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Master of City + Metropolitan Planning (Requirements)

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, private consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations. Click here for the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) Criterion 1D/Public Information.

Core curriculum

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 can develop and implement plans and policies guided by the core values of sustainability, resiliency, and equity. The MCMP core focuses on 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.

*For students who have taken an introductory GIS already, the following are pre-approved substitutions:
CMP6400 - Urban Design Visualization (3)
CMP6415 – Urban Design Fundamentals (3)
CMP6453 - Intermediate GIS Applications (3)
CMP6455 - Spatial Data Analytics (3)

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


Professional Project

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

Fall – Meet CMP faculty, explore career options, decide on a specialization, and learn about past professional projects.

Spring – Attend the professional project information sessions with MCMP Program Coordinator, learn about projects at the end of the year celebration and 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 professional project advisor on a professional project.

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.


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. Specializing is optional. To complete a specialization, a student must complete at least 12 credits (typically 4 courses). Students who specialize, may not do more than two specializations.

MCMP Specializations:
- Ecological Planning
- Economic and Real Estate Development
- Housing & Community Development
- Small & Resort Town Planning
- Smart Growth: Land Use, Transportation & Accessibility
- Urban Design

For more information, read the specialization descriptions, including career options, key faculty, and course options. 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 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. Dual degrees and certificates appear on official university transcripts.

Rules and Regulations

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.

Incomplete 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.



CMP Main Office
(801) 581-8255
Academic Program Manager
Alex Francis-Riggan