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Urban Planning and Development, M.S.

Urban planning students

Saint Louis University's M.S. in Urban Planning and Development teaches students the essential knowledge, skills and values central to the planning and development professions.

Intimate classes emphasize skill-building, discussion and debate. The curriculum's professional focus allows you to develop the knowledge and skills you need to become a leader in supporting urban growth and revitalization.

Curriculum Overview

Students can pursue the 36-credit degree in urban planning and development on a full- or part-time basis. Students who attend full time can complete the degree in three semesters. Those who attend part-time, with a minimum participation of six credits per semester, can complete the degree in six semesters. 

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Faculty and students in SLU’s urban planning and development program have been involved in almost $2 million in funded research, including projects for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Rivers Greenway, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, City of St. Louis, and various other regional, state and local entities. 

Our Community Planning Lab provides students with additional exciting internship opportunities to work on local projects like community impact assessments and comprehensive plans. Students graduate with a solid record of planning experience that translates into competitive job opportunities.


Graduates of SLU's master's degree in urban planning and development program work across the public, private and nonprofit sectors holding jobs with state, regional and municipal governments, planning consulting firms, real estate development companies, community development corporations, and economic development organizations, to name a few.

The typical graduate is employed in the profession within three months of graduation; nearly 100% of our alumni report being employed within six months. A few of the organizations where our alumni find jobs include:

Public Sector  

  • America's Central Port
  • City of Dallas, Texas
  • City of Ferguson
  • City of St. Louis
  • City of Webster Groves
  • East-West Gateway Council of Governments
  • Chicago Transit Authority

Private Sector    

  • Development Strategies Consulting
  • PGVA (Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets, Inc.) architecture, design and planning firm
  • U.S. Bank Corp
  • McCormack Baron Salazar Developers
  • Greenstreet Developers

Nonprofit Sector  

  • Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis
  • Park Central Development Corp.
  • Washington University Redevelopment Corp.
  • Regional Arts Commission

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants should possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.  

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee $65
  • Transcript(s)
  • Two letters of recommendation (one academic, one professional)
    • One academic letter from a professor who has evaluated academic performance in the classroom.
    • One professional letter from a supervisor who has evaluated your work in the field or related volunteer experience.
    • If you have been out of school five or more years, you may submit two professional letters.
    • If you are entering the program directly from an undergraduate program, you can submit two academic letters.
  • Résumé
  • Professional Statement

Requirements for International Students

The M.A. in Urban Planning and Development requires a TOEFL score of 92 or higher.

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadlines

Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed for admissions until August 1. 

Review Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The admissions committee considers several factors to determine a candidate's eligibility:

  • Academic achievement
  • Strength of the undergraduate program
  • Application information
  • Professional statement
  • Work experience
  • Any graduate degrees earned
  • Motivation
  • Leadership and service
  • The undergraduate GPA is weighted with other criteria in the admissions process

Financial Aid

We recognize that when choosing to continue your education, cost can be a concern. To help ease that decision, we have identified the following financial aid resources.

FAFSA and Other Resources

All incoming students should complete the application for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A step-by-step guide to submitting your FAFSA is available online. Saint Louis University Student Financial Services provides a Graduate Financial Aid Handbook that outlines the process of financing your graduate education.

The following links to resources in Saint Louis University Student Financial Services may also be helpful:


New and continuing students are eligible for merit-based scholarships. Prospective students will be automatically screened for scholarship eligibility. No additional application is required; awards are based on information provided in the admission application.

Please note that the terms of the scholarship are subject to change if the student petitions for a degree transfer or fails to remain in good academic standing.


The Doerr Fellowship for Equity and Inclusion is a full-tuition fellowship funded by the School of Social Work for new and continuing students. A separate application is required with a deadline of March 1 (https:// This fellowship requires that recipients serve as members of the School of Social Work's Equity and Inclusion Committee. Recipients will also be expected to actively participate in the diversity, equity and inclusion activities sponsored throughout the year by the Doerr Center.

