Course & Degree Resources

Urban Planning students are encouraged to take advantage of courses and seminars offered through this department as well as the wide variety of courses offered by other departments and programs at UCLA.

Degree Requirement Handbooks

Students are bound by the requirements that were in place the year they were admitted to the program. Please make sure to use the policies listed under your admission year, where applicable.

2016 – 2017 MURP Handbook

2016 – 2017 PhD Handbook

Course Syllabi

Fall 2015

Winter 2016

Spring 2016

Student Resources

Faculty Office Hours

Faculty are generally available to meet with students for four hours a week. Most faculty maintain signup sheets on their office doors.

A list of office locations is posted near the elevators in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Building.


MURP students can find important forms and documents, such as the Plan of Study form, fieldwork information, or capstone project documents, on the MURP CCLE. Please email the department Graduate Advisor for access.


PhD students can find reference documents, such as examples of the Plan of Study or methods course suggestions on the PhD CCLE. Please email the department Graduate Advisor for access.

Urban Planning Writing TA

MURP students may seek assistance from the department Writing TA on assignments in ANY course in or outside the department. The role of the Writing TA is to help students improve their writing skills.

Writing TA 2016-17
Rebecca Crane

Please give the Writing TA approximately three days before any deadline so as to ensure she can devote the time necessary to your work. The Writing TA is also available for office hours upon request if you want one-on-one help.


Writing Example
Writing Tips for Urban Planners

Urban Planning Graphics TA

MURP students may seek assistance from the department Graphics TA on assignments in ANY course in or outside the department. Throughout their degree, students may want advice on how to present reports, papers, resumes/CVs, posters or slideshows in a visually appealing way. The role of the Graphics TA is to help students improve their skills with general visual communications (style, formatting, color, layout, etc.) and graphics software (photoshop, indesign, illustrator, etc.).

Graphics TA 2016-17
Lisa Berglund

With graphics work, in-person meetings are strongly preferred and can be arranged by appointment. In the case of small, specific questions that can be addressed electronically, please give the Graphics TA approximately two days before any deadline so as to ensure she can devote the time necessary to your work.

Urban Planning GIS TA

MURP students may seek assistance from the department GIS TA on projects that are not related to GIS courses offered in the department. The role of the GIS TA is to guide students towards GIS based solutions. This is a way for students working on a client project, thesis, or independent research project to improve their use of GIS, create pertinent maps, and familiarize themselves with new skills. The GIS TA is proficient with Arc GIS and Python and R for spatial analysis. Students should allow additional time if using open source GIS software (e.g. Q GIS).

GIS TA 2016-2017
Andre Comandon

The time required to solve issues is proportional to the complexity of the tasks. Please email the TA at least one week before any deadlines with a brief description of the goals you want to achieve (e.g. creating a map using census data or automating data formatting for multiple metro areas).

Student Initiated Courses

Any group of twelve or more students may petition any faculty member to organize a new course to be offered during a subsequent term.   The petition must be countersigned by

  1. the faculty member willing to offer and/or supervise the course and
  2. the students who will take the course if offered.

The petition should be submitted to the Director of the MURP Program and the Curriculum Working Group. Following Curriculum Working Group review and MURP Program Director approval, final approval of the course resides with the Department Chair.  Such approval will take into account the demand for courses that the faculty member would otherwise teach.

Student initiated courses can be student-led under faculty supervision (and numbered 298), or may lead to special topics courses taught by faculty or visitors,  resources permitting.  Students may complete a maximum of two student-initiated (UP 298) courses for credit during their degree program.  All UP 298 courses are graded S/U, while special topics courses may be taken for a letter grade or S/U.

Faculty agreeing to supervise a student-initiated course are responsible for determining that the readings, topics, and assignments are appropriate in scope and scale to a graduate course in UrbanPlanning;  are expected to attend each of the class meetings, except by special arrangement (as with other courses they teach);  and are responsible for overseeing and approving the grading of assignments and the assignment of final grades.

Past Courses & Syllabi

Winter 2017: Abolitionist Planning in Today’s Political Conjuncture

Spring 2016: Abolitionist Planning: Incarceration, Injustice, & Communities

Spring 2011: Integrated Environmental Assessment

International Programs

The Department of Urban Planning offers a variety of international study opportunities, including summer programs, internships, international/comparative planning workshops, and international exchange agreements.

Schoolwide, the Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin program introduces students to an increasingly interconnected world, where global challenges require global solutions. Students in the International Practice Pathway program often seek out individual abroad opportunities, with the help of program faculty. For firsthand accounts of abroad experiences, visit the UCLA Luskin Abroad blog site.

