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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2017-2018

Last Updated 2017-02-28

Urban and Regional Planning MS

Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:


The interdisciplinary Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning (MS-URP) is designed with a holistic approach, with the outcome of graduates practicing sustainability and socially responsible planning. The major objective of the graduate planning degree program is to prepare students who are interested in pursuing a master degree in the areas of urban, metropolitan, and regional planning to enhance their analytical skills, managerial knowledge, and career development in the planning profession. 


The Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning consists of 48 credit hours. Each student completes a core of nine courses (27 credit hours), restricted elective courses (15 credit hours), and a Capstone project (6 credit hours). 

The Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning (MSURP) program is a face-to-face program. While some courses are offered online, students admitted to the MSURP program are expected to attend face-to-face classes offered week nights on the main campus. The MSURP also incorporates community based projects into most courses. Group projects are intended to develop leadership abilities while also providing an opportunity to show students are capable of working as part of a team. Group projects promote important intellectual and social skills and help to prepare students for work in a world in which teamwork and collaboration are increasingly the norm.          

Courses and credit hours used for undergraduate degrees cannot be applied toward the MSURP degree, except for Senior Scholar students. UCF undergraduate students approved to participate in the Senior Scholar program may, with the permission of the MSURP program director, use up to 9 credit hours of graduate course work from their bachelor's degree toward the MSURP degree. However, no undergraduate-level courses will be accepted in the MSURP program.

Required Courses—33 Credit Hours

Core—27 Credit Hours

  • PAD 5336 Introduction to Urban Planning (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5337 Urban Design (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5338 Land Use and Planning Law (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5356 Managing Community and Economic Development (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6316 Planning Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6353 Environmental Planning and Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6387 Transportation Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6825 Cross-Sectoral Governance (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6847 Planning Healthy Communities (3 credit hours)

Capstone or Final Product—6 Credit Hours

The final product will be a studio experience for six credit hours.

  • IDS 6953 Urban and Regional Planning Capstone I (3 credit hours)
  • IDS 6954 Urban and Regional Planning Capstone II (3 credit hours)

Students work in teams for the final product in the planning degree program under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Students work closely with community partners in conducting an applied planning project. Part of the capstone experience is a presentation of their final project.

Elective Courses—15 Credit Hours

Planning Elective Courses—9 Credit Hours

Students take 9 credits (three courses) from the list of courses below. Faculty members who conduct research in the area of concentration may serve as advisers in selecting electives. An internship may be utilized by students to expand their experience in planning.

  • PAD 6254 Economics of Land Use Planning and Development (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6397 Managing Emergencies and Crises (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6339 Housing Development and Planning (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6355 Growth Management Approaches and Techniques (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6716 Information Systems for Public Managers and Planners (3 credit hours)
  • URP 6711 Sustainable Transportation Planning (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6946 Internship (3 credit hours)

General Electives—6 Credit Hours

Students take two general elective courses for six credit hours.  These courses should first be taken from the additional planning electives listed above, however students can choose general elective courses from any of the PAD courses offered by the School of Public Administration. With prior approval from the MSURP Program Director, general electives courses can be taken from outside the School of Public Administration. Students must show that these courses directly support a career in urban and regional planning.


Students without practical administrative experience in the public sector are strongly advised to complete an internship (3 credit hours).

  • PAD 6946 Internship (3 credit hours)

Additional Program Requirements

Students must achieve a grade of "B-" (80%) or higher in every course listed under core requirements and in the Capstone Experience courses.

Students must maintain a program of study and graduate status GPA of 3.0 or higher and can only graduate with a graduate status GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The School of Public Administration incorporates service learning into some courses. Service learning is a teaching method that provides a means for every student to enhance his or her academic program with experiential learning opportunities. Service learning provides an opportunity for students to work with community partners by collecting and compiling data and producing quality products that will be beneficial to both students and organizations.

Students are expected to be computer literate and have computer internet access upon entry to the program.