Newly accepted master's or doctoral students and students in the first year of a program are eligible to apply for a University-wide Diversity, Dissertation or Presidential fellowship. You must first submit the full application minus the nomination letter to the School of Social Work by Jan. 2 to be considered for nomination. Find more details on application components here. Completed applications including all application components minus the nomination letter  should be submitted as a PDF to

Graduate Assistantships

By filling out a graduate assistantship application, you will automatically be considered for a full or partial graduate assistantship with the School of Social Work. Assistantships are appointed for one year. Students must reapply to be considered for a second year and there are no guarantees that recipients will receive subsequent/continuing assistantships.

Full graduate assistantships are University-funded assistantships (UFA) awarded by the School of Social  Work. They are assigned and funded for two semesters, a duration of nine months, 20 hours per week, working with designated faculty. Most full assistantships are assigned to help faculty with research (GRA) and a small number may be assigned to assist with administrative work (GA), or faculty teaching (GTA).

The full graduate assistant works with one or two faculty members, depending on faculty needs. Time is divided between both faculty mentors if the student is assigned two. Students who receive a fully-funded UFA in one year may not receive a UFA in subsequent years, although they remain eligible for partial assistantships throughout their pursuit of a graduate degree in the School of Social Work.

Partial graduate assistantships are funded and awarded by the School of Social Work. They are assigned and funded for two semesters, a duration of nine months, 8-16 hours per week, working with assigned faculty. Partial assistantships may be assigned to assist with administrative work (GA), research (GRA), or faculty teaching (GTA). Depending on the hours assigned, tuition benefits will differ; health insurance and stipends are not awarded with partial assistantships.

Other Funding for Current Students

Current students may be eligible for conference/training funding, graduate assistantships and scholarships. 

  1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the history, theory, administration, law and politics of planning and apply that knowledge to the problems of planning systems.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply analytical techniques and spatial reasoning to planning problems and systems.
  3. Graduates will be able to analyze ethical implications of planning practice.
  4. Graduates will be able to employ clear and concise oral and written communication.
  5. Graduates will be able to demonstrate culturally competent practice in their engagement with local communities. 
UPD 5000Foundations of Planning3
UPD 5010Planning & Development Theory3
UPD 5020Land Use Planning & Analysis3
UPD 5030Land Use Law3
UPD 5120Planner's Use of Information3
UPD 5200Local Economic Development Policy & Practice3
UPD 5220Infrastructure & Plan Implementation3
UPD 5500Real Estate Finance3
UPD 5900Planning & Development Studio3
UPD 5960Capstone2
UPD 5910Internship1
Select 6 credits in collaboration with advisor.6
Total Credits36

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Standard Track (full-time student)

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
UPD 5000 Foundations of Planning 3
UPD 5010 Planning & Development Theory 3
UPD 5120 Planner's Use of Information 3
UPD 5220 Infrastructure & Plan Implementation 3
UPD 5020 Land Use Planning & Analysis 3
UPD 5030 Land Use Law 3
UPD 5200 Local Economic Development Policy & Practice 3
UPD 5900 Planning & Development Studio 3
Elective Chosen from UPD or SW with Advisor Approval 3
Year Two
UPD 5500 Real Estate Finance 3
Elective Course chosen with advisor 3
UPD 5910 Internship 1
UPD 5960 Capstone 2
 Total Credits36

Standard Track (part-time student)

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
UPD 5000 Foundations of Planning 3
UPD 5120 Planner's Use of Information 3
UPD 5020 Land Use Planning & Analysis 3
UPD 5030 Land Use Law 3
Year Two
UPD 5010 Planning & Development Theory 3
UPD 5500 Real Estate Finance 3
UPD 5200 Local Economic Development Policy & Practice 3
Elective Course chosen with advisor 3
Year Three
UPD 5220 Infrastructure & Plan Implementation 3
Elective Course chosen with Advisor 3
UPD 5900 Planning & Development Studio 3
UPD 5960 Capstone 2
UPD 5910 Internship 1
 Total Credits36

Program Director
Sarah Coffin, Ph.D., AICP
Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Development

Assistant Program Director 
Robert M. Lewis, CeCD, FAICP, Assistant Professor

Admissions Contacts
School of Social Work Admissions Office