University of Oregon

Planning, Public Policy and Management

Frequently Asked Questions, MCRP Program

Grad Degrees.1 / Interdisciplinary.2 / Real-world Experience.3 / Concurrent Degrees.4 /

Employment Prospects.5 / Dept. Support for Employment.6 / Field of Interest.7 /

Financial Aid.8 / First-Year GTFs.9 / The MCRP Student Experience.10 / Life in Eugene.11 /

Combining Work and Study.12 / Advising.13 / Letters of Recommendation.14


  1. What graduate degrees are offered in the PPPM department?

The PPPM department offers three graduate-level degrees:

Master of Community and Regional Planning
Master of Public Administration
Master of Nonprofit Management

The department also offers two graduate certificates:

Certificate in Nonprofit Management
Oregon Leadership in Sustainability Certificate Program (not available in 2015-16)


2.  Can I take classes in other departments?

Core classes are taken within the department, but students are encouraged to take classes outside of the department. In fact, we find professors in other departments welcome our students because of the interdisciplinary perspective they bring to class. In some cases PPPM has a standing relationship with an instructor and in others students must make their own arrangements for enrolling in a class outside of the department. There is no requirement for how many credits must be earned in the department.



  1. Does the MCRP program offer opportunities for real-world experience?

Absolutely. Equipping our students with the skills they need to become highly-qualified, successful professionals is our program’s priority. MCRP offers a variety of opportunities for students to gain the experience they need, beginning right from the start. Coursework includes:

Sustainable City Year Program: SCYP links students with an Oregon city to tackle a planning problem the city identifies. Students produce a report and presentation for the city’s consideration.

Community Planning Workshop: CPW is an experiential program where students work in teams to develop proposals, conduct research, analyze and evaluate alternatives and make recommendations for possible solutions to planning problems in Oregon communities. CYP is typically taken winter and spring term in the first year.

The program is designed for students to have the flexibility to pursue jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities while earning their degree if desired.


  1. May I earn another degree at the same time as my MCRP?

Yes. PPPM offers a wide range of dual degrees within the department and with programs in Law, Business, Environmental Studies, Ecological Design, Political Science, Geography, Art and Administration, Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture, and many others.

Concurrent degree information for new students. Current graduate students please email the department.

  • Students interested in concurrent degrees must (1) apply and be accepted to both programs and (2) meet with faculty advisors in both programs to develop an academic plan.
  • An official concurrent degree program intent form must be completed, approved by both program directors and the Graduate School.
  • The MCRP program will accept the core courses of the second graduate degree as Field of Interest courses.
  • 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.

  1. What jobs do graduates from this program have after graduating?

Many of our students graduate with jobs in the public, private and nonprofit sector. Our students find jobs as local government land use planners, community development directors, environmental planners, planning consultants, or at nonprofits focused on advocacy, politics or research. Some of our recent graduates secured the following positions:

Community Planner: National park Service, Denver, CO
Planner 2: Oregon Department of Transportation, Bend, OR
Assistant Planner: Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle, WA
Project Manager: Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, The Dalles, OR
Planner: Consulting firms in South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, CA; Honolulu, HI, and Portland, OR
Environmental Planner: CH2MHill, Portland Oregon
Program Associate: Sonoran Institute, Phoenix, AZ


  1. What kind of support does PPPM give to students for seeking internships and employment?

The PPPM Department is dedicated to supporting our students achieve their career goals. Professional development class begins during orientation week and continues through the first term.  Each student learns how to write a professional resume and cover letter.  Internship Director Rhonda Smith brings her background in career development and human resources to prepare students for successful job searches.  She understands the competitive selection process and offers the following resources:

  • Online internship and job resources
  • Resume and cover letter reviews
  • Interviewing and job offer negotiation workshops
  • Mock interviews

2013 Graduate: “The PPPM internship director (Rhonda Smith) was instrumental in helping me find my position. She taught me how to tailor my resume, write individualized cover letters, prepared potential interview questions and conducted mock interviews with me. It was genuinely a team effort.”

2013 Graduate: “I landed my dream! job due to her continual support through the job application process, from reviewing and commenting on my resume and cover letter (many, many times!), to scrutinizing and interpreting an interview offer email from my prospective employer, to setting up mock interviews, to helping me strategize about negotiations when I was offered the job. And those are only the biggest highlights.”

