City Planning Program Overview

students studying
The Master of City Planning (MCP) Program was inaugurated in the Fall of 1968 under the auspices of the formerly named School of Public Administration and Urban Studies in the College of Professional Studies. Since 1970, the program has graduated over 300 students who have secured responsible positions in planning agencies at all levels of government, in private and public institutions concerned with planning and urban affairs, and in academic and research institutions. (Past Positions Held By MCP Program Graduates) A number of graduates have proceeded to doctoral programs at such schools as the University of Washington and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The MCP Program has attracted students from all geographic regions of the country, and from a number of noted schools across the nation, including Stanford, Yale, Syracuse, Colorado State, NYU, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Columbia, and the University of California. Its students have also come from a wide variety of undergraduate majors—principally from economics, geography, sociology, political science and urban studies, but also from philosophy, psychology, the arts, biology, and engineering, among other majors. This diversity reflect our philosophy that the student body and curricular offerings are enriched by a wide diversity of students from different academic backgrounds and locales.

The MCP Program is designed to provide the students with the generalized skills and experience necessary to approach creatively and professionally the process and problems of urban and regional planning. A generalist background is provided by stressing a theoretical and historical understanding, critical thinking and technical and methodological skills. While providing for a common core of courses, the program optimizes the opportunity for students to adapt the field to their personal values, aspirations, talents and career orientations. Accordingly, the students are encouraged to pursue personal and special interests through course offerings from a variety of other departments in the University, through special studies courses, and the planning internship. The MCP Program is highly integrated into San Diego’s professional public, private, and non-profit sectors. It is felt that participation by students and faculty in ongoing planning concerns and local issues is critically important to the learning experience.

The program fosters a non-competitive, mutual learning, participatory experience in which students are committed to the norms of academic excellence, sound professional preparation, and devotion to public service. Graduates of the planning program are trained to become active and competitive participants in various facets of the planning field. It is ensured that students receive a general urban planning education which enables them to secure responsible positions throughout the San Diego region, throughout California, and elsewhere in the United States. Students obtain specific marketable skills in design, quantitative techniques, and economic analysis which the professional community finds very useful. Students also receive a thorough understanding of fiscal affairs and intergovernmental relations since their work will most likely be in a public agency or will in some way interface with the public sector. This education and training is designed to be transferable to all sections of the economy. For example, our graduates have chosen to participate in academia, industry, private consulting, nonprofit community development organizations, and real estate development.