Masters in Urban Planning

“The education I received as an SJSU MUP student prepared me to enter the world of planning and land use development. The principles, experiences, and relationships developed during my time at SJSU have transferred globally and helped me grow as a professional and a citizen.”

— Rick Gosalvez      
   Department Alum 


Urban planning began at SJSU in 1970 and SJSU offers the only accredited Master in Urban Planning degree in Silicon Valley. Urban planners balance visionary thinking with pragmatic problem solving - working in partnership with multiple stakeholders to address challenges related to growth and change. Urban planners work within the frameworks of formal and informal institutions to solve problems related to affordable housing, climate change, economic development, environmental protection, public health, and transportation. The program has a long history of working in partnership with local communities to address their planning needs.

Located in downtown San José, the largest city in Northern California and the urban core of Silicon Valley, the department takes advantage of its location in a rapidly changing and socially complex region by collaborating with local planning agencies and community-based organizations. Faculty and students engage in public service projects designed to assist local communities in addressing topical planning issues, while also providing students with real-world professional experience. The program has a strong network of alumni who work in the region in city, county, and state government agencies, private sector firms, and nonprofit organizations. We have a strong track record of placing graduates in both public and private sector employment in the Bay Area and beyond.

 As a graduate program, Urban Planning attracts a diverse student body, including many non-traditional students who come to the program with a wealth of knowledge and experience. A special mission of the program is to promote planning education opportunities for a diverse student population, including working students who prefer to attend the program on a part-time basis. We are among a small number of fully-acredited MUP programs with a complete part-time option for our graduate students.

If you are interested in applying for a Masters in Urban Planning, please contact the Graduate Advisor.

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PAB Accreditation

SJSU's Masters of Urban Planning program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board and has consistently received high praise in their reviews. The Public Information Page provides details on our student assessment processes, tuition and fees, and other performance data required by the PAB. Much of this information can also be found in the program requirements described below and in our Strategic Plan [pdf]

Urban Planning Focus Areas

Our program is designed to prepare skilled professionals grounded in the theories, methods, and techniques of planning in local and state government as well as the private and not-for-profit sectors. MUP students may choose to select courses based on six topical focus areas to gain added expertise in different planning subfields. Each focus area corresponds to one of the six advanced certificates that MUP students may choose to earn on top of their masters degree:

Detailed information on each of these focus areas can be found in the Course Information and Student Resources section of this site.   

MUP Program Requirements:

The program leading to the degree of Master of Urban Planning (MUP) consists of 48 semester units of coursework, normally requiring the equivalent of two years full-time graduate study to complete.  In addition, students without prior planning experience complete a professional work experience requirement.

Core Seminars and Laboratory/Fieldwork Courses

Students take a series of eight required courses (26 units total) that, collectively, provide a comprehensive background in the theories, methods, and practices underpinning contemporary planning practice.

Course descriptions and syllabi can be found on the Course Information and Student Resources page.

Planning Report (Thesis)

While working on their capstone Planning Report, MUP students enroll in URBP 298A (3 units) and 298B (3 units) during the last two semesters of study.  In these classes, students prepare this major research report (our version of a master's thesis), which represents an independent contribution to the field of planning.


MUP students complete a minimum of 16 units of elective courses (typically four, 4-unit courses). Students are encouraged to take at least three from within a single focus area (see above). Electives (upper-division undergraduate or graduate courses) from outside the Urban and Regional Planning Department may be taken, but must first be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Professional Work Experience 

To graduate, students must have at least 180 hours of professional work experience in urban and regional planning or a closely related field.  Students fulfill the requirement with an internship or professional employment during their time in the program.  (If the student has completed such work on a paid or voluntary basis within five years of entering the program, then additional professional experience is recommended, but not required.  Paperwork confirming the experience must be submitted to the department.)

When students have completed their work experience, they should download the Internship Completion/Professional Work Experience Form [pdf] and ask their supervisor to complete it.  The completed forms should be sent to the Administrative Coordinator of the department.

Visit our career resources page to learn more about finding internships and information about joining our SJSU_UrbanPlanConnect-group (formerly SJSU_MURPs) that distributes information about planning jobs and internships.