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Graduate Concentrations

The MCRP curriculum is structured in a way that allows students to develop an area of concentration or to pursue various interests through their elective options. As concentrations are not formal or required in the MCRP curriculum, students may choose their elective courses based on discussions with their advisor and a review of courses within the section and across the university.  The attached overview of concentration course requirements can be used as a guide for electives regardless of whether or not you choose to pursue a concentration.

Visit a faculty member's page from the directory to learn more about their research and teaching interests.

Energy, Environment, and Sustainability

This concentration centers on planning issues related to the sustainable development and optimal management of our natural resources, and in particular, problems associated with the sustainable interaction of built and natural environment in ways that preserve or restore the natural environment and improve the quality of life in cities and other developing areas. This includes policies to reduce urban sprawl, to encourage land conservation, and to reduce the impact from pollution and hazardous wastes. It also deals with techniques to assess environmental impacts, to derive the carrying capacity of land, and to model environmental systems in cities and regions.

Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Students in this concentration focus on techniques for using Geographic Information Systems to address a variety of planning, environmental, and engineering problems.

Housing, Real Estate and Neighborhoods

Numerous social and economic issues have a housing and neighborhood dimension, including racial segregation, poverty, unemployment, lack of services, neighborhood decline and gentrification, and lack of access to mortgage finance. The concentration acquaints students with these problems and a broad range of planning tools operating on housing and real estate markets such as zoning, code design and enforcement, revitalization and preservation policies, public housing, and rent vouchers. It also deals with the role of the many actors in the real estate market, such as the construction and finance sector, municipal, state and federal government, real estate agents and developers, the non-profit sector, and the courts and enforcement agencies among others.

International Development

This concentration focuses on issues typical of low income countries, as they relate to infrastructure and housing policies, urban and regional development, and poverty alleviation with a focus on the legal, institutional and regulatory enabling framework for development.

Physical Planning and Urban Design

This concentration centers on the relation between physical characteristics of the environment, characteristics of the occupant and human perception, cognition, evaluation and behavior. It encompasses the study of theories, methods and applications of psychological, social, cultural, and political factors that shape urban form. It prepares students to apply this knowledge to practical issues encountered in professional urban design and physical planning practice, both in the private and public sector.

Planning Policy and Process

This concentration centers on the methodology of planning, including methods of decision making, planning institutions, and the legal and regulatory framework common to all types of urban and regional planning.


The transportation concentration centers on the movement of people around an urban area, and questions arising from that movement, such as choice of transportation modes, traffic congestion, air pollution, and the costs of providing both transportation modes and the infrastructure that supports them. (It is also possible to study urban goods movement).

Urban and Regional Economics

The concentration uses an economics-based approach to analyze issues related to urban and regional spatial organization, economic growth and development, sector policies and project design.