Graduate programs

With over half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, the challenge of creating and maintaining urban places as high quality, healthy, vital places for people has never been more important. Our expectation is that recipients of the graduate degrees and certificates offered by the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning will be in the forefront of those efforts, contributing professional leadership and new knowledge in support of this first “urban century”.

Graduate assistantships

Admission requirements




Urban Studies Ph.D.

Urban Studies—Regional Science Ph.D.

Program Rules

Real Estate Development MRED

Urban and Regional Planning MURP

Urban Studies MUS

Program Rules

Advanced standing in Urban Studies and Planning graduate program

A total of 72 credits in nondissertation graduate training is required of all Ph.D. students. Ph.D. students are also required to take a minimum of 27 dissertation credits. For students with a master’s degree in a related discipline, a maximum of 24 advanced standing credits may be requested. All such requests must be accompanied by a listing of previous graduate work for which advanced standing is sought.

The Master of Urban Studies program requires a minimum of 52 credits in graduate courses, of which at least 36 must be taken at Portland State University. A maximum of 17 credits of advanced standing credit may be requested. The Master of Urban and Regional Planning program requires a minimum of 72 credits in graduate courses of which at least 48 must be taken at Portland State University. A maximum of 24 credits of advanced standing credit may be requested.

A M.U.R.P. student may request advanced standing for the 1-credit USP 559 Planning Practice Workshop. If advanced standing credit is approved, the student is considered to have fulfilled the internship requirement. Such advanced standing credit will be included in the 24-credit maximum for all advanced standing; only professional work completed within seven years of the date the degree is granted can be included.

Requirements with regard to both the pattern of coursework and total credits must be satisfied prior to either advancement to candidacy in the Ph.D. program or graduation in the M.U.S. and M.U.R.P. programs. A student is not obligated to enroll in a required course if that student has already acquired knowledge of the subject matter through earlier graduate coursework. In such cases, the student may request exemption from the course. Permission is granted only after obtaining written verification from the instructor that the student has met the requirements of the required course. All such requests should be made within one year after entrance to the program.

Limitation on graduate/undergraduate courses

Students in the M.U.R.P., M.U.S., and Ph.D. programs are strongly advised to use no more than 12 credits of courses offered simultaneously at the 400- and 500-level in support of their degree programs. Courses must be an integral part of the student’s program and courses with the same content must not be available on a purely graduate basis.

Limitation on by-arrangement courses

Admitted Ph.D. and master’s students may utilize no more than 12 credits of by-arrangement classes (501/601 and 505/605). In cases where more than 12 credits are needed because of the lack of regularly scheduled classes, a waiver must be submitted for approval by the school Curriculum Committee and by the school director.

Continuous enrollment

All students admitted to the M.U.R.P., M.U.S., and Ph.D. programs in urban studies must be continuously enrolled until graduation, except for periods in which they are absent by approved leave. Taking 1 credit per term during the regular academic year will constitute continuous enrollment. Failure to register without an approved leave may result in termination of student admission.

Grade requirement

A student who receives 9 credits of grades below B- in all coursework attempted after admission to an urban studies graduate degree program will be dropped from that program. A student attempting both a master’s and a Ph.D. degree in urban studies may receive no more than 9 credits below B- in both programs. MURP students must receive grades of at least B- in all core courses.