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M.S. Urban Planning

The Master of Science in Urban Planning is a two-year accredited professional degree. Our program takes a comparative, global perspective to urban planning, centering social justice and critical practice. It connects the study of the urban built environment with grounded analysis of socioeconomic and political conditions to inform planning practice and praxis toward social, racial, and climate justice. We prepare students to confront and break down structures and practices of oppression rooted in class inequality, racism, and sexism. By studying the impact of global processes (such as immigration, climate change, and public health) on cities, neighborhoods, and communities—across the Global North and Global South—the program aims to foster new, creative planning and policy approaches that will improve processes and outcomes in cities around the world.
The program pays close attention to a range of methodological approaches bringing together urban analytics, grounded field research, and community engagement to address real-world planning issues. It builds on our record as one of the first planning programs in the United States to engage data science and visualization alongside spatial analysis to tackle today’s urban problems and inform planning solutions for the future. Our graduates work in critical and leading roles in government, private firms, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, multilateral institutions, and international NGOs.

For more information about the program, please email the Assistant Director: Emily Junker.

The Master of Science in Urban Planning program offers four concentrations: Built Environment, Community and Economic Development, International Planning and Development, and Urban Analytics. At the core of the program are a team-based studio course, which takes place in the first year, and a thesis or professional capstone, which is carried out throughout the second year. The Urban Planning Studio is a way of modeling what it means to incorporate intellectual questions into practical proposals. The studio revolves around a real client with a real-world issue. Students work as a group under the direction of faculty, producing critical and innovative analysis of socioeconomic, environmental, and political conditions as well as stakeholder engagement. In many ways, the studio introduces, considers, and evaluates a range of scenarios in approaching complex problems.

Recently, the program has significantly updated the contents of its electives and core curriculum courses to introduce more knowledge related to the global dimensions of planning, more systematic understanding of racism and spatial inequality, and more critical assessment on the use of analytical tools. For electives, in particular, the program now offers new, knowledge- and skill-based courses on data analytics, machine learning, equitable climate action, adaptation to climate change, urban mobility and accessibility in a global context, inclusion and housing, and healthy global cities. Students can also take case-based practicums, grounded in a coherent conceptual framework, to better connect with modes of practice. In addition, a number of half-semester practicum courses are offered, including residential planning in a global context, urban public infrastructure, project management, affordable housing in high-demand cities, and mega projects in global cities.

The curriculum has shifted to further integrate studios and seminars—with seasoned practitioners teaming up with more academically-oriented faculty to better unite theory and practice. The program has also emphasized new collaborations with the design faculty to offer studios and courses that enable substantive collaboration between planning and design students.

In the Urban Planning Studio, there is a real client with a real-world issue that will be analyzed by students working as a team under the direction of faculty. The resulting deliverables reflect critical analyses of socioeconomic, environmental, and political conditions as well as stakeholder engagement, and encourage students to consider innovative practices in planning and critical thinking. Studio takes place in the spring of the students’ first year, and is thus not a “capstone” project but a way of integrating classroom learning with practical experience early in the students’ education.
Current Faculty
Jitendra Bajpai
Matthew Bauer
Clarisa Bencomo
Anthony Borelli
Calvin Brown
Vin Cipolla
André Corrêa d'Almeida
Ryan Devlin
Ubaldo Escalante
Roberta Fennessy
Peter Flamm
Flores A. Forbes
Adam Freed
Daniel Froehlich
Ebru Gencer
Maxine Griffith
Boyeong Hong
Rebecca Karp
Emily Kurtz
Nora Libertun
Jeffrey Lin
Peter Marcotullio
Ariella Maron
Jonathan Martin
Victoria Mason-Ailey
Kevin McQueen
Leah Meisterlin
Nilda Mesa
Deborah Helaine Morris
Olivia Moss
Kate Owens
John Reddick
Kaz Sakamoto
Jeffrey Shumaker
Howard Slatkin
Kurt Steinhouse
Anna Stokes
Adam Tanaka
Jamie Torres Springer
Graham Trelstad
Jose Luis Vallejo
Rachel Weinberger
Kate Wittels
Douglas Woodward
Thomas Wright

Summer 2022 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla4050‑1 Summer 2022
UP Elective Internship
Emily Junker
1.5 Points
Pla6330‑1 Summer 2022
Site Planning for Development
Adam Lubinsky RED - REQUIRED
W 3 PM - 5 PM
3 Points

Introduction to Columbia’s Urban Planning Program

Lectures in Planning Series (LiPS)

Spring 2022 Lectures in Planning Series
Inés Sánchez de Madariaga
March 22, 2022

Student Work

Rio de Janeiro Data Transparency Dashboard
Video produced by as part of the Fall 2021 Urban Analytics and Human-Centered Decision Making course led by André Corrêa d'Almeida.
Recent News
Dual Degree Programs

M.S. in Urban Planning and Master of Architecture

M.S. in Urban Planning and M.S. in Historic Preservation

M.S. in Urban Planning and M.S. in Real Estate Development

M.S. in Urban Planning and Business

M.S. in Urban Planning and International Affairs

M.S. in Urban Planning and Law

M.S. in Urban Planning and Social Work

M.S. in Urban Planning and Public Health