Urban planning is a professional field concerned with addressing the health and welfare of communities. Planners are problem-solvers. They must be able to deal with both short- and long-range planning and projects large and small. Planners seek to enhance overall quality of life by addressing aspects of communities such as housing, land use, transportation, and responsible development that preserves the natural environment.
- Protecting the environment
- Serving the public
- Housing people
- Creating transportation choices
- Pursuing sustainability
- Preserving history
- Attending to resilience and hazard mitigation
- Fostering economic development, and
- Crafting great communities
Good urban planning creates communities that offer better choices for living. Planners help people make their communities more convenient, healthful, efficient, fair and attractive. Good planning improves the welfare of people and communities in the present and for the future.
If you are curious to learn more about what planning is, the American Planning Association is a great resource.
Professional planners work with civic leaders, residents, nonprofits and businesses to develop new solutions to community problems. They help leaders envision the direction their community will grow and find the right balance of new development and services, environmental protection, and innovative change.
Planners come from many different backgrounds, but they all have a big-picture view of the world. They like to solve problems. They are leaders who enjoy helping diverse groups of people reach solutions. They believe in positive social, economic, and environmental change.
If you are curious about whether planning is the right career path for you, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning has helpful resources.
A Master of Urban Planning degree opens doors to careers in environmental conservation, housing, economic development, sustainability, historic preservation, land use, transportation planning, real estate development, and many other areas. State, county and city governments, as well as, consulting and nonprofit agencies employ planners. There are planning jobs in such areas as healthcare delivery, criminal justice, education, public finance, public policy and management, law negotiation, infrastructure planning, and consulting.
KU's Master of Urban Planning is an accredited, professional degree oriented towards excellence for planning practice. It is the normal academic qualification for planning and planning-related positions. Our graduates excel in careers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
● Offers subject matter that reflects the state of the art of policy planning and analysis, planning education, and planning practice.
● Provides a curriculum flexible enough to respond to the emerging needs of society and the planning profession.
● Gives students applied skills needed for entry-level professional positions, as well as the fundamentals of theory and methods that will enable them to move up to higher positions or pursue advanced study.
● Assists students in developing personal qualities essential to be an effective professional planner, such as creativity, common sense, judgment, integrity, initiative, and the ability to work amicably and effectively with others.
Please also see our 'Top Ten Reasons to Love KU Urban Planning'.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
If you are a current KU undergraduate the following are classes you may wish to take to see if planning is right for you:
- UBPL 200 Sustainability and Society
- UBPL 300 Planning the American City
- UBPL 522 History of the American City I
- UBPL 538 Environmental Planning Techniques
- UBPL 565 Introduction to Sustainable Land Use Planning
For further detail regarding the content of these courses, please see the full course listing.
The KU Urban Planning Department granted its first master’s degree in 1975. Since that time, more than 550 “Jayhawk Planners” have graduated. We take pride in being a small, student-centered program, where faculty members strive to provide a cutting-edge curriculum that is responsive to student interests and needs. Thomas Galloway was the founding chair of the urban planning program at KU. As a professor, Galloway pushed students to understand the present by seeking out different social, cultural, environmental, ideological, and philosophical points of view. He encouraged students to go out into the world and change it with a sense of responsibility and humility.