Master of Professional Studies in Urban & Regional Planning

Mission and Learning Goals

Mission Statement

Georgetown University’s graduate degree in urban and regional planning provides professional education for the next generation of visionary leaders who integrate urban design with community development to create livable, meaningful and sustainable neighborhoods, cities and regions. Housed in the state-of-the-art Georgetown Downtown campus in Washington, D.C., the program leverages the communities, places and professionals of the National Capital Region to serve as our urban laboratory for exploring the process of urbanization as a global phenomenon.

Program Overview

As part of Georgetown University’s rich tradition of educational excellence, placing a priority on knowledge as a driver of positive change for people and society, the Master of Professional Studies in Urban and Regional Planning program is structured to develop visionary urban planning professionals who understand the importance of working within the context of “whole communities.”

The program sets out to advance the professional urban planning community, allowing students to earn degrees while working or completing career-enhancing internships. With a growing urban population throughout the world and Georgetown University’s international reputation within Washington, D.C., the program tackles urban issues that often transcend local and state boundaries, requiring wider-reaching regional approaches.

Students in the program will:

  • Learn how to influence built environments and serve as valuable change agents in communities of all sizes
  • Gain exposure to emerging tools and world leaders in urban and environmental planning
  • Connect with real-world urban planning laboratories in the Washington metropolitan area, a model of progressive urban planning for sustainable and inclusive city centers
  • Master the art of critical thinking and collaboration to accommodate diverse populations and preserve a region’s natural resources

Six core courses (18 credits) provide essential knowledge for the practicing urban planner. Core courses introduce students to the foundations of urban and regional planning, including planning research, processes, regulations, laws, ethics, history, models and theory. Throughout the core, strong communication skills are emphasized as essential to urban planners who must work with a range of public entities and decision-makers.

In addition to core courses, students will work closely with professors and program advisors to structure electives, concentrations, internships, City Lab experiences and Capstone projects that help meet the learning goals, career objectives and specialty interests of students. In total, the program requires students to complete 42 credits to graduate.

Learning Goals (updated, 2014-2015)

Candidates who complete the Master of Professional Studies in Urban and Regional Planning program will be able to:

  • Understand the research methods and professional practices associated with preparing comprehensive plans for neighborhood, urban and regional communities;
  • Understand the interdisciplinary forces which shape the built environment, including a place-based understanding of economic, social and ecological attributes of a community;
  • Understand how to establish multi-generational community sustainability goals which align with state, federal and international policies;
  • Analyze and formulate local and regional community development strategies that are inclusive of all socio-economic stakeholders of a community;
  • Understand the legal frameworks of local land use regulations, including municipal zoning and growth management regulations;
  • Understand how public planning initiatives are implemented through public finance mechanisms, public-private partnerships and market-driven investments;
  • Understand the strategic role of public realm and infrastructure planning, including transportation, energy and natural resource systems;
  • Acquire the communications, mediation and deliberation skills which are core elements of professional practice of urban planning;
  • Gain the critical thinking skills necessary to reflect on the ethics of the professional practice of urban planning.


“One way to ensure that we have the possibility to encounter diversity and particularity in the urban environment is to guarantee that people have some kind of possibilities for aesthetic and creative activities in the urban environment – and not only aesthetic experiences but also creative activities produce aesthetic welfare.”

-Hanna Mattila
Department of Architecture/Urban and Regional Planning
Helsinki University of Technology
“Aesthetic justice and urban planning:
Who ought to have the right to design cities?”
GeoJournal, 2002

“Reflecting that these cities will look very different in the future from what they were in the past, regeneration efforts need to focus on three complementary goals: strengthening core areas by building on key physical, economic and institutional assets; preserving viable residential neighborhoods and housing; and identifying long-term non-traditional and green uses for vacant lands and buildings.”

-Allan Mallach
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Metropolitan Policy Program
The Brookings Institution
Facing the Urban Challenge
March 2010

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SCS Meet & Greet Luncheon (2/18)

February 18, 2016 Georgetown SCS 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM Details

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