The Urban Planning + Design program puts an emphasis on physical planning with community-based projects assigned over the course of the six-semester studio sequence. In the first year, students learn introductory design process, planning analysis and graphic communication. In the second year, planning exercises in studio include an analysis of the parcel and the grid, an international comparison of urbanisms, site planning, elements of the public realm, and planning program design and development. The last year of studio is spent on planning projects for actual clients addressing comprehensive planning and implementation.

Other classes in the core include planning history, planning theory, quantitative methods, land use, environmental planning, GIS, planning law, and a required planning internship as well as foundational courses in the liberal arts. Professional electives include historic preservation, housing, neighborhood and community development, advanced GIS, transportation, urban redevelopment, and digital planning. Students graduate with a portfolio of graphic and written work to show professional employers.

As part of their degree, Urban Planning + Design students are required to complete a 240-hour planning internship. Past internships have included the following employers:

    • Mid-American Regional Council (MARC)
    • City of Kansas City, MO
    • City of Blue Springs, MO
    • City of Lee’s Summit, MO
    • City of Liberty, MO
    • Jackson County, MO
    • City of Leawood, KS
    • City of Overland Park, KS
    • CultivateKC
    • MainCor

Course Description

First year

Urban Planning + Design students start their first year taking survey of the design professions, GIS, and land use. Much of the rest of a typical schedule is filled with General Education and College of Arts and Sciences required courses. Be sure to get College Algebra completed as early as possible. It is also a good idea to begin meeting the foreign language requirements.

Second year

Sophomore urban planning + design students start their studio sequence with a year of environmental design studio. Students take planning history and a planning elective as well. Outside of the AUP+D Department, students take Statistics and Economics. Finishing the College of Arts and Sciences foreign language requirement as well as the lab science requirement is recommended in this year of study.

Third year

Urban Planning + Design students take urban planning + design studio I and II. They also take professional practice I, quantitative methods, an urban social science elective, and planning theory. Students finish their UMKC and Arts and Sciences required courses.

Summer between third and fourth year

Students work at least 240 hours at their planning internship.

Fourth year

Senior-year Urban Planning + Design students take urban planning + design studio III and IV-WI. These studio courses will require projects for an outside client. In the final semester of studio, students will work on a written document for the client. Students also take professional practice II, environmental planning, a planning elective, and planning law. All required courses for the urban planning + design degree, UMKC general education, and the College of Arts and Sciences must be completed in order to graduate.

Major Map

Urban Planning + Design’s Major Map is a detailed, undergraduate four-year course outline that informs students on the classes they should take and when to take them. Your adviser in Urban Planning + Design will develop an individual plan of study tailored to meet your needs.