Students must complete a Capstone during the second year of their studies in one of four ways. Each option has its own deadline for selection, and once a deadline has passed, students are limited to options with subsequent deadlines.
The Urban Planning Capstone options are:
Poster/Presentation Material Specifications:
1. Comprehensive Examination
Applied Research Project (Option A-1)
i. Deadline: Notification to Graduate Advisor by the end of first week of the fall quarter of the second year.
The Applied Planning Research Project is a professional-quality examination of a real-world urban planning problem or issue. Guidance of this client-oriented project rests with (1) a faculty advisor (who serves as Chair of the committee), (2) a UP 205A and B instructor, and (3) an outside client. While we strongly encourage students to seek oversight and input by the outside client, and we request that clients write a letter to the Graduate Advisor indicating that they are satisfied with the final draft, final approval of the project as satisfying the capstone requirement rests entirely with three or four Urban Planning faculty: (1) the faculty advisor/committee chair (who must be an Urban Planning faculty member), (2) a UP 205A instructor, and (3) a UP 205B instructor, and (4) the MURP Program Director.
The product may take any form agreed on in advance (e.g., a report, film, computerized model, set of working drawings, etc.). Students normally work on the projects alone. If two or more students want to work on a project together, they must obtain permission of the Department Chair. In the case of group projects, individual contributions must be clearly identifiable.
Academic credit for the Applied Planning Research Project is through four units of UP 205A and four units of UP 205B.
Group Comprehensive Project (Option A-2)
i. Deadline: Notification to Graduate Advisor by the end of second week of the fall quarter of the second year.
Students take courses UP 217A and 217B in their second year, normally during either the fall and winter, or winter and spring quarters. The sequence is taught by one our two Urban Planning faculty and the work is conducted in close cooperation with an outside client. If UP 217A and UP 217B have two instructors, the two instructors and the department chair serve as the three supervising faculty. If UP 217 A and UP 217B have one instructor, then the instructor, the Director of the MURP Program, and the Department Chair serve as the three supervising faculty.
The comprehensive project is a capstone project; therefore, students may not take the comprehensive project course in their first year of studies. Only students who will fulfill their capstone project requirement may take this class.
2. Comprehensive Examination Plan B (Two Week Examination)
a. Deadline: varies.
Overview. Students who wish to or are advised to take the two-week comprehensive exam must receive permission from the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning. Please see the Graduate Advisor for more details.
The two-week comprehensive exam is a simulated analytical exercise designed to demonstrate to a two-person faculty committee and the UP Department Chair that the MURP student has developed adequate skills in critical thinking, analysis, and written (and perhaps oral) presentation. This two-week exercise is similar to analytical work in professional contexts; planners are frequently asked to produce polished, comprehensive reports in very short time frames. The final product of this two-week exercise should reflect at least 80 hours of effort (two weeks of full time professional work).
Timeline. Students must have (1) completed at least four quarters of full-time graduate study in the Urban Planning program and (2) completed or waived out of all Urban Planning core courses prior to taking the two-week comprehensive exam. In most cases, the two-week comprehensive exam is completed during the Spring Break period of the student's second year of study.
A committee of three faculty members (the department chair and two faculty nominated by the student) coordinates, administers, and evaluates the exam. The faculty committee will assess the completed project and may require an oral defense of the written exam no later than 10 working days after the conclusion of the written exam. The UP Department Chair will review the written exam results for final approval.
The two-week comprehensive exam can, with the consent of the students' committee, be scheduled for any ten consecutive business days (i.e. excluding weekends and UCLA-recognized holidays) during the following three periods:
Evaluation. The two-person faculty committee and the Department Chair will determine whether the comprehensive exam is adequate (pass) or inadequate (fail). The faculty committee will review the written exam, and may choose to have an oral defense to make its determination. The Department Chair will review the written exam document to determine if the comprehensive exam is adequate (pass) or inadequate (fail).
In some cases, the committee may request that the student provide some additional work on the exam before it receives a pass.
Students are allowed to retake the comprehensive exam once. Those who wish to retake the comprehensive exam must wait at least one academic quarter to do so.
Exam content. The faculty committee shall determine the scope, requirements, and format of the written exam. The written exam should demonstrate that the MURP student has developed adequate critical thinking, analytical, and presentation skills, but should be constrained enough to enable that MURP student to complete the exam within ten working days.
3. Thesis Plan
a. Deadline: Proposal to Graduate Advisor by end of the first week of the fall quarter of the second year; requires approval by the UP 208C instructor.
The Master's thesis is intended to provide the opportunity for independent scholarly research and should be the length and quality of a publishable journal article. Students who opt for this option should think about the thesis as a contribution to the field of academic literature in Urban Planning. The audience will primarily be planning researchers. Experience has shown that students meet the graduation deadline only if they begin serious thesis work early in Fall Quarter of their second year.
Academic credit for thesis preparation is given through four units of 208C (required of students selecting this option), and four units of 598.