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 following the process outlined by your your program coordinator, 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 Exam

Exemption from the course below, which fills the Analytic Methods Requirement, is granted only on satisfactory performance in an exemption exam.

GSD 5215: Analytic Methods of Urban Planning: Quantitative

This exam is offered once per year in August. You must contact the department office in order to arrange to take the exam 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: Friday, August 30, Time 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

Choose one of the following courses to fulfill the economic methods degree requirement:

  • GSD SES 5339: Economic Development in Urban Planning (4 units)
  • GSD SES 5495: Market Analysis and Urban Economics (4 units)
  • GSD SES 5203: Economics for Planners (4 units)
  • HKS API 101: Markets and Market Failures (4 units, several sections with different emphases)
  • HKS API 105: Markets and Market Failures with Cases  (4 units, not offered every year)
  • HKS API 135: Fundamentals of Environmental Economics and Policy (4 units, prerequisite: introductory economics)
  • HKS DEV-210: Public Finance in Theory and Practice (4 units)
  • HKS MLD 410: State and Local Finance (4 units)
  • HKS API 102: Economic Analysis of Public Policy (4 units, prerequisite: API 101 or equivalent, several sections with different emphases)
  • Alternate course as approved by the program director


If you believe you have already taken coursework that might qualify you to exempt out of any other required courses, you must submit a petition and supporting documentation. Waivers are reviewed and approved by the course instructor and also by the Program Director.

Beginning summer 2019 there is a formal online process to request a waiver from a required course. Please reach out to your Program Coordinator to request the link to the online petition forms.


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 pre-approved 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