This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program accreditation
Planning Accreditation Board

Program goals

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree program advances social justice and quality of life through planning, designing and evaluating options to create, enhance and sustain the social, economic and environmental conditions that improve communities. The program maintains a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. The goals for the program are to:

  1. Prepare students to connect knowledge, skills and values to reflective action that informs their work in planning and related fields
  2. Recruit and retain excellent students
  3. Produce research and service that advances planning knowledge, practice and the public good through scholarship, civic engagement and professional work
  4. Promote diversity and inclusion broadly as a primary feature and strength of the M.U.R.P. program

Student learning outcomes

M.U.R.P. core outcomes

  1. Students will understand the historical, legal and theoretical contexts in which planning operates.
  2. Students will understand the functions and processes of an equitable, sustainable and livable community; how planning practice strives to achieve and maintain such communities; and the impact of these actions for future planning.
  3. Students will appreciate the approaches and perspectives of planning across world regions and how that differs from planning approaches in the U.S.
  4. Students will think critically, analyze and assess information, and exhibit technical competence related to plan and policy analysis, long-range plan creation and current planning practices (i.e., implementation and enforcement).
  5. Students will engage with diverse planning constituencies via effective communication, listening, empathy and understanding.
  6. Students will communicate effectively through use of writing, oral, visual and design skills.
  7. Students will evaluate questions and approaches using principles of diversity, inclusion, social justice and sustainability to guide planning in a democratic society.
  8. Students will lead and engage in civic action and the political process through innovative planning approaches and policy-making that reflect diversity and inclusion and contribute positive changes in society.

Environmental planning concentration-specific outcomes

  1. Students will develop a well-rounded knowledge of environmental planning, in the context of prevailing economic and social conditions, with particular emphasis on multilevel governance approaches to environmental protection; the roles of state and non-state actors in environmental governance; and the ways in which planning tools can be used to address specific environmental challenges.
  2. Students will acquire the analytical and research skills needed to investigate environmental problems, in the context of prevailing economic and social conditions, and develop strategies for addressing them.
  3. Student will develop a grounded understanding the values and ideologies that shape approaches to environmental planning, including conservation and preservation, sustainability, resilience, and environmental justice.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.