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Degree Requirements

The Masters in Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of a program consisting of 48 credits, including a project, over two academic years. Those students who wish to develop a specialization may satisfy a significant proportion (up to 9 credits) of this requirement through courses in other departments.

The professional project is valued at 3-6 credits.

The School takes an integrated approach to planning for development. Students may concentrate their studies in community development and social planning, comparative development planning, disaster and risk management planning, ecological and natural resources planning, urban design and physical planning, transport and infrastructure planning, urban development planning, or a combination of these. Students may also take courses in other departments and at other universities.

A program of studies will normally be comprised as shown below:

  • Foundation courses. These courses provide a breadth of knowledge covering: the social, economic, and ecological context for urbanization, regional development, and resource planning; the institutional arrangements for planning; and theories of the planning process.
  • Methods courses. Planners have a major responsibility for generating, analyzing, and presenting information for the decision-making process. All students require basic skills in planning analysis. Appropriate courses outside the School may be substituted.
  • Substantive courses. These courses provide depth of knowledge within the concentrations offered by the School. Courses taken in other departments should be complementary and choices should be related to thesis research interests.
  • Workshops. These courses provide an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills to planning problems under circumstances that simulate professional practice.
  • Project research. Students are required to prepare a professional project in their second year on a subject of their choice. The fullest benefit of this research is derived by those students who relate their overall program of studies to their research subject area.

Teaching, Learning and Research

The School's program of teaching and research strikes a balance between developing the competence required to enter professional practice today, and the intellectual preparation needed to continue to function adequately in increasingly responsible positions in a rapidly changing world. The program covers the substance and methods of urban, community, environmental and natural resources planning, as well as the process and institutional arrangements for planning, its ideological basis, and the role and ethical responsibility of the planner. The School is interested in the solutions to today's problems as well as in anticipating and shaping the future through policy-relevant scholarly research. From the student's point of view, the program has the following salient characteristics:

  • opportunities for students with narrow disciplinary training to broaden their knowledge, the better to assume responsibilities in planning and management;
  • opportunities for students with a generalist background to acquire greater disciplinary rigour in a planning-related field of their choice;
  • flexibility within a structured format to design a program of studies to satisfy individual needs;
  • an emphasis on formal coursework, balanced with directed studies, an internship, and original project research; and
  • opportunities for joint student-faculty research and publication.

Students are encouraged to become involved in the activities of the University's several research institutes and to enrol in relevant graduate courses in other departments. For example, in resource management there is the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability; and in developing countries' issues, the Institute of Asian Research.

The School's Centre for Human Settlements (CHS), designated a "Centre for Excellence" in 1991/92 by the Canadian International Development Agency, further strengthens the School's research capability in urban and regional development, housing, urban governance, and community development planning in both the developed and developing world. The Centre also houses the Disaster Preparedness Resources Centre and the Eco-Risk Research Unit.

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