Community Planning (CMPL)

Graduate Degree Program
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation


The Urban Studies and Planning Program offers graduate study leading to the Master of Community Planning (MCP) degree. (The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, in which the MCP program is located, offers a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design -- see URPD for details). The MCP Program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Dual Masters degrees in Planning and Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation, and Planning and Landscape Architecture are offered. There is a transfer of credit agreement with the School of Law on the Baltimore campus as part of a joint JD and MCP program. There is also a cooperative program with the PhD program in Policy Sciences at the UMBC campus. Entering students have diverse academic backgrounds, such as architecture, fine arts, English, history, business, geography, sociology, economics, and political science. The Program’s faculty specialize in metropolitan and regional planning, housing, transportation planning, environmental and land use planning, social policy, quantitative planning methods, urban design, and economic development planning. Employment opportunities remain strong for graduates in a highly competitive field. The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region offers diverse employment potential in urban planning and program management in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Financial Assistance

Aside from student loans through the university, MCP students are eligible to apply for graduate assistantships with URSP and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. MCP applicants who are also Peace Corps veterans are eligible to apply for the Shriver Peaceworker fellowship program that is administered by the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Please note that competition is high for these financial awards. The program also maintains a list of internships, and many of our students work in part- or full-time jobs while completing the program. Program classes are scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to accommodate our working students.


Clara E Irazábal Zurita, Arch., M.Sc., M.Arch., Ph.D.
Program Director
Urban Studies and Planning Program
School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation
1244 Architecture Building
3835 Campus Drive
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Telephone: 301.405.6290

Courses: URSP

Relationships: Architecture (ARCH)

General Requirements

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • Writing Samples (optional, up to 3)
  • Portfolio PDF Upload (optional)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (optional)

The application process consists of the following:

  • First, fill out the on-line application for the University of Maryland Graduate School. The administrative code for the Community Planning program is "CMPL."
  • Second, submit all transcripts, three professional letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, resume, official GRE test scores, and portfolio as part of the application.

All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. There is no restriction on the applicants’ previous field of study, and indeed we encourage diversity in all senses

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall Deadline Spring Deadline
Domestic Applicants
US Citizens and Permanent Residents July 18, 2025 December 13, 2024
International Applicants
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas; A, E, G, H, I and L visas and immigrants March 14, 2025 September 13, 2024


Program Website:
Application Process:

The University of Maryland is an excellent location for the pursuit of community planning, and graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities. The university is eight miles from the incomparable library and research facilities of Washington, D.C. In the nations’s capital, UMCP graduate students have access to, among other resources, the Library of Congress, the specialized collections of professional associations and international organizations, and agencies at all levels of government. The College Park campus is a 45-minute drive from Baltimore City, whose planning programs have gained national attention. At least two planning studio courses are offered each year, in either Baltimore, the Washington metropolitan area, or an international setting. Baltimore city and Washington, D.C. are ideal laboratories for students interested in research on urban issues and planning.

Urban Studies and Planning is one of five graduate degree programs in the University’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The School administers the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, which involves faculty and graduate students from several campus units in: multi-disciplinary research on the fiscal, environmental and social impacts of alternative development patterns; evaluation of growth management strategies (with a focus on Maryland’s Smart Growth programs); technical assistance to state agencies and local jurisdictions; and training programs for federal program managers and state and local officials.

Last Name First/Middle Name Graduate Faculty Status Academic Credentials Positions
Bierbaum Ariel Full Member BA, University of Pennsylvania, 2000; MCP, 2005; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD, University of California-Berkeley 2016 Assistant Professor, Community Planning
Chengri Ding Full Member B.S., Beijing Normal University, 1986; M.S., Sinica Academy of Sciences, 1989; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1996. Professor, Community Planning
Dawkins Casey Full Member BS, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1995; MCP, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1999; PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003 Professor, Community Planning
Hendricks Marccus Full Member BA, University of North Texas, 2010, MPH, Texas A&M University, 2013; PhD, Texas A&M University, 2017 Assistant Professor, Community Planning
Howell Kathryn L Full Member Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning University of Texas - Austin (2013) Master of Arts in Public Policy Johns Hopkins University (2005) Bachelor of Arts in Political Science University of Georgia (2001) Director, Community Planning
Associate Professor, Community Planning
Irazabal Zurita Clara Full Member BArch, Central University of Venezuala, 1987; MArch, University of California at Berkeley; PhD, University of California at Berkeley, 2002 Director, Community Planning
Professor, Community Planning
Iseki Hiroyuki Full Member Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles Associate Professor, Community Planning
Jourdan Dawn Full Member PhD, Urban and Regional Planning Florida State University 2004 JD, Law and Urban Planning University of Kansas 2000 Bachelor of Science in Social Services and Theatre Arts Bradley University 1996 Dean, Community Planning
Professor, Community Planning
Knaap Gerrit Full Member B.S., Willamette University-Salem, 1978; M.S., University of Oregon, 1982; Ph.D., 1982. Professor, Community Planning
Lung-Amam WIllow Full Member BS Stanford, 2000; MCP University of Maryland, 2007; PhD University of California, Berkeley, 2012 Associate Professor, Community Planning