will double in population to more than 30 million people with nearly 20 million jobs. Due to the robust real estate climate, there is a significant need for developers. Most of the existing built environment will be rebuilt. Several trillion dollars will be spent on development in the region over the next generation. Real estate professionals will play a leading role in the development and redevelopment of the region. Students learn market research, information tools for real estate research, net present value analysis, and urban development methods and policies. A graduate certificate is also available.

Small Town & Resort Town Planning

This specialization works in conjunction with any of the other specializations with the focus on the unique planning issues faced by small towns and rural places near natural amenities (such as national parks) and resorts. Those interested in this specialization focus on the challenges of managing and planning with limited resources and capacity. Some of the issues include community and economic development, community engagement, historic preservation, land conservation, transportation, and interfacing with large and small farming enterprises.

Smart Growth: Land Use, Transportation & Accessibility

This specialization focuses on how planning practices can preserve public goods such as air, water, and land; secure positive land-use interactions and avoid adverse ones; effectively enhance economic/fiscal benefits; create desirable and resilient places; apportion benefits and burdens equitably; and remove barriers experienced by many environmental justice populations. Accessibility looks to how transportation or transportation substitutes like the information technologies enrich people’s lives by giving them opportunities for employment, education, health care, etc. Market preferences today are much more diversified, with marked shifts towards communities that are interwoven with pedestrian-oriented features and easily accessible to jobs, services, and amenities. Students learn how these trends impact professional planning practice and develop the skills to craft effective Smart Growth policy responses.  

Urban Design

This specialization is for students interested in shaping the places we live, both how they will look and how they will function. Urban design involves a complex inter-relationship between municipalities, real estate developers, property owners, planners, architects, the construction industry, public administrators, and the general public. Students learn to engage in this process effectively to produce vital and vibrant places. A graduate certificate is also available.

Other ways to specialize

The University of Utah offers a number of graduate certificate programs outside of the College of Architecture & Planning. Students might consider Demography, Emergency Management, Geographic Information Science (GIS), Leadership, Justice & Community Practice, Public Health, and Sustainability.

Dual Degrees

A student enrolled in a dual degree program will be able to earn two degrees in less time and with fewer overall credit requirements than if that student enrolled in each degree program independently. Completing a dual degree provides students with a competitive advantage in the job market.

Real Estate Development and City & Metropolitan Planning

The Department of City & Metropolitan Planning, together with the David Eccles School of Business and the Department of Finance, offers a dual degree program that enables students to earn a Master of City & Metropolitan Planning (MCMP) degree and a Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) degree, simultaneously. The MCMP/MRED program is designed for those students seeking to combine the planning and real estate development professions.

Juris Doctor and City & Metropolitan Planning

The Department of City & Metropolitan Planning, together with the S.J. Quinney College of Law, offers a dual degree program that enables students to earn a Master of City & Metropolitan Planning (MCMP) degree and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, simultaneously. The subject of city and metropolitan planning in the United States can hardly be broached without directly incorporating some aspect of the American legal system. Similarly, a significant element of modern state and local government law involves topics and processes that are central to planning practices.

Public Policy and City & Metropolitan Planning

Coming soon!

Public Administration and City & Metropolitan Planning

Coming soon!

Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) Criterion 1F / Public Information

The Master of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah is accredited by the National Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) which requires the posting of the following information.

Student Achievement

The MCMP core focuses on a number of key competencies, including technical literacy; ethical inquiry; inclusive community engagement, ecological thinking, and physical planning and design. Students further develop these professional competencies in elective courses and a community-based planning workshop. The professional project is an opportunity for students to apply all of these planning and analytical skills to a practical planning issue in a real-world context.

A committee of professors and planning practitioners score the final presentation for each professional project. The scores below represent the average score for the students who completed the professional project in spring of 2017:

Overall: 4.4

Core Values: 4.1  

Verbal: 4.2   

Graphic/Visualization: 4.1

Collaboration: 4.0   

Leadership: 4.2  

Innovation: 4.1

Scoring Key: 5 = Excellent (A); 4 = Above Average (A-); 3 = Good/Average (B+); 2 = Fair (B); 1 = Poor (B- and below).

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees

In State Residents, per full-time academic year              $14,748.32*

Out of State Residents, per full-time academic year       $35,087.40*

*9 credit hours or more is considered full-time. The sum listed here is calculated for 12 credit hours (fall and spring semesters 2018-2019 Academic Year), including tuition and mandatory fees. For detailed calculations, visit:

Student Retention Rate

Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2017 and continued into fall 2018        100%

Student Graduation Rate

Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2014                            92%

Number of Degrees Awarded

Number of degrees awarded for the 2017 – 2018 Academic Year                                            13

AICP Certification

Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2013    100%


Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2017  70%

*5% pursued additional education, and 25% unknown