Community and Regional Planning (MCRP)

The master of community and regional planning (MCRP) program trains policy-oriented planners for leadership positions in planning and planning-related organizations. The field of planning is concerned with rational and sensitive guidance of community and regional change. Planners are responsible for identifying and clarifying the nature and effect of planning problems, formulating potential solutions to these problems, and assisting in the implementation of alternative policies.

To realize these objectives, the planner must draw on the skills and insights of many professions and disciplines. The planner must have a basic understanding of the cultural, economic, social, political, and physical characteristics of a community.

Entering students should be prepared to become involved in and committed to resolving important social, economic, environmental, political, and cultural problems. Courses in and outside the school provide students with an integrated understanding of planning, public policy, and public management as well as specific skills needed for a chosen professional area.

Oregon is an especially fruitful location in which to study planning. The state has an international reputation as a source of innovative approaches to addressing planning issues.

Students select a set of courses in consultation with their advisors that focus their elective work on an area of special interest. The program has exceptional strengths in sustainable cities and transportation, land use and built environment, access and equity (community development) and environmental planning. In addition, the school's strengths in nonprofit management, local government management, and budget and finance are of interest to many students in the field of planning.

The program has strong ties with other programs on campus. Students often pursue concurrent degrees in planning and environmental studies, landscape architecture, business, economics, geography, international studies, or public administration. See Concurrent Master’s Degrees in this section.


Students are strongly encouraged to complete a thorough social science undergraduate program including courses in economics, sociology, geography, and history. Work experience, particularly if related to planning, is valuable, as are writing and public speaking skills. Courses in the natural sciences, policy sciences, environmental design, or analytic methods are helpful as background for advanced graduate work in a concentration area of interest to the student.

Students must complete either an advanced undergraduate or a graduate-level introductory course in statistics as a pre- or corequisite to Planning Analysis I (PPPM 613). No credit toward the MCRP degree is allowed for the statistics course. The requirement is waived for students with equivalent courses or work experience. Entering students are urged to satisfy this requirement before enrolling in the program.

Students may file petitions to transfer up to 15 graduate credits taken prior to admission to the planning program. Such petitions must be submitted during the first term in the program.

Juniors and seniors who anticipate applying for admission are encouraged to seek advice at the school's office.


Graduates with an MCRP degree find employment in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Graduates work in the public sector at the local, state, regional and federal levels. In the private sector, graduates are typically employed by consulting firms, private developers, and other firms requiring research and analysis skills. Graduates are also employed by such nonprofit organizations as environmental and advocacy groups, community development organizations, and research firms. Positions span a broad variety of sectors including: land use, housing, social services, parks, transportation, economic development and natural resources.

Application Procedures

Importance is placed on the student’s preference for and ability to undertake self-directed educational activity.

The admissions committee emphasizes the selection of candidates who present clear and specific reasons for choosing to pursue their graduate work in planning at the University of Oregon.

Application Materials

Interested applicants begin the application process by creating an account at  The application       process include submission of each of the following components:

  1. A résumé
  2. A statement, prepared by the applicant, explaining why admission to the UO planning program is sought and what the applicant’s expectations are from the field
  3. At least three letters of recommendation from people familiar with the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate-level studies in planning unofficial transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate institutions in your online application.
  4. You must have official transcripts from all colleges or universities where you received a bachelor's degree and all subsequent degrees. Find more information at Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores are optional. If submitted, they are considered along with other application materials. 
  5. Demonstration of English language proficiency. International students should visit to review the options to demonstrate proficiency.  

Applications are accepted beginning September 15 for admission the following fall term. The deadline for receipt of the application to the program is February 1. Applicants are notified of admission decisions early in March. For more information, call or email the school.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Planning knowledge: Describe and explain the purpose and meaning of planning, planning theories, principles, and practices. Students should be able to synthesize planning knowledge for the purpose of evaluating and describing, explaining, and arguing for different approaches in their future professional practice.
  • Application of planning knowledge: Select relevant theory and knowledge to inform planning\ practice and tailor the application to the appropriate context by working with external clients on real- world projects.
  • Substantive knowledge Illustrate substantive and technical expertise in a specific field of interest.
  • Methods: Apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods to collect, analyze, and interpret data relevant to planning, and use the information to make informed decisions and\ recommendations.
  • Communication: Demonstrate ability to communicate with expert and non-expert audiences through written, oral, and graphic methods.
  • Teamwork: Collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary teams in planning and implementation processes.
  • Ethics: Analyze, reflect, and develop a personal code of ethics or values system related to the ethical principles of the planning profession (AICP Code of Ethics).
  • Planning impact: Recognize and assess power structures within institutions and policies that intersect with planning. Develop and test strategies for changing these institutions and policies to lead to more socially, economically, and environmentally just outcomes.

The Planning Curriculum

A total of 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree is required for the MCRP degree. Core courses must be taken for letter grades, unless offered pass/no pass only.

Students are expected to enroll for six terms with an average course load of 12 credits a term. During the summer, students are encouraged to engage in planning work through external and internal internships.  Students who have successfully completed the two-term Community Planning Workshop are eligible to apply for paid internships with the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement.  Successful applicants will continue to provide support for planning projects across the state, gaining valuable experience and professional connections.  Many students also purse internships outside of PPPM (with governments, nonprofits and private planning firms).  Internships are not required as part of curricular requirements for MCRP students.

Master of Community and Regional Planning Requirements

CORE COURSES (35 credits)
PPPM 611Introduction to Planning Practice4
PPPM 612Legal Issues in Planning4
PPPM 613Planning Analysis I5
PPPM 616Planning Theory and Ethics4
PPPM 617Human Settlements4
PPPM 620Planning and Management Research Skills2
Land Use Planning and Policy
Planning for Growth Management
PPPM 552
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Community Organizing)
GIS REQUIREMENT (choose one):4
Urban Geographic Information Systems
Advanced Urban Geographic Information Systems
Professional Development
Professional Development II
Community Planning Workshop
Community Planning Workshop
FIELD OF INTEREST (25 credits)25
Total Credits72

Community Planning Workshop

A distinctive feature of the planning graduate curriculum is the Community Planning Workshop, an applied research and service program that is required for first-year students. Students work on six month planning projects in small teams supervised by program faculty members and second year graduate students in planning. Clients have included federal, state, county, and local governments as well as nonprofit organizations.

Projects typically focus on issues of immediate environmental, social, and economic importance to the client group and the general public. Recent project topics include

  • Citizen involvement in planning process
  • Housing needs analysis
  • Land-use planning
  • Natural hazards mitigation
  • Program evaluation
  • Strategic plans for communities and regions
  • Tourism and recreational development
  • Watershed planning

Each year, first-year graduate students enrolled in Community Planning Workshop (PPPM 625) and Community Planning Workshop (PPPM 626) complete five to 10 planning projects. Final written reports, prepared by each student team, provide evidence of the students’ expertise and ability to conduct planning research and to prepare and present high-quality professional reports. After completing Community Planning Workshop (PPPM 625) and Community Planning Workshop (PPPM 626), selected students may continue to engage in planning research projects for compensation. The popularity of the program with students—and with government and private-sector clients—has enabled the Community Planning Workshop to provide research support for five to 15 students a year.

Federal grants and support from a variety of state agencies have helped the Community Planning Workshop become one of the most successful community planning assistance programs in the nation. Projects have received numerous state and national awards.