Master of Community and Regional Planning
MCRP Program Overview
The community and regional planning (CRP) program trains policy-oriented planners for leadership positions in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. The program is ideal for students seeking a challenging education with a strong emphasis on applied learning. The program is very flexible, allowing students to develop a focus based on their career goals or pursue a joint degree in programs such as Environmental Studies, Law, Business, Landscape Architecture or Public Administration.
The CRP program is a professionally accredited master's program that has awarded degrees in planning since 1968. The progressive planning and environmental programs of the State of Oregon and the applied, problem-solving orientation of the CRP program attract an increasing number of students from the U.S. and the Pacific Basin. The two-year degree program enrolls approximately 25-30 students each year.
Careers in Planning
PPPM students graduate with a broad-based planning education that provides a range of employment opportunities in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Examples of graduate careers include:
Public sector jobs (local, state and federal):
• Community development director
• Social services staff
• Impact assessment specialist
• Environmental planner
• Emergency services director
Private sector employers:
• Private developers
• Utility companies
Nonprofit and Research employers:
• Economic development corporations
• Advocacy groups
• Political associations
• State research bureaus
Here are some of the many reasons students choose to study planning at the University of Oregon. Each year we survey first and second year students about the program, and these are their highlights:
Our coursework, faculty and alumni create extensive opportunities to learn about planning issues "on the ground." This is highlighted by the award-winning Community Planning Workshop (CPW) in which students work for real projects with paying clients.
The PPPM students are leaders and active participants in the governance of the department. Starting with the fall retreat, students work to build a community of colleagues through social events, field trips and other activities.
Nationally ranked program
A national study of planning programs rated the University of Oregon 5th in terms of faculty publications. PPPM is a small department with faculty dedicated to teaching and engaged in innovative research. Faculty are friendly and accessible, and often work with masters students to conduct research and co-author articles.
The CRP program offers flexibility, allowing you to choose electives that suit your background and career goals. You can also obtain concurrent degrees with several departments or pursue a Graduate Certificate that serves as a concentration and a second qualification.
Pacific Northwest and Oregon
The Pacific Northwest is not only a beautiful place to live, it is also a place of innovative thinking and governance. It is a leading center for sustainable business and design, and Oregon is recognized internationally for its leadership in land use planning, compact urban development, and collaborative governance.
The Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) has a national reputation for scholarship, excellence in education, and strong professional connections. PPPM is both an academic home and a community of students, professors, staff and alumni. This is best characterized by our orientation for incoming students at a retreat center in the Cascade Mountains. The students are key to this community through student-run organizations, social events, and activities. The department is supported by a dedicated group of alumni, who provide strong links with the professional community.
Located in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts (A&AA), the department hosts three graduate programs:
• Public Administration
• Nonprofit Management
The department maintains strong ties to programs across the campus, including historic preservation, landscape architecture, architecture, environmental studies, international studies, economics, geography, sociology, and political science. The School of Law and Colleges of Business and Education also provide course work and research opportunities important to the professional career preparation of planning students.
Applied Learning Opportunities
Our program emphasizes an education that builds both conceptual skills and applied learning in all of their classes. But we do more than just offer applied examples--we do real work in real communities.
- Community Planning Workshop (CPW) is cited by students as one of their educational highlights. All accredited planning programs require an experiential component, but CPW goes one step furhter. Teams of first year students work on a range of projects supervised by experienced CPW planning professionals. Most importantly, these projects are for paying clients, and student teams engage in "real world" experience working with the cliehnts, conducting surveys and running focus groups or meetings.
- Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) is a cross-campus consortium of faculty who want to improve how cities are built and function. Several MCRP courses are engaged with the Sustainable City Year (SCY) program where courses from ten different disciplines work on projects nominated by city staff, who also visit with classes and host meetings with community members. Between 20-30 classes worked with the City of Gresham in 2009-10, City of Salem in 2010-11, City of Springfield in 2011, and will continue working with all three during the 2012-13 academic year. The program is an exciting way to learn course material and apply new ideas in a real world setting that is desperate for fresh thinking.
