All Degrees + Certificates

Master of Urban Spatial Analytics

Check out the MUSA website.

The for-profit sector has embraced data and analytics as a means to increase efficiency and grow the bottom line. The government and non-profit sectors are next in line. The Master of Urban Spatial Analytics is a one year graduate program that teaches students how to use spatial analysis and data science to address the most pressing public policy and city planning conundrums of our day. We are teaching the next generation of civic technologists. The one-year MUSA program combines coursework on GIS, spatial analysis, data science, statistics, R and python programming, data visualization and web-based mapping with world-class urban content coursework from across the University of Pennsylvania. The program is administered jointly by Weitzman School and the Penn Institute for Urban Research.

For more information on the program contact the MUSA Program Director, Ken Steif.

Program Requirements

  • Five courses in spatial analysis and GIS
  • Two courses in a selected urban content area
  • One elective course
  • One capstone project course


Having some basic familiarity with GIS and related software is helpful but we do offer a GIS Bootcamp course right before the fall semester begins to help further prepare incoming students.

Spatial Analysis and GIS Courses

MUSA 501 Big Data Analysis (Spatial Statistics and Data Analysis)

This course will introduce students to the calculation and use of statistical measures of spatial clustering; the use of clustering measures in regression and categorical data models; and basic techniques of data mining used to identify spatial and attribute patterns.

LARP 743 / CPLN 670 Geospatial Software Design

This course will introduce students to the programming in Python and related programming languages for use in building geo-spatial data models and web-based applications.

MUSA 507 Applications of Urban Spatial Analysis

This course will introduce students to the use of ArcGIS, R statistical programming and applied data science to address a variety of urban and environmental planning problems. These include including urban growth boundary planning, estimating the value of transit proximity, crime prediction, remote sensing and more.

LARP 741 Modeling Geographic Space

This course will expose students to the full range and use of raster-based modeling in GIS.

CPLN 675 Land Use and Environmental Modeling

This Spring term, intermediate level course builds on the spatial/statistical modeling students learned in the fall to address critical, large-scale land use and environmental planning issues. We focus on hydrological modeling, agent-based modeling, machine learning for flood prediction and urban growth modeling.

MUSA 610/CPLN 690, Javascript Programming for Planning

This course will introduce city planning, MUSA and design graduate students to Java and Javascript.  Students will learn the logic and syntax of the Java programming language for use in simple web applications (Weeks 1 to 7); as well as how to program database and map-oriented web and desktop applications using Javascript (Weeks 8 to 14).  The "hands-on" uses of Java and Javascript in urban planning applications will be emphasized.  Students will hone their programming and applications development skills through a series of bi-weekly assignments.

MUSA 850 Data wrangling and data visualization

This course will teach students how to retrieve unstructured data from the web through scraping and via APIs. Students will then visualize these data using cutting edge data visualization techniques and applications.

MUSA 800 / LARP 745 Capstone Project

This course will provide the opportunity for MUSA students to develop a final capstone project bringing together mapping and spatial analysis, programing, and their urban content area. Students who do not enroll in the course, LARP 745, can complete capstones as an independent project with a faculty mentor.

For more course information visit Penn's register.

Faculty & Instructors

Ken Steif
MUSA Instructor and Program Director Lecturer, Department of City and Regional Planning, School of Design

C. Dana Tomlin
MUSA Faculty Professor of Landscape Architecture

John Landis
MUSA Faculty Crossways Professor of City & Regional Planning

Eugene Brusilovskiy
MUSA Instructor Director of Data Analytics, Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion

Susan Wachter
Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research Sussman Professor and Professor of Real Estate and Finance, The Wharton School

Eugenie Birch
Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research Nussdorf Term Professor of Urban Research & Education, Department of City and Regional Planning, School of Design

Jeff Frankl

Nathan Zimmerman


MUSA graduates present their posters at the 2016 ESRI Conference in San Diego, CA. Penn IUR and Weitzman School fund students to present their work at the event each year to gain further contacts in academia and industry. The photo above shows Qingyu Ma (pictured second from the left) who received 3rd place in the People's Choice category for the ESRI Map Gallery competition last year. The 2015-2016 MUSA students also won ESRI's first intern hackathon.

  • Henry Bernberg's map was featured on the CartoDB site as "Map of the Week". View it here.
  • Emily Antoszky and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation launch an interactive map displaying school report cards throughout North Carolina. Learn more here.
  • Source launches new map called "Losing Ground". Explore it here.

For more news, check out the City and Regional Planning blog and see what's happening with Weitzman School and MUSA Students.

Learn About MUSA!

To learn more about the MUSA experience, Penn IUR interviewed students, alumni, and faculty to find out the inside scoop about the program. Watch their short videos here

Capstone Projects

2016 Capstones

Building a Residental Real Estate Market Study App for iOS
By Peter Herman

By Patrick O'Brien

2015 Capstones

Using Raster Channelization Techniques to Build a Hyperspace Netowrk for the Star Wars Galaxy
By Henry Bernberg

Using GIS to Support In-Flight Operations in the Event of an Airport Outage
By Susan Burtner

Can GUS be used to model Pedestrians in Manhattan?
By Qingyu "Bill" Ma

Environmental Impact Assessment of Petroleum Spill Using GIS
By Simon Suo

Analysis of Scenic Biking Route in San Francisco
By Wei Ying

Time Awareness Travel Plan Platform
By Yuan Zeng

2014 Capstones

Examining Spatio-Temporal Crime Patters in High Crime Areas in Raleigh, NC
By Emily Antoszyk

Why 52? Building Resources, Supporting Communities
By Anita Davidson

Visualizing Crime in Philadelphia: A Multivariate Spatio-Temporal Analysis
By Morgan Findley

The Geography of Interracial Marriage in the US and Potential Correlative Factors
By Amory Hillengas

Gender Inequality in India
By Shrobona Karkun

Emergency Response System for Seniors: A Location-based Rescue Service App
By Siuyan Lisa Shen

Open-Source GIS Spatial Analysis: Flu Surveillance and Response in Philadelphia
By Xiaoran Xu

Where to Open Grocery Stores in Philadelphia: A Retail Site Selection Analysis in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area
By Xin Chen

LISTANET: Local Indicators of Spatio-Temporal Assocation for Network Data
By Yanan Xin

Twitter Visualization Map
By Yujun Jiang

2013 Capstones

Collective Patch Based Fragmentation Analysis
By Andrew Campbell

Multi-Flow Direction Algorithms in GIS
By Will Cooper

Shaping Green Infrastructure Networks in Philadelphia: Blueprints for Potentials and Possibilities
By Sean Eno

Modeling Spatial Income Inequality in Philadelphia
By David Karp

Mapping Space and Time: 2008 Election Violence in Zimbabwe
By Jason Owen

Urban Microwatersheds and Stormwater Modeling
By Wes Weaver