Urban and Regional Planning
*G. K. Lowry, PhD (Chair)—alternative dispute resolution, coastal
management, planning theory, and community-level planning
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
D. L. Callies, JD—land use management and control, intergovernmental
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
J. Fox, PhD—land use, forest resources and management, geographical
information systems and spatial information technology, South and Southeast
Degree and Certificates Offered: MURP, PhD, Certificate in Planning Studies, Professional Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning and the Graduate Resource Management Certificate.
The Academic Program
Urban and regional planning (PLAN) is a dynamic field, that is still evolving. It emerged out of the convergence of two concerns: (1) the provision of urban infrastructure and (2) the initiation of social reform. While the underlying focus on community well-being continues, urban and regional planning today has broadened to include the development, implementation, and evaluation of a wide range of policies. Specifically, urban and regional planners, in both developing and developed countries, are concerned with the following:
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning takes a multidisciplinary approach to planning education, recognizing in particular the important contributions to planning that can be made by the social and natural sciences and by the architectural, public health, social work, and civil engineering professions; emphasizes extensive community involvement; engages in research that focuses on application of planning methodologies and implementation of planning endeavors; recognizes the close relationship between urban and regional planning and politics; acknowledges the difficulty of resolving the value differences that lie at the heart of most planning problems; and appreciates both the importance and the elusiveness of critical concepts, such as “the public interest,” to urban and regional planning.
UH Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) graduates, of whom there are about 250, hold planning and related positions in a variety of public agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private firms in Hawai‘i, on the continental U.S., and in the Asia Pacific region.
The department is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.
The department offers a multidisciplinary approach to planning education. Students are provided with an opportunity to develop an individualized but integrated course of study drawing on this department and other departments and professional schools in UH. Faculty and students engage in both funded and non-funded research and community service. The graduate curriculum focuses on theory, methodology, and practice in the following areas: community planning and social policy, environmental planning, urban and regional planning in Asia and the Pacific, and land use and infrastructure planning. Planning in the developing countries of Asia is emphasized.
For further information regarding the master’s degree or certificate programs, students should write to the department.
Students enter the MURP program from a variety of fields, usually the social sciences, architecture, engineering, public health, social work, and, increasingly, the natural sciences, but also from such diverse fields as philosophy, human development, and history. Students coming into the program are required to have an adequate background in descriptive and inferential statistics or to acquire this background prior to enrollment in PLAN 601.
Native speakers of English are required to take the GRE General Test. Others will be expected to have achieved adequate preparation in English as evaluated by the TOEFL. Each applicant should provide two letters of reference, preferably from individuals acquainted with the applicant academically or professionally. In addition, applicants must complete a self-assessment form and an express information form (available from the department). An interview with a member of the faculty, if feasible, is highly recommended. The deadline for application for admission is March 1 for the fall semester and September 1 for the spring semester.
Standards for a graduate with a MURP degree include the following:
MURP graduates hold a variety of planning and related positions in public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private firms. In Hawai‘i these include the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; the Department of Health; the Land Use Commission; the Legislative auditor; the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; the House Majority Research Office; the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority; the Housing Finance and Development Corporation; the Department of Public Safety; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Honolulu City and County Departments of Planning and Permitting; Land Utilization, Housing and Community Development, and Parks and Recreation; the Office of the Managing Director; the Office of Council Services; the Planning Departments of the counties of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, and Maui; the Mediation Center of the Pacific; banks and trust companies; consulting firms; development corporations; real estate firms; university research and extension organizations; and community colleges.
On the continental U.S., graduates are city and county planners, program analysts in federal agencies (e.g., Office of Ocean and Coastal Management and Office of Management and Budget), and planning consultants. Other graduates include a planner for a nonprofit housing corporation, a lawyer-planner, and a law professor. Overseas positions include planners with regional planning, housing redevelopment and environmental agencies, the United Nations, and private development and consulting firms, as well as faculty in university programs. Several MURP graduates are pursuing doctoral degrees in planning, geography, political science, and economics, while others are seeking law degrees.