The CRP program offers students a range of opportunities to become involved in cutting edge research, and be paid through assistantships or summer internships. Resources include:
The Community Service Center (CSC) conducts applied research in conjunction with its mission to assist Oregon communities through planning and technical assistance. Programs include:
- Oregon Partners for Disaster Resilience (OPDF) assists communities with regional and community natural hazard planning and coordination of community outreach and education.
- Economic Development Administration Center (EDA) is a joint program between CSC, PPPM and the Center for Sustainable Business, which is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Its research and education efforts focus on distressed Oregon communities.
Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) engages students in interdisciplinary research at all levels to balance economic development, environmental sustainability, and policy-relevant research.
Internships and Career Support
Although internships are not required for the MCRP, students are encouraged to gain experience outside of the classroom.
The PPPM Internship Program offers an array of career and professional development services. The internship director provides individual consultations, classroom instruction, resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and announcements of internships. An extensive listing of Internship & Job Resources is regularly updated.
UO Career Center offers a range of internship and job search support services. Located upstairs from the PPPM Department, it maintains databases, offers job search support, and one-on-one consultation.
CRP delivers a broad based curriculum that provides students with theoretical foundations and applied problem-solving skills to plan for a sustainable future. A total of 72 credit hours is required. To see a sample 2-year program, please click on the file below:
1. CORE (36 credits)
PPPM 611, Introduction to Planning Practice (4 credits)
PPPM 612, Legal Issues in Planning (4 credits)
PPPM 613, Planning Analysis I (5 credits)
PPPM 614, Planning Analysis II (5 credits)
PPPM 616, Planning Theory and Ethics (4 credits)
PPPM 617, Human Settlements (4 credits)
PPPM 620, Research Methods in Planning (4 credits)
PPPM 608, Workshop: Computer Applications (2 credits)
One of the following classes addressing design/land use (4 credits):
• PPPM 542 Sustainable Urban Development
• PPPM 545 Green Cities
*Students must complete the equivalent of an advanced undergraduate or graduate-level introductory course in statistics as a pre- or co-requisite to Planning Analysis. No credit toward the M.C.R.P. degree is allowed for the statistics course, and the requirement is waived for students with equivalent courses or work experience. Entering students are urged to satisfy this requirement before enrolling in the program.
2. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (10 credits)
- PPPM 625 & 626, Community Planning Workshop (2-terms required -10 credits)
3. FOCAL AREA (14-19 credits)
• Sustainable Land Use and Built Environment
• Environmental Planning and Policy
• Collaborative Planning and Civic Engagement
• Nonprofit / Philanthropy
• Public Administration and Public Policy
4. SYNTHESIS (7 credits)
The synthesis requires students to conduct an original investigation of a practice-based issue or research question. This provides an opportunity to explore in-depth and gain skills in research, analysis, and writing. Most students interested in a professional career choose a Terminal Project, but a research advisor can help make the final decision.
• PPPM 609, Terminal Project (4 credits minimum) or
• PPPM 503, Thesis (9 credits minimum)
CRP students are assigned a provisional academic advisor prior to their enrollment, but students are free to change academic advisors. They should confirm the change with their new advisors and submit a Change of Advisor form. CRP advising includes:
- Individual Advising: Each first year MCRP student is strongly recommended to regularly meet with their advisor to discuss their progress and the selection of electives.
- Group advising: MCRP students are invited to participate in group advising sessions where courses and career strategies are discussed. These sessions are organized topically on the basis of faculty expertise (e.g., environmental planning, community development, regional planning).
- Mid-Program Review: Each MCRP student is requested to meet with his or her advisor before registering for second year fall term courses. The purposes of this meeting are to review student progress and help select a set of focal area elective courses.
Students interested in completing concurrent degrees must be admitted to both programs. The guidelines for the concurrent degree are:
• Students interested in a concurrent degree program must
- apply to both programs, and
- meet with faculty advisors in both programs to develop an academic plan. Usually concurrent degrees decrease the time it takes to complete two separate degrees by at least a year.
