Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered
Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences
Urban and Regional Planning
Urban and Regional Planning
College of Social Sciences
*M. Coffman, PhD (Chair)—greenhouse gas reduction strategies, renewable energy planning and policy, low-carbon transportation
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
T. Bhattacharya, PhD—transportation systems, relationship between transportation, land use, social justice, sustainable infrastructure
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
P. Adler, PhD—conflict resolution, mediation, facilitation
Degree and Certificates Offered: MURP, PhD, Certificate in Planning Studies, Professional Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning and Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
The Academic Program
Urban and regional planning is a dynamic field that requires innovative solutions from committed and thoughtful individuals. Historically, it emerged out of the convergence of two concerns: (1) the provision of urban infrastructure; and (2) the initiation of social reform. Today the underlying focus on community well-being continues, and urban and regional planning has broadened to include the development, implementation, and evaluation of a wide range of policies. Specifically, urban and regional planners are concerned with:
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP):
UH Manoa Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) graduates, of whom there are about 534, 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 Manoa. 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.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the PhD/MURP degree, students should be able to:
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; Department of Health; Land Use Commission; Legislative auditor; Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; House Majority Research Office; Hawai‘i Community Development Authority; Housing Finance and Development Corporation; Department of Public Safety; Department of Land and Natural Resources; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Honolulu City and County Departments of Planning and Permitting, Land Utilization, Housing and Community Development, and Parks and Recreation, Office of the Managing Director, Office of Council Services; Planning Departments of the counties of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, and Maui; 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, 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 but not limited to Hawai‘i, Asia, and the Pacific Basin. All students complete the core sequence: public policy and planning theory, planning methods, urban economics, environmental planning and policy, land use policies and programs, site planning, and a six-credit hour practicum. The remainder of the academic program, including additional methods courses, is individually designed with concentration in a specialized area of the student’s own choosing (with the consent of his or her advisor). Grades of B or better are required in PLAN 600, 601, 603, 620, 640, 678, and an overall average of B or better must be maintained 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 (capstone paper) programs are available. All students are required to pass a final, which includes a successful defense of the thesis or capstone paper on the selected area of concentration, and 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 admit- ted. 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 minimum score of 600 is required. Applicants are also expected to submit evidence of advanced work such as a sole-authored research report or 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 advisor). Students are also required to take at least one three-credit course in research design or 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 UH Mânoa.
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, 601, and 603, 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 advisor.
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.
Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (DMHA)
UH Manoa provides a logical location for an Asia Pacific disaster risk reduction research and institutional capacity-building program. The program responds to the compelling need to improve hazard and disaster mitigation and response in the face of increasingly frequent and severe disaster events. The Asia Pacific region suffers the greatest impact of disaster events worldwide, and Hawai‘i shares many of these same vulnerabilities. By interacting with hazard and disaster researchers at UH Manoa and Hawai‘i’s existing dynamic community of disaster management organizations, students learn how to help build disaster resilient communities.
The Graduate Certificate Program in DMHA is housed in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and is open to all graduate students. Our interdisciplinary students come from the physical and natural sciences, engineering, geography, public administration, social work, political science, and other disciplines. Some are pursuing professional degrees in law, medicine, architecture, or public health. Our students tend to be highly motivated to apply their respective disciplinary backgrounds to the problems of reducing the impacts of disaster on people and communities.
Graduate students are required to take at least three of the DMHA core courses for a base of nine units. Additional six units are selected with advisement from courses related to hazards and disaster management and response. A one unit capstone completes the requirement. Many departments offer courses which can complement the core course sequence in a coherent, rigorous, and pedagogically valid way. Contact the program director or program coordinator for more information.
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