The MURP degree is a two-year professional program that requires a minimum of 42 credit hours. It is designed to equip students to fill professional planning and policy analysis roles in public agencies, private firms, and community groups, particularly in Hawai‘i, Asia, and the Pacific Basin. All students complete the core sequence (planning theory, planning methods, economic analysis for urban and regional planning, a 6-credit-hour practicum, and two of the following courses: PLAN 610, 620, 630, and 640). The remainder of the academic program, including a second methodology course, is individually designed with concentration in a specialized area of the student’s own choosing (with the consent of his or her adviser), provided adequate academic resources are available in the department and at the UH. Grades of B or better are required in PLAN 600, 601, 603, and 605, and an average of B or better must be earned in all courses counted toward the MURP degree. MURP students receiving a grade lower than a B will be allowed one additional opportunity to achieve a B or better in each core course.
Both Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis) programs are available. All students are required to pass a final, which includes a successful defense of the thesis on the selected area of concentration, and to meet the program standards for graduation.
The doctoral program provides training in advanced research in urban and regional planning. Graduates are expected to pursue academic appointments at institutions of higher education and to achieve higher levels of professional practice in the public and private sectors.
Admission to the PhD program requires a master’s degree in planning. In exceptional circumstances candidates with either an advanced research background or exceptional professional experience, but who do not have an MA degree may be admitted. Admission may be granted with the understanding that some background courses or examinations may be required. Consideration for admission requires a GPA of at least a 3.5 in previous graduate work. Applicants are also required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for verbal, math and analytic sections. Non-native speakers of English are also required to submit the TOEFL; a score of 600 is required. Applicants are also expected to submit evidence of advanced work such as a research report or sole-authored plan.
Each PhD degree student is required to complete at least fifteen credits in advanced courses (in addition to any remedial courses designated at the time of admission):
In addition to these two courses, PhD candidates are required to take six credits in an allied field (to be selected in consultation with the student’s adviser). Students are also required to take one three-credit course in research design/proposal writing.
Prior to starting the dissertation, PhD candidates will sit for a comprehensive examination in planning theory and planning methods. Students will be required to form a PhD committee drawn primarily, although not exclusively from the department, to guide the student through the qualifying examination and the dissertation research. Under the direction of its chair, the committee will devise a qualifying examination covering both core topics in urban and regional planning and the student’s substantive area of research. Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination, students will be required to present their dissertation proposal, to a department colloquium. When the student has successfully completed the examinations and presented the dissertation proposal the student will advance to candidacy. Each student is required to conduct original research and write and present a defense of a doctoral dissertation based on the dissertation proposal. The dissertation research will be guided by the student’s committee. Upon completion, the student will defend the dissertation before the committee. If successful, the candidate will be recommended for award of the PhD in Urban and Regional Planning by the UH.
Professional Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning
The Professional Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning is designed for practicing planners eligible for graduate admission who are not able to attend school for the two years required to earn a MURP degree.
Professional certificate candidates specialize in one of the following four fields: community planning and social policy, environmental planning, land use and infrastructure planning, or urban and regional planning in Asia and the Pacific.
Professional certificate candidates are required to earn 18 credit hours including PLAN 600, 603, and 601 or 605. Each candidate selects a field of interest in which he or she takes two courses including PLAN 610, 620, 630, or 640. The specific courses are selected in consultation with the candidate’s faculty adviser.
Applicants for the professional certificate program should apply to the Graduate Division as special non-degree students. Two letters of reference should be sent to the department from people who are familiar with the applicant’s academic or professional record. Applicants must have earned a BA, BS, or a professional degree; have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the four semesters prior to admission; and have had at least three years of professional practice prior to admission.
Certificate in Planning Studies
The Certificate in Planning Studies allows students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in another area to become acquainted with planning skills and activities. Students enrolled in graduate programs in architecture, economics, engineering, geography, political science, public health, social work, and sociology are among those eligible. Students are encouraged to use the certificate program to increase their competence in planning as it relates to their major area of study.
Certificate students are required to take five courses offered by the department and complete the requirements for a master’s degree in their area of study. The required courses are PLAN 600, 601 or 605, and 751. The remaining two courses are to be selected from among the following courses by the certificate student in consultation with the faculty member responsible for directing the planning studies certificate program: PLAN 601 or 605 (whichever was not taken as a required method course); 602 or 603; and one of 610, 620, 630, or 640, or one elective course.
Successful completion of the program leads to a graduate degree in the student’s chosen field and a Certificate in Planning Studies. Consideration for admission to the certificate program requires filing of an application form available from the department.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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