Timeline for Completion

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MSURP) must be completed within seven years from the semester the first course toward the MSURP is completed.  If courses toward the MPA are taken prior to being accepted into the MPA program, the seven-year timeline starts from the earlier date.   

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MSURP) consists of  a total of 48 credit hours (16 courses). Each student completes a core of nine courses (27 credit hours), an advanced curriculum of five electives (15 credit hours), and a capstone experience equivalent to two courses (6 credit hours). Courses and credit hours used for undergraduate degrees cannot also be counted toward the MSURP degree, except for Senior Scholar students who, with the permission of the program director, may use up to 9 credit hours of transfer graduate work towards their MURP  program. 

The Plan of Study (POS) is a listing of courses agreed to by the student and the School of Public Administration specifying the courses the student must satisfactorily complete in order to fulfill the degree requirements for the MSURP and be eligible for graduation. The POS must be defined during a student’s first semester of enrollment. Students must submit a Plan of Study to their respected Academic Services Coordinator in the School of Public Administration by the end of their first semester in the program. Failure to complete this critical step will result in a hold being placed on the student's academic records. A hold prevents the student from registering in future semesters. Once created, the Plan of Study may not be altered solely due to poor academic performance and the student must maintain satisfactory progress as defined above in all courses in the Plan of Study.


Course Schedule


The School of Public Administration is committed to providing the support that our students need to ensure a successful journey to completion of their degrees. To that end, you may request to meet with your graduate adviser or the Academic Services Coordinator at any time.

You may contact your program adviser by mail or by phone at 407-823-2604. The SPA office is located in the College of Health 241.

It is the student’s responsibility to keep abreast of all program requirements needed for graduation. Program regulations will not be waived because a student pleads ignorance or claims the adviser failed to keep them informed. Please review the “General University Policies” as well as the “General Graduate Policies” in the UCF Graduate Catalog.

Financial Support

Financial Support provided to master’s students by the university is limited to fellowships, graduate assistantships, tuition support and health insurance. Federally funded financial aid in the form of student loan programs may be available for graduate students based on eligibility. Students interested in federally funded financial aid information, should check the UCF Office of Student Financial Assistance website at

The College of Health and Public Affairs is allocated a limited number of university-funded fellowships that are awarded on an academically competitive basis to the highest qualified graduate students in the college. Generally, these fellowships are awarded annually during February to April to newly admitted students for the upcoming academic year (Fall/Spring).

In addition to the academic-based fellowships for incoming students, the Graduate Travel Award provides funding for current master's, specialist, and doctoral students to deliver research papers or participate in comparable creative activities at a professional meeting. Students must be the primary author and presenter. To review the award requirements and apply online, see

Graduate Student Associations

Professional Societies and Associations

Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA)

Pi Alpha Alpha is the National Honor Society for Public Administration.  The purpose of this society is to recognize academic excellence and promote ethical and responsible public service.  PAA membership identifies those with the highest performance levels in educational programs preparing them for the public service careers.  Membership is open to undergraduate and graduate students who have been nominated on the basis of their academic achievement.


MPA students are eligible for discounted membership in the American Society for Public Administration.  ASPA is the professional association for public administration.  ASPA affords its members opportunities to participate in its annual and regional conferences, local chapters and national sections. The Central Florida Chapter of ASPA meets regular featuring speakers from local and state government.  The National Forum for Black Public Administrators also encourages MPA students to participate in its activities on behalf of minority professionals in the public sector, and sponsors a mentorship program.


The International City and County Management Association is an association of professional city and county mangers who manage the affairs of the public sector.  ICMA offers a student membership that permits the student to attend the annual conference at a reduced registration fee. 


Officially granted registered student organization (RSO) status in October of 2008, the Masters of Public Administration Student Association (MPASA) was founded by a group of University of Central Florida (UCF) graduate students with the desire to enhance the graduate experience for masters* candidates of the degree programs offered by the Department of Public Administration. These students noticed a void of graduate programming, encouragement of public service, as well as student professional and social networking that needed to be filled and decided to take the active steps to fill it. With the firm support of the Department of Public Administration, MPASA was created in order to fill that void by promoting the virtue of public service, fostering closer ties between students and public sector agencies and facilitating discourse among students and administrators concerning the future and direction of UCF's Department of Public Administration graduate programs.  


