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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Jan 
International :15 Jan 

MS Urban Planning

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee


Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)315

World University Ranking

About this course

The Columbia University Master of Science in Urban Planning is an accredited two-year program of professional education. Actively engaged in practice, our curriculum connects the study of the urban built environment with grounded analysis of socioeconomic and political conditions. We explore the tensions between market forces, civil society, and the goals of planning, paying special attention to the role of urban analytics and the quest for social justice. Students learn to evaluate and shape efforts to develop and enhance cities and their communities in ways that foster healthy and sustainable living.

Located in New York City, our program promotes a global outlook. We look to planning issues locally and internationally for studio projects, classroom case studies, and thesis research. By studying the impact of global linked processes (e.g. immigration and climate change) as well as local conditions on cities and communities, we think creatively about planning and policy approaches to improve processes and outcomes in cities around the world.

Planning education promotes the redistribution of resources and social justice in cities as much as the creation of wealth. Our students connect challenges of urban development, sustainability and equity with the political and socioeconomic conditions that define them. They learn to engage and assess the increasing abundance and availability of data to address urban problems and inform planning efforts. Throughout the curriculum, the emphasis is on real-world problems and how planners can act to improve the lives of urban residents.

Being part of GSAPP, our program connects with design, preservation, and real estate faculty and professionals to add to ideas and techniques developed by planners and social activists. We also offer a range of curriculum and dual-degree options within and beyond GSAPP for students interested in additional content expertise and skills. Our graduates work in critical and leading roles in government, private firms, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, multilateral institutions, and international NGOs.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • The M.S. UP program prepares students from diverse academic backgrounds for careers as professional planners. Applicants typically, but not exclusively, have majored in architecture, engineering, sociology, political science, geography, economics, or urban studies; many also come from backgrounds in the humanities and pure sciences. The admissions committee reviews all applicants comprehensively, considering their undergraduate academic achievements, personal statement, and related experiences.
  • All applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university by the time they start the M.S. UP program.

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Course Modules



  • Belfast Joint Planning/Studio Seminar
  • Data Visualization For Architecture, Urbanism and The Humanities
  • Social Entrepreneurship and the Urban Built Environment
  • Planning for Urban Energy Systems
  • Fundamentals of Urban Digital Design
  • Negotiations For Planners  
  • UP/HP Elective Internship
  • Introduction to Housing
  • Urban Design for Planners
  • Public Financing Of Urban Development
  • Envir Impact Assessment
  • On Spatial Exclusion and Planning
  • Land Use Planning
  • Digital Restructuring of Urban Space
  • Exploring Urban Data with Machine Learning
  • Practicum: Residential Planning in Global Cities
  • Techniques of Project Evaluation
  • Complete Streets Seminar
  • Re Finance + Development
  • Belfast, Ireland City Center in Dev Context
  • Redevelopment Of Brooklyn Wholesale Market
  • Improving Airport Access and Environmental Conditions
  • Designing A New Master Plan For Chinatown
  • Rio: Design Thinking For Health Urban Environment
  • Urban Planning Thesis II
  • Advanced Research II

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How to Apply

  • Create and complete an online application.
  • Enter contact information for recommenders. M.S. UP requires three letters of recommendation.
  • Upload a personal statement into the application. This may not be changed or updated after submission.
  • Upload scanned copies of official academic transcripts for each university attended and credit earned, including certified English translations (if applicable).
  • Send GRE score report to the Columbia GSAPP Admissions Office. A minimum verbal score of 150 is required. Please find our institution codes here.
  • Send TOEFL score report to Columbia GSAPP (International students only). A minimum score of 100 is required. Please find our institution codes here.
  • Submit online application and fee ($75 USD, payable only by VISA or MasterCard).
    (Optional) Mail copies of work and writing samples to the GSAPP Admissions Office: 400 Avery Hall, 1172 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027. Samples are not required and will be considered supplemental material. If your samples do not exceed five pages they may be emailed directly to [email protected]

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