The Online Executive Master of Urban Planning From USC Price
Earn a Degree From the Top-Ranked School for Urban Policy
The University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy was ranked No. 1 for urban policy by U.S. News & World Report for 2019.1 The school’s on-campus urban planning program was ranked No. 9 by Planetizen in 2017. 2
Urban planning is becoming increasingly complex. Industry professionals have to navigate stronger regulation, dwindling public resources and political forces that simultaneously restrict government support and heighten income inequality. This makes advanced specialized training more and more crucial. USC Price’s accelerated online Executive Master of Urban Planning program directly bridges the gap between urban planning goals and the objectives and constraints of effective real estate development. The urban planning graduate program is tailored for experienced professionals who know that cities are our greatest challenge and opportunity.
Why Urban Planning?
Urban planners lay the foundation for our everyday lives. By designing and adapting urban infrastructure, building for environmental sustainability, and analyzing public needs, they shape our cities’ futures—and, in turn, the ease with which we interact with our surroundings and are able to thrive in the places in which we live.
Some specific duties of a leader in the urban planning field include:
negotiating between public objectives and private sector constraints
planning, designing, and implementing major public works and development projects
convening multiple stakeholders to develop innovative planning solutions
leading teams from project initiation to execution
analyzing data from market research, censuses, and economic and environmental studies to craft innovative plans and development proposals
$71,490 Median pay per year
13% expected job growth between 2016 and 2026
Become a Leader in Urban Development
To learn how you can advance your urban planning career with an online Executive Master of Urban Planning degree from USC, request information today.
Explore the Online Master’s Curriculum
USC’s online Executive Master of Urban Planning is a 24-unit curriculum designed with significant input from the practice community and includes myriad outreach opportunities throughout. The degree goes beyond that of a typical master’s program and equips graduates with an expert skill level in this field.
As a graduate from our urban planning master’s program, you will emerge with advanced knowledge in four main areas: project and land economics; political, legal, and regulatory process and stakeholder outreach; data analysis, visualization and communication; and urban design and the built environment.
Politics and Processes of Urban Development 2 Units
First Intensive 2 Units
Urban Political Economy and Urban Development 2 Units
Economics for a Productive City 3 Units
Effective Engagement With Stakeholders 3 Units
Big Data for Planning and Development 2 Units
Second Intensive 2 Units
Leading a Collaborative City 4 Units
Integrating Concepts for Action 1 Unit
Economics of a Productive Development — 3 units
An introduction to the economic and financial aspects of real estate development. Financial analysis and cost of capital are introduced. Students learn methods for combining financing across the public and private sectors.
Politics and Processes of Urban Development — 2 units
A study of policy across different levels of government (local, state, national), formal and informal political institutions and legal contexts of development. Common political tensions related to growth and development, including pro-growth and anti-growth movements, are explored.
Urban Political Economy and Urban Development — 2 units
Covers neighborhood and informal community or advocacy organizations. Budgetary and fiscal politics, metropolitan fragmentation and suburbanization, immigration, and race, gender and ethnicity in urban politics are examined.
Economics for a Productive City — 3 units
A study of basic concepts of urban and land economics, with a focus on applications that include project finance. Topics include externalities and public goods, financing infrastructure related to development, and economic development.
Effective Engagement With Stakeholders — 3 units
Includes modes and approaches to engaging community residents, including focus groups and charrettes, social media, open government and the role of information technologies. Emphasis is on building trust and maintaining the community’s voice, particularly among marginalized communities.
Big Data for Planning and Development — 2 units
An introduction to data and visualization trends as they relate to urban planning and development. Geographic information systems, smartphone technologies, social media, sensor data (e.g., “the internet of things”) and visualization are covered. Also includes an overview of trends and skills that managers should seek when building teams.
Leading a Collaborative City — 4 units
Provides leadership skills tailored to urban planning and development. Cross-sectoral collaboration, negotiation, theories of organizational leadership, and team building within and across organizations are covered.
Integrating Concepts for Action — 1 unit
A team-based capstone project that focuses on policy aspects of urban planning, immersing students in questions of structural reform that span from projects to broader governance issues.
