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 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.

Contact Us

MCMP Program Coordinator:
Dr. Stacy Harwood

CMP Main Office:
ARCH 220

MCMP prepares students to achieve excellence and assumes 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.

Use the MCMP Course Map and Competition Plan Worksheet when you meet with your academic advisor.


The professional project is an opportunity for students to apply planning and analytical skills to a practical planning issue. Each professional project will be supervised by a project advisor (a full-time CMP faculty member). The focus is on a topic relevant to the student’s career goals. Often the project is conducted for an external client. 

Project Process:

Year 1

  • Spring – Attend the professional project information sessions (before spring break), attend the project pitch meetings (after spring break), and attend the end of the year celebration at the end of April to see what the 2nd year students have completed.
  • Summer – begin working on the professional project proposal.

Year 2

  • Fall – Enroll in CMP6970 (A completed professional project proposal is required for enrollment) and work closely with a faculty advisor on a professional project. Submit the proposal to the MCMP Program Coordinator to receive the permission code. 
  • Spring – Enroll in CMP6971 and 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. In addition to the final product, each student creates a poster and presents a lightning talk at the end of the year celebration. 

A student enrolled in a MCMP 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.

Juris Doctor and City & Metropolitan Planning

Public Administration and City & Metropolitan Planning

Public Policy and City & Metropolitan Planning

Real Estate Development and City & Metropolitan Planning

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, and 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. Click here to read more about the specialization.

Economic & Real Estate Development

This specialization equips students with advanced skills in economic analysis with an emphasis on the public sector.  Students learn what drives economic growth and change and how to formulate strategies that benefit the larger community. Due to the robust real estate climate in Utah, there is a significant need for planners to be able to work with developers to create public-private partnerships. Click here to read more about the specialization. For those interested in the private sector, a graduate certificate in Real Estate Development is also available.

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 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. Click here to read more about the specialization.

Small & 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. Click here to read more about the specialization.

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 at 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. Click here to read more about the specialization.

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. Click here to read more about the specialization. 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.

Excerpts from the Graduate School Rules & Regulations

Transfer Credit 
A student may petition to transfer up to six semester credit hours of graduate course work from an accredited college or university provided that: 1) The course work was not used to satisfy requirement for a baccalaureate degree or another master’s degree, 2) The course grade was at least a “B” (or equivalent), 3) The course work is not more than four years old when the transfer is approved, and 4) The student fulfills the residency requirements of the University of Utah. Students seeking transfer credit will need to demonstrate the appropriateness of the proposed transfer credits to the program. At a minimum, this will require providing copies of course syllabi, catalog descriptions, and grade transcripts. In some cases, copies of course work products may also be required. Students should discuss their specific circumstances with their academic advisor.

Non-Matriculated Credit
Non-matriculated graduate credits are those graduate credits that students might accumulate prior to being formally admitted (matriculated) into a graduate degree program. According to Graduate School regulations, up to nine non-matriculated graduate credit hours, taken no more than three years prior to approval, may be counted toward meeting the degree requirements. Students should discuss their specific circumstances with their academic advisor.

Course Substitutions 
Occasionally, students have completed course work in other graduate degree programs that closely resembles the content of a core course. In such circumstances, students may petition to substitute a core requirement with some other graduate-level course. Students seeking to make such substitutions should consult with the Program Coordinator.

Time Limit
Program time extensions must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Minimum Registration, Continuous Registration, and Leave of Absence
All graduate students at the University of Utah must maintain minimum registration of at least 3 credit hours of graduate level course work from the time of formal admission through completion of all requirements for the degree they are seeking unless granted on official leave of absence (see below). Students not on campus and not using University facilities during summer are not expected to register for summer term. Students receiving scholarship or assistantship aid must maintain a schedule of at least nine credit hours per term to be eligible for Graduate Student Tuition Benefits.

Students unable to maintain continuous registration as outlined above must file a Leave of Absence form for the semester(s) during which they will not be enrolled. Leave of Absence forms are available from the Graduate School’s website, and must be submitted prior to the beginning of the semester of leave. The Program Coordinator and the CMP Department Chair must approve each request. After signatures have been obtained, the CMP office will forward the request to the Graduate School. At the end of the leave of absence, the student must register for at least three credit hours in the CMP program, or make another request for a leave of absence. Students who do not meet the minimum registration requirements and who fail to obtain an approved leave of absence are discontinued as students of the University of Utah and can return only upon reapplication of admission and approved by the CMP department.

Students must achieve a minimum letter grade of B– to count a course toward the degree requirements. Courses with lower grades or with a credit/no-credit grading option will not be counted.

Minimum Grade Point Regulations
Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students whose GPA’s fall below a 3.0 or who accumulate more than 3 incompletes will be placed on probation. Probation may carry specific requirements that the student must meet in order for probation to be removed. Students on probation for two consecutive terms will be asked to withdraw from the program. Students may retake courses in an attempt to raise their grades. At the point of entry of the first grade, a student’s transcript will note that the course has been repeated. The new grade is shown in the semester in which the course is retaken. The student’s GPA is recalculated to eliminate the effect of the first grade and to recognize only the new grade.

Incompletes and Work-In Progress Grades
Occasionally, a student needs to discontinue work in a particular course before the semester is finished. An “I” (incomplete) can be given in such cases and needs to be cleared within one calendar year or the “I” will be converted to an “E” (failure) automatically. If the course is successfully completed the “I” will remain on a student’s transcript and a letter grade will be inserted next to the “I”. Sometimes a “T” grade is used instead of an “I” courses where students are engaged in independent research extending beyond the semester. Students can check the status of their grades by visiting the Campus Information System.

Maximum Hours
Graduate students are not permitted to register for more than 16 credit hours in any single semester.

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 (professors and planning practitioners) assesses the final presentation for each professional project. The scores below represent the average score for the students who completed professional projects in the spring of 2021:
Core Values: 4.19
Verbal: 4.62 
Graphic/Visualization: 4.05
Collaboration: 4.24   
Leadership: 4.41
Innovation: 4.35
Impact: 4.14

Average of all scores: 4.29

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

2021-2022 Tuition and Fees

In State Residents, per full-time academic year = $16,742.80*
Out of State Residents, per full-time academic year = $37,726.10*

*The sum listed here is calculated for 12 credit hours (fall and spring semesters AY 2021-2022), including tuition, mandatory fees, and differential tuition. For detailed calculations, visit:

Student Retention Rate

Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2020 and continued into fall 2021 = 95%

Student Graduation Rate

Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2017 = 100%

Number of Degrees Awarded

Number of degrees awarded for the 2020 – 2021 Academic Year = 15

AICP Certification

Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2016 = 100%


Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2020= 83%