China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD)


Since 2007 the Department of Urban Planning has had a research exchange agreement with China’s leading urban planning agency, the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD). Under this agreement the Department of Urban Planning hosts managers and senior staff from CAUPD each year to attend courses on physical planning and urban design. In addition the CAUPD welcomes 1-3 Urban Planning MURP students to intern in China. Students are selected to work in Beijing with the staff of the CAUPD for up to three months between June and December and they may travel elsewhere in China depending on the projects they work on. Projects may be in developed or undeveloped regions of China, in a metropolis or small town, including rural areas. The country has about 100 cities with populations over a million, all growing and transforming rapidly. Interns are responsible for paying their own air transportation and incidental expenses.  CAUPD provides each intern with workspace, room and board and covers all work related travel expenses in China.

Applications for the CAUPD Internship open in February of each year. Contact the department Graduate Advisor for more details.

** Students interested in this internship opportunity are encouraged to take language courses in their first year of the program to familiarize themselves with the language. Please note that language courses cannot count towards the MURP degree. **

Chengdu Institute of Planning and Design (CDIPD)


An exchange agreement was initiated with Chengdu Institute of Planning and Design in 2010.  CIPD sends mid-career planning professionals to visit UCLA to attend and complete the requirements for up to 3 courses each term as well as participate in a weekly one hour seminar to discuss comparative China/U.S. urban and regional planning issues. UCLA sends two to four interns to visit CIPD during the summer. The CIPD assigns each intern to be part of a planning project work team to work 300 to 500 hours on CIPD planning projects.  Interns are responsible for paying their own air transportation and incidental expenses.  The CIPD provides each intern with workspace, room and board and covers all work related travel expenses in China.

Applications for the CDIPD Internship open in February of each year. Contact the department Graduate Advisor for more details.

** Students interested in this internship opportunity are encouraged to take language courses in their first year of the program to familiarize themselves with the language. Please note that language courses cannot count towards the MURP degree. **

Sciences Po


Sciences Po is the most prestigious French university in social sciences and public policy, Almost all French presidents, political leaders and business leaders have been trained there.  “Sciences Po” is slang for “Political Science” in French, and its full name is the Institute of Political Studies.  Sciences Po is highly-ranked internationally in social science, and its student population is 40% non-French, drawn from all over the world, and many of its courses are given in English.  The Urban School of Sciences Po has recently been formed by putting together its different master and PhD programs that deal with cities, urban politics and urban policy, with a world-class faculty drawn from many disciplines.  The exchange is with the Sciences Po home campus in the historical heart of Paris, the Left Bank. In this urbane and cosmopolitan city center, students will have a once-in-a-lifetime academic and urban experience.  But Paris is more than its beautiful core: it is a diverse world city, with populations drawn from every continent, and it is as much an urban laboratory as any great city, with all the opportunities, problems and challenges.

Exchange students will learn about the common problems that world cities face today, but see in Paris a very different context for urban politics and policies, providing an opportunity for comparative and international learning between Los Angeles and Paris.  The Urban School of Science Po has many international projects, across the continents, also providing students an opportunity to work with the Sciences Po students and to build a new network of friends  and colleagues.

For UCLA students

For Sciences Po students

Interested students can apply for this program in the Winter Quarter of their first year. Selected applicants will spend the Fall Quarter of their second year studying at SciencesPo. For more details please see the department graduate advisor.

Hertie School of Governance


Initiated in 2011, this reciprocal exchange program allows the exchange of up to three graduate students from each institution per year. The exchange students pay required tuition at their home institution. Although students pay tuition and fees at their home institution, they also need to purchase student insurance at the exchange institution. Students are responsible for travel and living expenses incurred during the exchange program. Although in Berlin, the Hertie School instruction is in English. The period of exchange is normally in Fall Quarter/Semester. Credits and grades earned at the exchange institution are applied toward the degree requirements at the home institution.  Exchange students under this agreement are accorded normal student privileges.

Interested students can apply for this program through the Department of Public Policy. Applications are typically collected in March of each year.

International Comparative Planning Workshops

Within the department of Urban Planning student have the ability to organize international/comparative planning workshops.  These workshops usually take place during the summer or spring break.  Students may receive academic credit for these workshops through a course that is created in conjunction with the trip.  The courses have a faculty sponsor and generally meet for half a quarter of instruction with a syllabus, assigned readings and assignments prior to the field trip.  Students are required to submit a term paper and do a presentation.

Proposal Requirements

Sample Syllabus

Student Organizations

Students develop a strong sense of identification with the department, in part because of a philosophy that encourages everyone to participate actively in governance. Student organizations play an active role in the department.

American Planning Association Student Organization

Description: APA provides students interested in urban planning with networking, leadership, and professional development opportunities on- and off-campus. The department elects one APA student representative per year to serve as the connection between UCLA planning students and the local LA chapter of the APA.

