The Master of City Planning degree requires completion of 19 course units, including course requirements from the core curriculum and one of six concentration areas. In addition, all students must complete a non-credit planning internship between the first and second years of study.
Entering MCP students are required to have previously taken a course in descriptive and inferential statistics, and to have a working knowledge of spreadsheet analysis and digital graphics programs. Students who lack knowledge in these areas or just want to brush-up are encouraged to attend PennPlanning's two-week "bootcamp" program just prior to the start of the fall semester.
The MCP Core Curriculum
The eight-course MCP core curriculum encompasses the basic skills and knowledge required of all planners regardless of their specialization, and is a hallmark of PennPlanning's cutting-edge and practical approach to educating city planners. Students who complete the core will understand the legal and historical basis of city planning; they will know how to use a wide variety of population and economic data to understand local communities; and they will understand the form and arrangement of cities and metropolitan areas around the world. Most important, they will understand which planning approaches work best in which contexts and circumstances.
The core includes two hands-on opportunities for students to engage real planning problems in real communities for real clients. The first of these, CPLN 600 Workshop (Spring), offered to first-year students and is organized around producing a community plan for a Philadelphia-area city, town, or neighborhood. CPLN 700 Planning Studio (Fall), offered to second-year students, centers on a more advanced and specific planning challenge. It gives students the opportunity to scope out a planning problem for themselves, design the appropriate planning process, and then, pursue that process to its conclusion. Studio topics vary year to year, but at least one studio usually has an international or comparative focus.
Required Core Courses*
Year 1 Fall
- CPLN 500 Introduction to City Planning: Past, Present, and Future
- CPLN 501 Quantitative Planning Analysis Methods
- CPLN 510 Urban and Planning Theory
Year 1 Spring
- CPLN 600 Workshop
Year 2 Fall
-CPLN 700 Planning Studio
Year 2 Spring
- CPLN 502 Urban and Regional Economics*
-CPLN 509 Law and Urban Development
Students can choose to take the following core requirements whenever they best fit their schedule:
Spatial Analysis Requirement
- CPLN 503 Modeling Geographic Objects (Fall) or an equivalent GIS course
Breadth Methods Requirement
- CPLN 504 Site Planning (Fall and Spring)**
- CPLN 505 Planning by Numbers (Spring)***
- CPLN 506 Negotiation and Civic Engagement (Spring)
*Students in the Land Use-Environmental Planning concentration or the Public Private Development concentration MUST TAKE BOTH CPLN 502 and CPLN 509 due to concentration requirements,
**Students in the Land Use-Enviornnental Planning concentration or the Public Private Development concentration choosing to use CPLN 504 as their Breadth Methods course must choose another elective to complete their concentration requirement.
**Students in the Urban Design concentration can NOT take CPLN 504 as their Breadth Methods course.
***Students in the Sustainable Infrastructure and Transportation Planning concentration can NOT take CPLN 505 as their Breadth Methods course.
The Internship Requirement
Because a planning education extends beyond the classroom, all MCP students are required to complete a planning internship, usually between their first and second years. Internships may be paid or unpaid, but they must involve full-time work. Internships can be completed at any government agency or commission, private consulting firm, or non-profit or advocacy organization involved in planning practice, policy, or research.
Students may intern at a Philadelphia-based organization, such as the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Diamond and Associates or Interface Studios.
Internships outside the Philadelphia region have included Nikken Sekkei in Tokyo; the New York City Department of Planning; or the Chicago Mayor's Fellowship.
The essence of good planning is making connections. To facilitate this, PennPlanning offers six concentrations which integrate knowledge across related specializations: (1) Community & Economic Development (2) Land Use-Environmental Planning (3) Public Private Development (4) SMART Cities (5) Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning and (6) Urban Design. Students are free to sample different concentrations during their first year, with the goal of selecting their final concentration/specialization before the start of their third semester. Although students may petition the faculty for individual course substitutions, all MCP students must complete coursework in one of PennPlanning's five concentrations. Click here to learn more about each concentration.