Urban Planning + Design Program Earns National Accreditation

Designation attests to program quality, boosts career opportunities for graduates

The Urban Planning + Design program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has earned accreditation from the Planning Accreditation Board, which accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning.

The accreditation became official this year, but alumni who have graduated from the program in December 2016 or later can now claim degrees from an accredited program. That factor is based on the PAB’s official site visit taking place in October 2016.

“We are very pleased that the Planning Accreditation Board has recognized the quality of teaching and learning in our program,” said Michael Frisch, Ph.D., AICP, associate professor and director of the program. “It signifies that our program has been rigorously reviewed by national experts in urban planning, and found to produce graduates who meet the expectations of the planning profession.”

The accreditation has a practical impact for alumni, Frisch explained. Graduates of accredited programs need fewer years of professional experience before they are allowed to sit for the American Institute of Certified Planners examination for individual professional certification. Certification may lead to greater job opportunities and higher pay.

The Urban Planning program is offered through the university’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is an exciting time to be a planner; the rate of change and problems facing our urbanized areas need flexible and creative approaches, and this accreditation demonstrates that graduates of our program are prepared to meet that need,” said Joy D. Swallow, FAIA, chair of the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design. “Our students are trained to think about issues, put them in context and think systematically about how to solve or adapt to future questions.”

Urban Planning + Design at UMKC is a studio-based program in which students learn about cities and design from a hands-on perspective. Students work with community stakeholders to develop and present their plans and designs. By actively engaging the community in the planning process, the program models the cutting edge of professional practice in the field.

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