Course Information and Student Resources

On this page, you will find information about our course offerings, including links to the current schedule of classes and syllabi from the most recent academic year, as well as detailed guidance for current students about pathways through the graduate programs. This page also contains links to information about Career Resources.

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Courses and Program Requirements

For the most up-to-date course schedule and official information on all courses and program requirements, please see the current Class Schedules and University Catalog. You can also jump directly to Catalog pages for the Masters in Geography, the Masters in Urban Planning, or the Certificate Programs


The department maintains an archive of course syllabi / greensheets for all courses offered in the last 10 years. Please visit the Course Syllabus page to download syllabi for the most recent semesters.

Pathways through the Geography MA

The program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Geography consists of 30 semester units of coursework. Students will complete a course of study designed to prepare them for professional work in geography or a related field. In addition, the University requires that all graduate students complete the graduation writing assessment requirement (GWAR) as a condition for advancement to candidacy. 

In consultation with the geography advisor, the candidate will develop and pursue a program of study outlined in Plan A or Plan B below. The candidate must successfully complete all requirements of the selected plan including the course work specified in the Master's Degree Approved Program.

Plan A (with Thesis)

  1. A minimum of eighteen units in geography.
  2. The thesis, based on independent research, is to be conducted under the direction of a thesis advisor and must be acceptable to and approved by the Thesis Committee. The Committee consists of the thesis advisor (committee chair), an additional member from the university faculty, and an additional member who may be from outside the university. The thesis topic shall be developed within the departmental foci in consultation with the thesis advisor. The thesis must conform to the university standards of style and form.
  3. Final Examination: The thesis must be successfully defended orally before the thesis committee.

Plan B (without Thesis)

  1. A minimum of twenty-one units in geography, with at least 50% of the units in graduate level courses.
  2. Project: The student shall present the results of a project in one of the areas of departmental focus. Appropriate projects include research completed for a geography graduate seminar or an independent study conducted under supervision of a faculty advisor. The results will be reported in a written paper and other materials submitted to the department, and will be presented formally to a geography faculty and student colloquium for acceptance.

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor. The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master’s degree is 15. Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU Cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.

If you are interested in applying for a Master of Arts in Geography, please contact the Geography Graduate Advisor.

Pathways through the Masters of Urban Planning Program

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. Note that the program is guided by SJSU requirements for graduate study as well as the educational knowledge, skills, and values proscribed by the national Planning Accreditation Board.

Core Seminars and Laboratory/Fieldwork Courses

Students take a series of eight required courses (25 units total) that, collectively, provide a comprehensive background in the theories, methods, and practices underpinning contemporary planning practice.


MUP students complete a minimum of 17 units of elective courses. Students are encouraged to take at least three from within a single focus area (see above). Electives (upper-division,100-level undergraduate, or 200-level graduate courses) from outside the Urban and Regional Planning Department may be taken, but must first be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

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. The department maintains an archive of model Planning Reports for student reference.

Critical Paths Through the MUP Program

The following is a set of suggested scenarios for completing the program as either a full-time or part-time student, entering in Fall or Spring semester, to help MUP students plan their time in the program. Detailed information about our courses and the current schedule of classes can be found on the University Catalog.)

Two-Year Program, Entering Fall

Three-Year Program, Entering Fall

Four-Year Program, Entering Fall

Two-Year Program, Entering Spring

Three-Year Program, Entering Spring

Four-Year Program, Entering Spring

Professional Work Experience Requirement

To graduate, MUP 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 Graduate Advisor of the department.

Visit our careers page to learn more about finding internships and information about joining our SJSU_UrbanPlanConnect-group distributes information about planning jobs and internships.

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