City and Regional Planning

About the Department

The Department of City & Regional Planning's two-year, 18 credit-unit (CU) Master of City Planning (MCP) program is organized into 4 units of core courses, 4 units of workshop and studio, and 4-to-5 units of concentration courses; the remainder are free electives. All MCP students must complete one of six concentrations (Housing, Community and Economic Development, Land Use and Environmental Planning, Public-Private Development, Smart Cities, Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning, or Urban Design) as well as complete a summer internship between their first and second years.

Letter from the Chair

Planners’ skills are critical for solving the most vexing problems facing our world today. Worldwide, planners are managing the continuing migration to cities; working to upgrade slum housing, and finding practical solutions to problems of climate change and environmental degradation. Closer to home, planners are renewing and redesigning the nation's characterless suburbs; protecting vulnerable communities from the effects of the financial meltdown; and turning sustainability and resiliency from buzzwords into best practices.

At PennPlanning, we will give you the knowledge and skills you need to take on these challenges. We’ll prepare you for a fulfilling career in the private, public, and/or nonprofit sectors. You will gain the quantitative, qualitative and digital skills you will need to analyze complex problems and to visualize alternative futures for communities. You will learn how historical and institutional contexts shape planning practice, as well as how to work with community members to leverage their knowledge and skills. You will also gain in-depth knowledge in at least one of our six areas of concentration: Land Use and Environmental Policy; Urban Design; Housing, Community and Economic Development, Smart Cities; Public and Private Development; and Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning.

Philadelphia is an exciting place to study city planning right now.  Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the U.S. It is a city of neighborhoods and retains a small town feel.  Our faculty are closely connected to community and city leaders, and our students benefit from the hands-on projects we do in Philadelphia and the larger region. Whether you are interested in gentrification, neighborhood-scale urban design, downtown development, green infrastructure, urban policy, new forms of public transportation, how the digital revolution is reshaping planning, or urban agriculture, Philadelphia has become one of the country’s great urban laboratories in which to test new ideas.

How To Apply

If you’re reading this, you’ve already determined that you’re curious about urban planning.  Now you need to figure out whether Penn’s program is a good fit with your interests.  Here are some questions to ask yourself as you explore this website: 

Do you connect with at least one of the concentrations we offer? 

Are our faculty teaching courses and doing research in areas that mesh with your interests? 

Do our studio and applied projects appeal to the kind of work you’re passionate about? 

Check out the certificate and dual degree programs we offer.  And if you continue to be interested in PennPlanning, it’s time to go deeper.  Call or email Lisa Servon, the chair of the department, or a faculty member whose work seems particularly interesting to you.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the program, individual courses, teaching assistant and research assistant opportunities, and financial assistance.  

We can also connect you to current and former students, and work with you so that you can sit in on classes and get a better feel for how things work.  Full details about the Fall Open House can be found here. If you can't make it on open house day, you can e-mail faculty to set up individual appointments or contact Ms. Roslynne Carter (, and she will try to line up appointments with faculty and current students. 

Once you decide to apply to Penn, visit the Weitzman School Admissions section for more detailed application instructions. 

For Fall 2023 entrance, we will not require GRE scores.  Take the TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Academic exam if English is not your primary language. Contact two or more of your undergraduate school professors and find out if they will write recommendation letters for you. If you have been out of school for a few years, identify employers who can write about your work history and abilities. 

Most importantly, start thinking about how you can best express why you want to come to graduate school in general and PennPlanning in particular. Your personal statement should touch on three themes: (1) How you came to be interested in planning; (2) What you hope to do with your degree and graduate education once finished; and, (3) Why PennPlanning is a good fit for your interests and professional plans. If you have been involved in a planning-related activity, even just to volunteer, be sure to mention it. Try to keep your personal statement to 500 words or less, and if possible, have a friend or colleague review it to make sure it is clear and concise. 

If you are applying for the Urban Design Concentration, a digital portfolio of prior design work is required. 

When deciding who to admit, we give slightly greater weight to personal statements and letters of recommendations, so make sure your personal statement fully reflects who you are, and make sure your recommenders discuss your ability to undertake graduate-level study. If you have had a blip in your undergraduate studies or professional career, be sure to explain it.We consider several factors, including your undergraduate grade point average (GPA) to determine your readiness for graduate school.  We don't, however, apply GPA minimums, so if your GPA is a little low, but your personal statement and recommendations are exemplary, there is a good chance you will be admitted. 

E-mail or call a faculty member to let them know who you are and that you are applying. We get hundreds of applications every year, so it's important to keep your name in front of our faces. 

The deadline for all admissions materials is listed on the Weitzman School Admissions page. Be sure to upload a copy of all transcripts from prior study and follow-up with your recommenders to ensure that they have sent us letters of recommendation. The number one problem with admissions is that the application is incomplete or missing a key item. Remember that it is your responsibility, not ours, to make sure that your application is complete. You can check the status of your application on-line. 