The Organization for Public Administration was founded in 2001 at the University of Central Florida for the purpose of enhancing the Public Administration student's learning experience by acquainting them with job opportunities, career options, networking, and knowledge of the field via special guests,  In addition, OPA members provide services to the community, both locally and on campus, by organizing career fairs for the Public Administration students and participating in the county government's Adopt-A-Precinct project.  OPA members also benefit from yearly trips across the country and site visits!  It is the mission of OPA to provide developmental and educational opportunities for its members and to promote student interest and involvement in Public Administration.

Learn more at

Professional Development

Graduate Excellence Awards

Each year, the College of Graduate Studies offers graduate students who strive for academic and professional excellence the opportunity to be recognized for their work. For the nomination process and eligibility criteria, see the College of Graduate Studies Graduate Awards website.

Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit


For information about the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) thesis and dissertation awards, see their website:> Awards.

For grant-proposal writing resources:

Job Search

UCF’s Career Services

The department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include evaluation and exploration of career goals, preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at

Public Administration Internship Program

Provides students with work experiences that expose them to government and nonprofit organizations and their operations. For additional information, please visit

National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration

Offers information about general, US government, state and local government, nonprofit, and international job opportunities. You may visit



Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. Any ideas, data, text, media or materials taken from another source (either written or verbal) must be fully acknowledged.a) A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.b) A student must give credit to the originality of others whenever:

  1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;
  2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
  3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
  4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
  5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

When using the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, students must give credit to the original source at the location or place in the document where that source's material is found as well as provide bibliographic information at the end of the document. When students are verbally discussing the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, they must give credit to the original source at the time they speak about that source. In this manner, students must make clear (so there is no doubt) within their written or verbal materials, which parts are gained from other sources, and which are their own original ideas, theories, formulas, graphics, and pictures.The Office of Student Conduct has a set of criteria that determines if students are in violation of plagiarism. This set of criteria may be set to a higher standard in graduate programs. Therefore, a student may not be found in violation of plagiarism by the Office of Student Conduct, but a professor or program requiring higher standards of attribution and citation may find a student in violation of plagiarism and administer program level sanctions. The standard in doctoral programs should be the highest as students earning these degrees are expected to be experts in their fields and producing independent work that contributes knowledge to their discipline.

Example of Material that has been appropriately cited:

Paraphrased Material

Source: Osborne, Richard, ed. How to Grow Annuals. 2nd ed. Menlo Park: Lane, 1974. Print. Page 24: As a recent authority has pointed out, for a dependable long-blooming swatch of soft blue in your garden, ageratum is a fine choice. From early summer until frost, ageratum is continuously covered with clustered heads of fine, silky, fringed flowers in dusty shades of lavender-blue, lavender-pink or white. The popular dwarf varieties grow in mounds six to twelve inches high and twelve inches across; they make fine container plants. Larger types grow up to three feet tall. Ageratum makes an excellent edging.

Use and Adaptation of the Material:

You can depend on ageratum if you want some soft blue in your garden. It blooms through the summer and the flowers, soft, small, and fringed, come in various shades of lavender. The small varieties which grow in mounds are very popular, especially when planted in containers. There are also larger varieties. Ageratum is good as a border plant (Osborne 24).


The writer has done a good job of paraphrasing what could be considered common knowledge (available in a number of sources), but because the structure and progression of detail is someone else’s, the writer has acknowledged the source. This the writer can do at the end of the paragraph since he or she has not used the author’s words.

The above example was provided by Northwestern University.

Northwestern University, Sept. 2016. “Academic Integrity: A Basic Guide.” Accessed 20 September 2017.

For more information about Academic Honesty, Click here.

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