A candidate will be recommended for the MUP degree upon satisfactory completion of 80 units, normally completed as 20 units of required and elective courses each term. Lecture and seminar courses are usually four units, studios are usually eight units. Over the two years, students must take 28 units of core studio and required lecture courses, 12 units satisfying three Methods Requirements (Analytic Methods, Economic Methods, and Law and Institutions Methods), 12 units satisfying one of the Areas of Concentration, and 8 units of project-based learning (an option studio, an independent thesis, or two 4-unit pre-approved project-based courses). Students complete the remainder of the program with elective courses and, if they choose, additional studio or project-based options.
Current students should refer to the current MUP Degree Requirements based on their date of matriculation.
At the beginning of each year, students are assigned a faculty advisor with whom they discuss curricular schedules and other academic matters. Concurrent and joint degree students must consult the rules governing such programs for additional information on curricular requirements.
- 8 units GSD 1121 First Term Core Urban Planning Studio
- 4 units GSD 2129 Spatial Analysis and the Built Environment
- 8 units Courses satisfying Methods Requirements, Area of Concentration Requirement, Project-Based Learning Requirement, and/or electives. We most strongly recommend you fulfill the analytical methods requirement in the first semester. *
- 8 units GSD 1122 Second Term Core Urban Planning Studio
- 4 units GSD 4115 Histories and Theories of Urban Interventions
- 4 units GSD 5103 Public and Private Development
- 4 units Courses satisfying Methods Requirements, Area of Concentration Requirement, Project-Based Learning Requirement, and/or electives *
- 8 units Option Studio or elective courses
- 12 units Courses satisfying Methods Requirements, Area of Concentration Requirement, Project-Based Learning Requirement, Thesis Preparation, and/or electives *
- 8 units Option Studio or Independent Thesis or elective courses
- 12 units Courses satisfying Methods Requirements, Area of Concentration Requirement, Project-Based Learning Requirement, and/or electives *
* Methods Requirements: Students must take four units of courses within each of the three methods requirements for a total of 12 units, unless they are able to demonstrate sufficient experience to waive the requirement or pass an exemption exam. Exemption exams are generally offered only once a year, before the start of the semester in which the required course takes place. Waiver requests should be submitted, with all required supporting documentation, in time for approval before the end of the add/drop period in the relevant semester.
Area of Concentration Requirement: Students must satisfy the area of concentration requirement by grouping together 12 units of elective courses that together provide a deeper engagement with a specific subject area of urban planning. Core studios and required courses, methods requirements courses, independent thesis, and option studios (other than for the Urban Design area of concentration) may not be used to satisfy the area of concentration requirement.
Project-Based Learning Requirement: MUP students must fulfill a minimum of 8 units through intensive, project-based learning experiences. These can take the form of an option studio (8 units), an independent thesis (8 units), or a total of 8 units in approved project-based classes or independent studies under faculty supervision (e.g. in a research lab). A project-based course has a substantial amount of the assignment load (40% or more) comprising an applied, real-world, project for an external client; the only exception is a project conducted under close faculty supervision in a research lab. Those interested in more theoretical or conceptual projects should do a thesis.
Four terms of full-time study in residence are normally required for award of the degree. Under special circumstances, students may receive permission to reduce their course loads and extend their studies over a longer period of time. Concurrent and joint degree candidates must consult the rules governing concurrent and joint degrees for information on residency requirements.
Please note that the MUP program is now designated as a STEM program making international MUP graduates eligible to extend their F-1 visas for up to three years in order to work in the United States.
The Master of Urban Planning (MUP) program, combined with practical experience and the AICP exam, leads to professional certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners. Harvard has not determined whether the program meets the educational requirements for professional licensure in any state other than Massachusetts.