Graduate Catalog
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Divison of City and Regional Planning

Director and Associate Professor

Room 208, McCord Hall
(901) 678-2161

I. The Division of City and Regional Planning in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy offers the Master’s in City and Regional Planning (MCRP) degree. Planning uses a multidisciplinary approach to solve urban and regional problems. As such, planning is concerned with the spatial arrangement and interaction of human activity systems in urbanized areas and enables the arrangement of facilities and programs in an optimal and comprehensive way. As a professional practice, planning is concerned with guiding the growth and development of cities and regions toward desired objectives. Planning increases the effectiveness of public and private decision-making by giving careful consideration to goal formulation, the collection and organization of information and knowledge, and the design of policies and programs. The curriculum is intended to provide the basic knowledge and skills in theory, techniques, methods, and practice. The program is a full member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, and its degree is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.

Program objectives are: (1) mastery of computing and written, oral , and graphical skills; (2) strong sense of professional ethical principles; (3) respect for and understanding of diverse viewpoints, needs, and ideologies, with particular attention to issues related to class, gender, race and ethnicity in urban society; (4) knowledge and skills for urban problem-solving including history and theory of planning processes and practices; administrative, legal, and political aspects of plan making and policy implementation; and synthesis and application of knowledge; (5) knowledge of the structure and function of urban settlements, and (6) knowledge and skills necessary for achieving status as a Certified Planner.

 All graduate students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements) as well as the program requirements of the degree being pursued.

II. MCRP Degree Program

A. Program Admission

  1. Applicants must satisfy the University's Graduate School admission standards and receive favorable endorsement from the planning faculty.
  2. Admission will be based on applicable test scores (GRE or MAT); undergraduate grade point average; previous education and/or experience; and ability to articulate career and education objectives.
  3. In addition to completing the Graduate School application, applicants should also submit the following material directly to the Graduate Program in City & Regional Planning:
    • A personal statement (500 words) describing related background, career objectives and interest in studying planning  at the University of Memphis.
    • Current resume
  4. In order to receive full consideration for Graduate Assistantships, application must be received by April 15.

B. Program Prerequisite

Students are accepted from all undergraduate disciplines and professional areas; however, the department determines if students must do remedial work. Some credit may be granted by the department for remedial work if obtained at the graduate level after entering the program.

C. Program Requirements

The student is required to complete a minimum of 48 semester hours. Twenty-seven (27) hours are taken in the core curriculum and 18 hours are electives that lead to a 3-hour Capstone Project. The eighteen (18) hours of electives allow the student to extend basic knowledge gained in the core curriculum and can include such subjects as economic development planning, urban design, land use and transportation planning, planning information systems, housing, community development planning, planning law, social justice, sustainability, and environmental planning.

The 3-hour Capstone Project, submitted as a written report and orally defended, is required of all majors as a terminal experience designed to demonstrate a student’s mastery of planning process and substance.

The comprehensive examination must be successfully completed at the end of the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

D. Transfer of Credits

The Director may recommend to the Graduate School credit for planning course-work successfully completed at other institutions but not to exceed 12 semester hours. For those students formerly enrolled in graduate planning programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, a maximum of 24 hours in planning course-work may be approved. Credit previously earned at another institution must be presented for evaluation not later than the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment.


In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:
PLAN 7610-7620. Special Topics in City and Regional Planning. (3). Topics vary and are announced in the online class listing.

Core Curriculum

PLAN 7000 - Planning the American City (3)
Introduces the origins, evolution, and current state of American city planning. Examines the role planners play in promoting more sustainable, vibrant, and just towns, cities, and regions. Reviews critical issues confronting professionals engaged in such areas of specialization as: land use, site planning, urban transportation, affordable housing, community development, capital budgeting, and urban design.

PLAN 7002 - Planning Theory & Perspectives (3)
Theories of city planning with emphasis on decision-making, managing change and evaluating influence. Explores the multiple frameworks and theories that underpin approaches to planning and policy interventions.