• An official concurrent degree program intent form must be completed, approved by both program directors and the Graduate School. The other concurrent course plan form also must be completed and approved by the end of the second year. Linda Dent can answer questions about the credit requirements.
• The CRP program will accept the core courses of the second graduate degree as concentration credits.
• Students completing concurrent graduate programs may be able to have their thesis or terminal project fulfill both degree requirements. This is determined on a case by case basis.
The program has a limited number of teaching and research assistantships, but there are a range of financial aid opportunities for students across campus. Approximately forty percent of the students graduating from the community and regional planning program receive financial support from one or more sources. Financial aid options include:
Graduate Teaching Gellowships (GTFs)
- PPPM offers teaching, research and administrative GTF positions which include tuition waivers and a small salary. The positions are posted on the student list serve in the spring for the following year. All enrolled PPPM students are invited to apply.
- Many PPPM students hold GTFs around the university. PPPM students have traditionally been successful in obtaining these positions because of their professional experience and degree background. See here.
Other Sources of Support
- Individuals who are selected for and complete a full-time 11-month term of service through the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) program obtain a living stipend, medical insurance, education award, and may apply for in-state residency. RARE members are not UO students and it is not feasible to concurrently participate in RARE and pursue the MCRP. Those who successfully complete RARE and are admitted to the MCRP program will also receive 9 graduate credits.
- Students in need of financial aid are encouraged to apply for work-study support or loans by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available January 1, click here
- For additional information on funding sources, see the Financial Aid section of the PPPM web page, here.
Diversity Building Scholarships
PPPM strongly encourages applications from people of all backgrounds. We are dedicated to fostering an academic environment that will prepare our students to flourish in diverse communities found both locally and abroad. We recognize that a diverse student body brings multiple perspectives (e.g., cultural, historical, spiritual, political, etc.) that enhance the curriculum and offer various sources for learning. We also recognize that a familiarity and comfort with diverse viewpoints, backgrounds, and real-life experiences will help produce better future public leaders. The University of Oregon offers Diversity Building Scholarships for graduate students who are US citizens. For more information and the current year application, go to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, here.
Application to the CRP program at the University of Oregon is very competitive. Great importance is placed on the student's preference for and ability to undertake self-directed educational activity. The admissions committee emphasizes candidates who present clear and specific statements of the reasons for choosing to pursue their graduate work in planning at the University of Oregon. The committee also values applicants with some work experience, particularly if it is related to planning.
Life in Eugene
Known as a city with great arts and outdoor recreation, Eugene is the 3rd largest city in Oregon. Eugene combines the relaxed amenities of a small town with the cultural advantages of a much larger city. Eugene has a mild climate with an average temperature of 54 degrees. Winter temperatures usually hover in the 30s and 40s, while summers range in the 80s to 90s. Annual rainfall is approximately 45 inches, but almost all of this falls between October and May, leaving dry warm summers.
All of Eugene’s amenities are within easy reach of campus by foot, bike, or bus. More than 100 miles of bicycle paths and jogging trails meander through the city’s riverside parks and rose gardens and into the business and university districts. The city’s bus system provides convenient, and free, transportation to UO students. Eugene’s central location allows easy access to a world of recreational opportunities:
• 15 minutes: fish for trout in a crystal-clear river; hike through lush, fragrant forests; relax in one of the 157 area parks; catch a concert at the world-class Hult Center.
• 60 minutes: walk for miles on pristine public beaches; explore tide pools; watch migrating whales; mountain bike through challenging mountain terrain; float the wild and scenic McKenzie River.
• 90 minutes: challenge yourself on the downhill runs and cross-country trails at Willamette Pass Ski Area; camp beneath the stars or explore clean mountain lakes in Oregon’s wilderness areas.
Detailed application procedures are on the department website here.
For a paper copy to print of this program description click here (PDF)
Find us in the Guide to Undergraduate and Graduate
Education in Urban and Regional Planning
An equal opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request.
This page updated May 17, 2013