Intensives take place in person over two four-day periods. They are incorporated into the Executive Master of Urban Planning curriculum to allow students to build hands-on skills and network with peers and faculty in person.
First Required Intensive
Planning and Development Case Study — 1 unit
This course will be half of a four-day in-person intensive. Following on the instruction in Economics of a Productive Development, students will analyze a project and develop recommendations for financing and regulatory issues.
Designing Livable Environments I — 1 unit
This course will be half of a four-day in-person intensive. Students will work in a studio setting, going through a design charrette, visiting a site and developing an understanding of design principles.
Second Required Intensive
Designing Livable Environments II — 1 unit
This course will be half of a four-day in-person intensive. This is the second part of a two-part sequence. Students will build on concepts learned in Designing Livable Environments I, and they will work in a studio setting, going through a design charrette, visiting a site and developing an understanding of design principles.
Communicating Data for Planning and Development — 1 unit
This course will be half of a four-day in-person intensive. Instruction in data presentation and visualization methods will build on concepts introduced in the Big Data course.
Next Application Deadline: October 5
Start building the foundation to make a difference in your community. Apply now.
How Can This Executive Degree Advance Your Urban Planning Career?
USC Price’s online Executive Master of Urban Planning curriculum is designed to bridge the gap between good planning practice and the economics of urban development. Our coursework will equip you with hands-on skills you can use on the job, including the ability to:
navigate between public and private sector planning goals and innovate at the nexus of local public finance, private sector development and urban policy
understand and analyze the economics of urban planning and development projects
leverage available commercial and demographic data to improve decision-making
lead a team in the industry effectively
Our program is tailored so that professionals from outside the planning field can emerge with expertise that matches their peers in this space. It is also a good fit for professional planners who would like to build the expertise to advance and become leaders in the public, non-profit, or private sectors.
Who Can Benefit From an Advanced Degree in Urban Planning?
USC Price’s Executive Master in Urban Planning program can help a variety of professionals advance their careers. Those with expertise in urban planning can go on to work for public organizations like city, county, state or the federal government; metropolitan and regional agencies; and economic development organizations. Graduates may also be ready to work for private firms, such as development or architecture and engineering firms specializing in infrastructure.
Other employers who seek professionals with advanced experience in urban planning include development and law firms, nonprofits and NGOs, educational institutions, and private firms specializing in consulting.
The degree can also benefit those at every level of their career. This includes:
City managers who want to work more effectively with planners and developers
Middle management planners who need to learn more about the link between planning with the development community
Public administrators who need more specialized planning knowledge
Private Sector Developers
Architects who design infill projects or master-planned communities and need a stronger background in the space
Engineers whose work requires a foundation in economics, politics and planning
Senior analysts who need to better understand the complex public approval process
Leaders in Non-Profit and Other Fields
Affordable housing professionals who need more knowledge about navigating the project approvals process and reaching out to stakeholders
Land use attorneys looking to gain deeper understanding of the economics of development
Online Master’s in Urban Planning Admissions
USC Price’s online Executive Master of Urban Planning requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. USC Price values diversity of experience, and the online master’s is designed for rising executives in the industry. Five to seven years of relevant work experience are recommended, but not required, to apply.
No GMAT or GRE scores are required.
During each application period, the admissions team offers an Early Decision deadline, which allows you to receive a decision and start planning for your future sooner, as well as waive the $90 application fee.
“Half of humanity now lives in urban areas. As challenges of sustainability, economic development, human health and democratic governance play out in cities and mega-cities across the globe, urban planners will be the innovators and leaders of the 21st century.”
- Professor Marlon Boarnet, Chair, Department of Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis and Director, Executive Master of Urban Planning Program
Program Delivery: The Online Experience
Our online Executive Master of Urban Planning is designed to deliver the rigor of a USC Price degree with the flexibility to advance your education on a busy schedule. Classes are delivered through our live, face-to-face videoconferencing technology, and coursework is available 24/7 from any connected device. Throughout the urban planning program, we offer academic, career and technical support to help you get acclimated to online learning and reach your career goals.
Request information today to learn more about the online Executive Master of Urban Planning program from USC Price or contact an admissions counselor at 1-855-637-1999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.