PLAN 7004 - Land Use Controls (3)
Methods of regulating land use, including zoning, subdivision controls, and growth management techniques; legal framework for planning, including enabling legislation, local ordinances, and significant judicial decisions.

PLAN 7006 - Comprehensive Planning Studio (3)
Individual and group practice in collection, analysis, and presentation of field data on selected planning problems. Client-based field course that requires the synthesis and application of knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired in the core planning curriculum. PREREQUISITE: PLAN 7000, PLAN 7012, and PLAN 7202 or permission of the instructor.

PLAN 7007 - Project Planning Studio (3)
Application of skills and competencies toward implementation strategies for specific planning project(s) typically identified in a preceding Comprehensive Planning Studio course. Programs, urban design proposals, etc. will address critical issues affecting local communities and integrate ecological, environmental, economic, social, historical, and cultural perspectives. PREREQUISITE: PLAN 7006 or permission of the instructor.

PLAN 7008 - Site Planning (3)
Principles and methods of preparing site plan for development project with an emphasis on sustainable urban and regional form; techniques of determining suitability/sustainability of site resources and compatibility of land uses; use of GIS and CAD software in site planning and design; site impact analysis, development regulations, and site plan review procedures.

PLAN 7011 - Planning & the Metro Economy (3)
Introduces key economic and fiscal issues in loca government, explores the relationship between planning and urban/surburban/rural fiscal health. Considers: economic role of government, public investment, economic impacts of growth and development, and local redevelopment tools.

PLAN 7012 - Analysis for Comm Planning (3)
Methods used in the assessment of current socio-economic conditions of communities, trend analysis, and forecasts of future population and employment for the purpose of developing comprehensive plans and other analyses common to the planning profession.

PLAN 7202 - Land Use Planning (3)
Theory and practice of land use planning, with emphasis on methods of land use analysis and economic and social basis for land use decisions.


PLAN 6002 - Urban Food Security (3)
Origins, evolution, and current state of urban food distribution and accessibility; current challenges encountered by poor and working class individuals and families in accessing food in economically distressed areas; examination of alternative policies, plans, and programs designed to promote more equitable access to healthy foods in inner city communities. Course will include community-based field work.

PLAN 6003 - Community Economic Development (3)
Origins, evolution, and current state of community-based economic development. Course will include community-based field work.

PLAN 6004 - Community Organizing (3)
Origins, evolution, and current state of direct action organizing in the United States; principles, methods, and techniques of grassroots organizing. Course will include community-based field work.

PLAN 6201 - Urbanization/Environmnt (3)
(Same as ESCI 6201; GEOG 6201). A study of the ways humans have changed the natural environment by urbanization and how physical features and processes influence the development and function of cities.

PLAN 6231 - Water Resources (3)
(Same as ESCI 6231; GEOG 6231). Study of hydrologic processes and their application to needs of cities, industry, agriculture, and recreation.

PLAN 6261 - Plan/Sustainable Cities/Region (3)
(ESCI 6261). Multidisciplinary and multi-scaled approach to understanding the sustainability of natural and built environments in planning cities and regions; methods for measuring sustainability; emerging development concepts and practices; technology, efficiency, social equity and public health implications of sustainability; sustainable urban/regional form of the future.

PLAN 6443 - Transportation Planning (3)
(Same as ESCI 6443; GEOG 6443). Planning for various transportation modes and networks and the impact they have on urban land use and contemporary development problems.

PLAN 6502 - Computer Cartography (3)
(Same as ESCI 6502; GEOG 6502). Instruction in use of computer mapping programs as effective techniques for visual presentation of a wide variety of data. Two lecture, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: BASIC, FORTRAN, or other computer language.

PLAN 6515 - Geographic Info Science (3)
(Same as ESCI 6515; GEOG 6515). Introduction to the basic concepts, components, and functions of Geographic Information Science using ARC/INFO GIS; topics include concepts and structure of spatial data, database planning and design, data quality control, automating spatial data, attribute data management, spatial manipulation, and spatial analysis techniques. PREREQUISITE: ESCI (GEOG) 1010 or 1020 or 1301 or 3430 or 4201 or permission of instructor.