Sometime in early February, we will get together as a faculty to make admissions decisions for the coming year. Once the faculty has made its decision, the university will still have to check on a number of things. You will be able to log back into your on-line application to view your notification letter on March 10, 2023 at noon. Please do not call before then to check on your application. 

Good luck with your application and we look forward to seeing you at Penn. 

PAB (Planning Accreditation Board) Student Outcome Assessment

The Planning Accreditation Board requires this information be posted for the Master of City & Regional Planning program.

Student Achievement

We define student achievement based on the following items:

  • First Year Studio Grades
  • Second Year Studio Grades
  • Graduating Student Exit Survey

The first and second year studios are taught by professionals in the field and is the culminating project of each year. 

In Fall 2021, out of 47 students, 16 received an A+, 24 received an A, 4 received an A-, 2 received a B+, 1 received a B.

The Graduating Student 2021 Exit Survey (which had a response rate of 91% (63 out of 69 graduates responded)  82% said that skills gained from the program helped them obtain employment.

A 2018 Young Alumni survey (with 40 respondents) asked "How satisfied are you with how the Penn Planning MCP prepared you for your current employment?"  30% were highly satisfied, 45% were satisfied, 15% were neither satisfied or dissatisfied, 10% were somewhat satisfied.

2021-22 Tuition and Fees  
In-State Residents, per full-time academic year  $59,164
Out-of-state Residents, per full-time academic year     $59,164


Student Retention Rate Percent
Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2020 and continued into fall 2021  88%


Student Graduation Rate Percent
Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2017    95%


Number of Degrees Awarded  
Number of degrees awarded for the 2020-2021 Academic Year     77 


AICP Certification Percent
Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2016 87%


Employment Percent
Percentage of fulltime graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2020  76%

Student Clubs

Environmental Planning Club

The Environmental Planning Club connects students in the Weitzman community to local programs, practitioners, and projects that represent best practices in the field.  The club invites professionals who work at the intersection of the built and natural environments to speak on campus and organizes site visits to experience this work firsthand.  All students at Weitzman School are welcome to participate in the club’s events, as are students in other graduate schools at Penn.

Real Estate Club

The Weitzman School Real Estate Club provides a platform for mentoring, speakers, panels, site visits, resume promotion and career strategizing. Through our various resources we seek to demonstrate how the interdisciplinary curriculum of the Weitzman School uniquely corresponds to the nature of real estate development and community-building today.
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Student Planning Association

The Student Planning Association -- SPA -- is a student-led advocacy and social group meant for students of City Planning at the Weitzman School. As a peer-elected organization, our main purpose is to advocate on the behalf of CPLN students, both within the department and the School of Design. We are also responsible for department-wide, student lead social events and other student-oriented activities.
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Penn Transportation Club

Penn Transportation Club serves as a platform that facilitates conversation between students in the Weitzman School, students in other schools at the University of Pennsylvania and professionals in the transportation field. Penn Transportation Club aims to expose students to the latest transportation trends and ideas across academic and professional settings, in addition to the connections between transportation and other fields, and it does so by hosting speakers from within the public and private sectors on a regular basis throughout the academic year. In addition, site visits and tours offer students the opportunity to learn about ongoing as well as completed transportation projects in the greater Philadelphia area.  Please join our Facebook group or email us at


Started in 2016 and with the support of the Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center at Wharton, Penn Student Women in Real Estate ("PSWiRE") is a student initiative aimed at increasing the active participation and visibility of female leaders in real estate, encouraging more women and underrepresented people to pursue careers in the real estate industry, connecting students at Penn with real estate professionals and supporting underrepresented persons in the advancement of their careers.  This initiative includes members of all four real estate clubs supported by Zell-Lurie: Wharton undergraduates, Wharton MBA's, Penn Law and Penn School of Design.

Our events include:

Guest speakers and panels

Networking events

Career treks

Social events such as small group dinners and happy hours

Womxn in Planning

.“Womxn In Planning (WIP) is committed to lifting womxn’s voices and making visible a diversity of perspectives that can lead to a more inclusive and transformative planning practice. Part of a global movement empowering womxn to assert their right to the city, WIP positions itself as allies to female and non-binary practitioners and community leaders working across all facets of urban planning catalyze meaningful social change.”

As a group we host coffee chats, site visits, volunteering events, and has a Women of Penn Alumni mentorship program. We also just want to create a friendly space and, we are open to more ideas!

Read more here.

MCP Contact Information

Department Address

127 Meyerson Hall
210 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Department Phone Number: 215-898-8329
Department Fax: 215-898-5731

Department Chair
Lisa Servon 

For inquiries @ visiting Penn contact:
Roslynne Carter, 215-898-8329,

For questions regarding the Department contact:
Kate Daniel, 215-898-8124,