Urban planners work with civic leaders, residents and businesses to develop new solutions to community problems. They help leaders envision the direction their community will grow and find the right balance of new development and services, environmental protection, and innovative change.
Urban planners are trained to protect the environment, to create housing for people, to preserve historic buildings and places, to design public spaces, to develop alternative transportation choices, to foster economic development and to craft healthy communities. Good urban planning creates communities that offer better choices for living. Planners help people make their communities more convenient, healthful, efficient, fair and attractive. Good planning improves the welfare of people and communities in the present and for the future.
The B.A.-M.U.P. degree path is offered jointly by the Architecture and Urban Planning departments. It includes the basic elements of the B.A.--studios, workshops, certificate program, basic professional and general enrichment electives and the KU Core Curriculum, along with core courses in planning history, theory and methods as well as specialized classes in environmental planning, housing and development planning, land use planning and urban design, and transportation planning. The Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) degree is the normal academic qualification for those who wish to become professional planners. An M.U.P. degree opens doors to careers in environmental conservation, housing, economic development, historic preservation, real estate development, and many other areas. State, city and local governments as well as private companies and nonprofit agencies employ planners. There are planning jobs in such areas as health care delivery, criminal justice, education, public finance and law.
Students in the B.A.-M.U.P. track have the opportunity to shorten the usual 6-year period required to complete a bachelor’s degree and the M.U.P. by one full year of study. Students who achieve a GPA of 3.25 by the end of their third year of study, and complete the appropriate B.A. requirements shown in the B.A.-M.U.P. Plan will spend their fourth year in the B.A. degree completing the first year of courses required in the M.U.P. These urban planning classes are used to satisfy remaining undergraduate requirements so that students receive the B.A. degree at the end of their fourth year. This also allows students to finish the second and final year of M.U.P. work in their fifth year at KU, when they would also be awarded the accredited M.U.P. degree.