PLAN 6521 - Quantitative Methods (3)
(Same as ESCI 6521, GEOG 6521). An introduction to quantitative methods in spatial analysis.

PLAN 7101 - Regional Planning (3)
(Same as ESCI 7101) Origins of regionalism, emergence of new regionalism, delineating and designing the region; economic, ecologic, and social principles for planning the regional city; public policy in region-building; regional planning organization and governance; the functions and problems of regional plan preparation, and plan implementation.

PLAN 7201 - Plan Comm Facilities (3)
Planning the location and design of community facilities in the light of changing concepts of public service and community organization.

PLAN 7203 - Ecology and Planning (3)
This course proposes an ecological approach to planning and design, aiming at creating an understanding of how human society interacts with ecosystems. It introduces theories and practices of planning and design framed into the ecological paradigm, especially focused on social, economic, environmental sustainability. It covers topics such as ecological thought, environmental issues, ecological cycles (water, energy, waste), thermodynamics, ecological footprint analysis, environmental justice movements, de-growth theory, ecological planning and design. It includes the study of planning and design practices in urban and rural areas in USA and Europe, with a special emphasis on community-based experiences in both contexts.

PLAN 7204 - Urban Revitalz Plan (3)
Changing urban land uses, first in areas that must improve or rebuild obsolete patterns, functions, and forms; and second in areas with acceptable uses, structures, and institutions, which in the interest and welfare of all the people must have additional space for growth and expansion.

PLAN 7205 - Sem Urban Design (3)
History and theory of urban form and implications for the design of cities; survey of urban design techniques.

PLAN 7206 - Housing (3)
Survey of housing market characteristics, financing, development, preservation, and redevelopment from both public and private perspectives.

PLAN 7208 - Economics of Cities (3)
Focuses on economics of spatial structure and urban problems; introduces economic theories explaining where and how cities grow; uses economic concepts to explore issues such as poverty, transportation and mass transit, housing and homelessness, education, employment, crime, zoning and land use, suburbanization and sprawl, metropolitan government, and public finance.

PLAN 7210 - Research Problems Seminar (3)
Provides students with a process for developing a research proposal by using building-block assignments with a formal timeline and providing opportunities for consistent feedback. Students will review and critique each others' written assignments and use class time to workshop ideas. Students will be expected to develop a clear research question, supported by relevant and useful literature, that leads to an appropriate and exectuable research methodology.

PLAN 7302 - Geographic Environ Anly (3)
(Same as ESCI 7201; GEOG 7201). Analytical and qualitative critique of the physical environment with emphasis on environmental quality, including air and water quality standards, soil erosion, solid waste management, and nuisance control.

PLAN 7504 - Sem Geog Info Systems (3)
(Same as ESCI 7504; GEOG 7504). Discussion of short- and long-term GIS science research topics by University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), such as internet GIS, possible effects of internet GIS on society, public participation GIS, participatory GIS, GIS for homeland security, geo-spatial society, and geo-visualization.

PLAN 7701 - Directed Research (1-3)
Independent investigation directed toward research problems in city and regional planning May be repeated for a maximum of 3 hours credit. Grades of A-F, or IP will be given.

PLAN 7708 - Planning Practice (3)
Practical skills in operating a planning office in both public and private sectors. PREREQUISITE: Approved planning experience.

PLAN 7890 - Planning Internship (1)
Experiential learning assignment to be achieved via an approved work assignment with a public or private planning organization or a member of the planning faculty. NOTE: Does not count toward degree requirements. Grades of S, U, or IP will be given.

PLAN 7896 - Capstone Project (1-3)
Preparation of a research paper that exhibits mastery of process and substantive area of planning. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 hours credit. Grades of S, U, or IP will be given.

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