  1. What is a Field of Interest?

MCRP students do not have formal concentrations, but students will work with their faculty advisor to identify a Field of Interest. The Field of Interest generally consists of 20 credits. Students may take elective courses within and outside of the department to meet this requirement. The following Fields of Interest are particularly well-developed in the PPPM department:

  • Community Development
  • Sustainable Land Use and Built Environment
  • Environmental Planning and Policy
  • Collaborative Planning and Civic Engagement
  • Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy
  • Sustainable Urban Development
  • Public Administration and Public Policy


  1. What types of financial aid are available and how do I apply for financial aid?

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 MCRP program receive financial support from one or more sources. Financial aid options include:

  • Graduate Teaching Fellowships (GTFs): PPPM offers research and administrative GTF positions which include tuition waivers and a small stipend. The positions are posted on the student listserv in the spring for the following year. All enrolled PPPM students are invited to apply.
  • Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE): RARE is an AmeriCorps program dedicated to serving rural areas of Oregon. Individuals who are selected for and complete a full-time 11-month term of service through RARE earn a stipend, medical insurance, education award, and may qualify for in-state residency. RARE members are not students and it is not feasible to concurrently participate in RARE and persue the MCRP. Those who successfully compete RARE and are admitted to the MCRP program will receive nine graduate credits that can be applied to the internship requirement for the MCRP degree.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Students in need of financial aid are encouraged to apply for work-study support or loans by submitting the FAFSA. Students and families may now submit their FAFSA in October instead of waiting until January for the following school year. Also, you can use the Prior-Prior-Year taxes to complete the FAFSA.

You can find more information about financial aid here.



  1. Are first-year students eligible for Graduate Teaching Fellowships (GTFs)?

Yes. PPPM has a limited number of GTFs to offer students in all programs of the department and positions are highly competitive. Incoming PPPM students will receive an email during winter or spring term about how to apply for the departmental GTFs. PPPM students are very successful at obtaining administrative GTFs throughout the university too. Visit for current GTF listing and check back often as listings may change.


  1. What is it like to be a MCRP student?

The PPPM department strives to create a sense of community among all of its students. First-year students begin their studies with a student-led retreat to the Cascade Mountains where they learn about the program and meet faculty and fellow students. Incoming students are assigned a second-year student “buddy” who can offer support and answer questions throughout the term. Small class sizes encourage questions and discussion of course material. Our community supports students during their time at the University, but also a professional network that you may continue to interact with throughout your career. 



  1. What is it like living in Eugene, Oregon?

Eugene combines the relaxed amenities of a small town with the cultural advantages of a much larger city. The city is well known for arts, outdoor recreation, and food. The city offers a vibrant downtown and access to mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking within a few-hours’ drive.

The climate is typically mild, between the 30s and 40s in the winter and 80s to 90s in the summer. The rainy season is between October and May, but summer months are warm and dry, perfect for enjoying outdoor activities.

Many students travel to campus by foot, bike, or bus. The bus system is free for University of Oregon students. Miles of bike paths, trails, and greenways offer great cycling and walking routes through the city. 


  1. Can I pursue the MCRP degree while working?

The MCRP program is designed to be completed while studying full time. In particular, during the first year there may be terms in which connected or sequential classes require a heavy credit load. There is more flexibility in the second year. Some students with flexible work schedules have been able to complete it while working full time. Many students hold part-time jobs on and off campus while completing the program.



  1. Do I need to identify an advisor before applying to the program?

Prospective students and applicants are not required to identify a possible advisor before beginning the program. However, prospective students are welcome to contact faculty with questions about the program. The best opportunity to meet faculty and staff are during one of our graduate open houses. MCRP students are assigned a provisional academic advisor prior to enrollment, but students are free to change academic advisors at any time. The Department wants students to succeed academically and provide a range of advising support:

  • Individual advising: Each first year MCRP student is strongly recommended to regularly meet with their advisor to discuss their general 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 (ex. 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 field of interest courses.


  1. Who should I ask for my letters of recommendation?

MCRP is an academic program that emphasizes development of professional skills. The selection committee considers both academic and professional achievement and experience. The selection committee prefers to have at least one letter of recommendation from a former professor to illustrate a student’s academic achievements.



This page updated November 20, 2013