The Urban Planning program offers students with prior experience the opportunity to pursue exemptions, waivers, and substitutions for various required courses.

It is a student’s responsibility to pursue exemptions in a timely manner. Exemption exams are offered once per year in August. Waiver requests should be submitted, along with all required supporting documentation, in time for approval before the end of the add/drop period in the relevant semester. Note that waiving a course does not reduce the total number of units required for graduation.


Exemption Exams


Exemptions from the courses below, which fill the methods requirement indicated, are granted only on satisfactory performance in an exemption exam.

Analytic Methods Requirement
GSD 5215: Analytic Methods of Urban Planning: Quantitative

Economic Methods Requirement
GSD 5495: Market Analysis and Urban Economics
HKS API-101: Markets and Market Failures

These exams are offered once per year in August. You must contact the department office in order to arrange to take these exams and to obtain access to study materials.

Analytic Methods (Quantitative) Exemption Exam

GSD 5215: Analytic Methods of Urban Planning: Quantitative
Professor Michael Hooper
Next exam: August 2017 TBD
Location: TBD

Students will have up to 3 hours to complete the exam, which will cover all the major topics addressed in the course syllabus, linked below.

In completing the exam, students will be able to consult a statistics book (or books), which they may bring. The recommended resource is the course textbook (any edition will do). The course textbook will also be helpful should you want to review before the exam:

  • Healey, J. F. (2009). Statistics: A Tool for Social Research (8th ed.), Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

Students should also bring a laptop with wireless accessibility so that they can access a dataset that will be emailed to students. If possible, students should also have Excel (with Analysis TookPak) loaded onto their computer so that they can carry out basic statistical functions. If you have a Mac, you may prefer to use another Excel add-in, such as AnalystSoft StatPlus. If students have, and wish to use, a more advanced statistics program, that is also acceptable.

Study materials, including sample syllabus, lecture notes, and problem sets can be found on an access restricted drive.

Economic Methods Requirement Exemption Exam

GSD 5495: Market and Market Failure
HKS API-101: Markets and Market Failure
Professor Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez
Next exam: August 2017 TBD
Location: TBD

Students will have up to 2 hours to complete the exam.

We encourage any student who has taken microeconomics in the past and feels relatively comfortable with the subject to take the exemption exam—there is no sense in wasting your time studying material you already know. Those who were undergraduate economics majors should definitely take the exam, and those who have had more than one microeconomics course should seriously consider it. However, if you have had only one microeconomics course and did not do very well you probably should take a course rather than exempt. If you are uncertain, look at the course syllabi from previous years and the practice exams to see if the topics are familiar, all linked below.

If you do not pass the exemption exam you should plan on taking one of the pre-approved courses to fill this requirement. Check the MUP Degree Requirements for these courses.

Study materials, including sample syllabi and exams can be found on an access restricted drive.

Contact the department office for more information, to arrange to take an exam, and to get access to study materials.




If you believe you have already taken coursework that might qualify you to exempt out of any other required courses, you must request a waiver from the faculty member overseeing that content area. Waivers must also be approved by the Program Director.

Use the linked petitions to request a waiver from any of the following courses. Note that additional documentation must also be submitted.

GSD 2129: Spatial Analysis and the Built Environment
GSD 4115: History and Theory of Urban Interventions
GSD 5103: Public and Private Development
GSD 5216: Analytic Methods of Urban Planning: Qualitative




Several alternate courses across the university have been identified that can be taken during a student’s time at the GSD to meet some of their program requirements. Please refer to the MUP Degree Requirements for up-to-date information on these preapproved substitutions.
To seek approval for a substitute course not already listed in the degree requirements document, use the the following form:

Petition to Substitute an Alternate Course Satisfying a Methods Requirement