Sample Activities

  • Chapter meetings and events
  • Annual APA LA Student Symposium

Bike Coalition

Description: The Bike Coalition at UCLA is a collective of students, faculty and staff working to make the UCLA campus and the surrounding area a better place to ride.


Sample Activities

  • Operation Firefly – bike light giveaways
  • Bike to UCLA Breakfast Pit-Stop
  • Dockweiler Beach Bike Ride

Bruins for Urban Design and Development (BUDDY)

DescriptionBUDDY is dedicated to the representation and empowerment of UCLA Graduate and PhD students   interested in the field of urban design and real estate development. BUDDY also aims to ensure that students have the necessary skills and network to improve their professional development and be competitive applicants in the field.


Sample Activities

  • AutoCAD Workshop
  • Santa Monica Affordable Housing Walking Tour
  • Firm tour of Melendrez

The Built Environment and Public Health Council (BEPHC)

Description: The Built Environment and Public Health Council (BEPHC) is  a group of students, faculty and staff involved in promoting the intersection of the fields of the built environment (planning, architecture, development, engineering, design, etc) and public health. The purpose of this student group is  to provide a place for conversation at UCLA around the built  environment and health, to advocate on behalf of students and organizations dedicated to the subject, and to increase  the visibility of the research being done on health and the built environment.


Sample Activities

  • What’s Health Got to Do with It? Career Panel
  • National Public Health Week Panels
  • Organizing for BEH Certificate

Critical Planning Journal

Description: The graduate student-run journal of the UCLA Urban Planning Department.  Since 1993, Critical Planning has served as a forum for the urban studies and planning communities to debate current issues, showcase emerging  research, and propose new ideas concerning cities and regions. The journal attracts submissions from scholars, graduate students, and practitioners from across disciplinary  boundaries and from around the world.


Sample Activities

  • Volunteer Readers and Editors
  • Cover Design/Photography Competitions
  • Magazine Release Parties

GSA Social Sciences Council

Description: The thirteen Councils of the Graduate Students Association  are made up of the representatives of the various departmental graduate student associations in their respective domains. Each Council supervises and allocates  funding drawn from the “Councils” portion of GSA membership fees, and amounts are assessed on the basis of  graduate student enrollment in the departments. The UP student body elects 1 representative from each MURP cohort.


Sample Activities

  • Winter social by SSC
  • Grad Games
  • Graduate student leadership dinner

Planners Network

Description: Planners Network at UCLA is informally affiliated with Planners Network, an international network of professionals,  activists, academics, and students committed to progressive  planning. We believe in fundamental change in our political,  social, and economic systems and institutions to promote social, racial, economic, and environmental justice and equity.


Sample Activities

  • On-campus Happy Hours
  • Progressive Planning magazine
  • Organizing in solidarity with community-based efforts and organizations

Planners of Color for Social Equity (PCSE)

Description: PCSE creates space for the ideas and practice that reflect the experiences of planners of color and the low-income marginalized communities they help serve. We provide academic and emotional health support, including activities  that encourage community engagement and foster professional development. Our organization also advocates  for curriculum and faculty that provide analysis and tools to  work towards institutionalizing social justice. PCSE membership is open to any UCLA graduate or undergraduate student.


Sample Activities

  • PCSE Alumni Mixer
  • Urban Planning Youth Empowerment Conference
  • Admitted Student PCSE BBQ

Southern California Planners Congress (SCPC)

Description: Founded in 1925, the SCPC is an association of cities, counties, public utilities, private consultants, and professionals interested in resolving interjurisdictional and  regional planning issues. The department elects one MURP  student per year to act as a liaison between the SCPC and  the students.


Sample Activities

  • Attend monthly board meetings

Urban Spelunkers of UCLA

Description: Urban Spelunkers of UCLA explore the urban environment with the goal of expanding understanding of the forces that shape Los Angeles and similar city environments. The group investigates urban areas through a series of predetermined excursions throughout the region.


Sample Activities

  • Little Tokyo Spelunk
  • Koreatown Spelunk
  • Culver City Spelunk

Urban Planning Student Association

Description: UPSA is the Urban Planning Students Association at UCLA.  We are the elected student government for the department.  We act as a liaison with the department and represent students in departmental decisions such as improving and creating new programs, processes, certificates, and courses.  We also organize department-wide social and educational events and act as the conduit for university funding for MURP student groups.


Sample Activities

  • Mid-term instructor and course evaluations
  •  The “Good, Bad, and the Ugly” annual capstone event Grad Night

Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS-UCLA)

Description: WTS-UCLA is dedicated to the representation and empowerment of women interested in the field of transportation. Our aim is to ensure students have the necessary skills and network to improve their professional development and be competitive applicants in the field.

Website: WTS-UCLA Student Chapter

Sample Activities

  • Firm visits (e.g. Fehr & Peers)
  • Expo Line Phase II Rail Yard Tour
  • Career development panels