What do planners do? »

What kind of students enroll? »

Profiles of UPP students
and student work »


Educational background required »

Current job market for planners »

What is the MUPP program? »

Why study planning at UIC? »

Financing my education »

When are classes offered? »

Admissions requirements
and process »


When can I start? »

Who teaches in UPP? »

Transfer of credits »

Career development »

What do planners do?

According to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, planners develop long- and short-term plans to use land for the growth and revitalization of urban, suburban, and rural communities, while helping local officials make decisions concerning social, economic, and environmental problems. In addition, the skills learned in UPP’s MUPP program are broadly applicable to a broad range of careers in non-profit, research, advocacy, and the for-profit sectors.

What kinds of students enroll in your programs?

UPP students are very diverse in their backgrounds and professional goals. Some enter the program directly from their undergraduate programs while others pursue their graduate degree on a part-time basis as they continue with their current employment. Many CUPPA students are beginning a new career in the planning field to build upon their previous professional experiences. Detailed information on applications, acceptance rates, and degrees awarded as well as demographic information on current students, is available in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Guide to Undergraduate and Graduate Education in Urban and Regional Planning.

Are there profiles of students and student work available to view?

MUPP students create exceptional works every semester in courses, internships, and for their Masters Projects and theses. Learn more about our students, what brought them to planning (and UIC's MUPP program), and where they see themselves going, as well as examples of their work. You can also view class projects and Masters Projects.

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What kind of educational background do I need
to become a planner?

Our students have degrees across all academic disciplines. We have students who have undergraduate degrees in planning and students with undergraduate degrees in sciences, social sciences, the humanities, engineering, and the arts. The UPP curriculum is designed to provide you with the core competencies you will need to function effectively as a planner upon graduation.

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What are the current job market and
earnings potential for planners?

Employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Population growth and environmental concerns will drive employment growth for planners in cities, suburbs, and other areas. While planners have traditionally worked in units of local government, job growth is projected to be strongest in the private sector. UPP has been responsive to the need to provide graduates with the skills necessary to work in private planning consultancies with a curriculum focused on developing students for diverse career goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual earnings of urban and regional planners were $65,230 in 2014. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,490, and the top 10 percent earned more than $97,630. Roughly 2 in 3 urban planners worked in local and regional government. In May 2012, the median annual wages for urban and regional planners in the top four industries employing planners were as follows: Architectural, engineering, and related services, $71,010; Management, scientific and technical consulting services, $67,390; State government, excluding education and hospitals, $64,380; Local government, excluding education and hospitals, $63,300.

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What is the MUPP program?

The MUPP degree is a two-year professional degree accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. At our last accreditation site visit, UPP was awarded a full five-year accreditation, effective through 2011. UPP is continually undergoing self-evaluation in order to be responsive to changes in the profession. We are the only school of planning offering an accredited degree in the Chicago area.

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Why should I think about getting my degree from UPP?

Our students are exposed to the wealth of resources in Chicago, a city with a rich history in planning and one that faces many challenges across planning specializations. UPP is one of the largest schools of planning in the country, which provides our students with access to a large and diverse faculty and student body. Our location in Chicago gives us access to highly experienced and recognized practitioners who teach for UPP on an adjunct basis. Our size and access to practitioners as teachers allows us to offer specialized courses such as Historic Preservation, Transportation and Site Planning, and Bicycle Planning that are not available at smaller programs. Recent graduates confirmed that they had developed strong networks among fellow students and faculty that would benefit them in career development. Our graduates also have opportunities for professional development and networking through the hundreds of alumni working throughout Chicago, the country, and the world as planners.

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Is financial aid available?

Financial aid awards through the UPP Program are available to qualified full-time, domestic students who will not be employed when beginning their graduate study. International students must be financially self-sufficient in the first year of study, and may be considered for a graduate assistantship in their second year. Financial aid is available to MUPP and PhD students through fellowship programs and research assistantships.

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When are classes offered?

UPP rotates class so that they alternate between day and evening hours to accommodate both full and part-time students.

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What are the requirements
for admission and the admissions process?

Generally, at least a GPA equivalent to "B" in the last 60 hours of the baccalaureate is required for the MUPP and PhD. There are no specific requirements as to what type of degree. If you meet the priority deadline (January 15th) for fall applications, you will receive a written notice of UPP's admissions recommendation by April 15. Those submitting applications by the March 15 deadline will receive notification by May 1. Shortly after this notice you will receive written confirmation from the Graduate College of their approval of our decision.

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When can I start?

MUPP applicants may apply for admission for the fall or spring semesters. PhD applicants may only apply for admission for the fall semester.

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Who teaches? Part-time or full-time faculty?

In general, full-time faculty teach required core courses and the required sequence within each specialization. UPP's full-time faculty was ranked fifth in productivity in the nation in a study published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research in 2004. The program's full-time faculty is complemented by distinguished adjunct professors who are recognized planning and policy practitioners. Part-time faculty teach courses in their specialties.

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Can I transfer credits?

Students who wish to transfer from other planning schools must apply through the normal application process. A meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies is advised to discuss the transfer of credits. Non-degree students who have been accepted into the degree program will be able to transfer up to 12 credits (three courses) from courses in which grades of "A" and "B" were earned. Also, approval of transfer credits must take place within five years of completing the course. Once admitted as a degree seeking student, please see the UPP Program Office to complete the necessary paperwork.

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Will you help me get a job?

The UPP Program staff assists with career development efforts through UPP Next: A Professional Development Series focused on skills development. UPP annually hosts the Internship Connection, which brings 30+ agencies to campus to conduct individual interviews for internships. The CUPPA Alumni Association also schedules networking and career development events. UPP program staff is available to consult individually on job search strategies.

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