Graduate Program

Graduate – Master’s Degree in Community & Regional Planning

The Master of Community and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.) is a two-year degree program for professional education in the field of planning. The program emphasizes local and regional planning issues and reflects the culture and resources of the Southwest. The course of study provides training opportunities in rural as well as urban settings. Formally structured dual degree opportunities are available with the Latin American Studies Program, the School of Public Administration, and the Water Resources Program. (M.C.R.P. graduates also have developed individual dual degrees with Architecture, Economics, and Public Health). Students are encouraged to engage in fieldwork and professional internship experiences.

The Community and Regional Planning Program is nationally accredited by The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). The program received renewal of its accreditation in 2007. The program provides grounding in planning skills, methods and theory and an appreciation of the nature of practice in the Southwest as a region.

The mission of the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program is to plan with communities for their sustainable futures in the Southwest region through education, service and research. The Program’s purpose is to provide future planners and professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support planning that is responsive to people and place. Students of the CRP program work with communities, including their own, to create community-based plans, programs and policies that sustain and enhance their culture, resource base, built environment and economic vitality.

The rich substantive content of community and regional planning draws from many disciplines. It focuses on the concepts and disciplines of planning as applied to a field of practice. Students in the M.C.R.P. Program may select a concentration in Community Development, Natural Resources & Environmental Planning, or Physical Planning and Design in their course of study.

The educational model for this degree is based on the concept of problem solving as a skill and as a context for broader understanding. Because much of planning practice involves solving complex social, physical, and resource allocation or conservation problems, the ability to analyze problems is central to the educational process. The assets and skills of a professional planner include: 1) a capacity for reasoned thought; 2) visionary (futuristic or alternative) thinking; 3) the communication of community-based planning concepts with clear graphic, written, and verbal information; 4) the ability to manage and resolve community and environmental conflicts; 5) a capacity to work with community-based planning strategies to address natural resource, community development, and physical planning problems to enhance sustainability.

CRP students are assigned a personal academic advisor from among the core faculty at the time of admission.

Admissions Criteria

The Admissions Committee is composed of CRP faculty members and representatives of the student body. All files are evaluated on the basis of:

A. The persuasiveness of the letter of intent, which should be a statement of professional goals, personal accomplishments, and academic motivation. The Admissions Committee looks for a letter that expresses commitment to planning practice and assesses your goals and philosophy in the context of the CRP program. The applicant should identify any special attributes that may add to the multicultural and affirmative action goals of the program and why you think our program can help you to accomplish your goals.

B. The strength of the three letters of recommendation. These should be letters from people who are aware of your academic and professional accomplishments. We are interested in your seriousness and capability as a student and as a future professional, so the committee carefully considers these letters in assessing your potential. The standard recommendation form is contained on the forms page of the UNM Office of Graduate Studies website, which can be accessed at the following link: This form is This form is what an applicant partially fills out and then provides to each writer of a letter of recommendation. Each writer then will need to mail the form with a letter attached directly to the CRP Program.

C. The demonstrated capacity to perform high quality graduate study, based upon academic transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses taken by the applicant. A minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0 is required for the last two years of an applicant’s undergraduate study. The transcript is reviewed for coursework that demonstrates preparation for a professional degree in planning, such as social and life sciences, statistics, economics, and ethnic, gender and area studies.

D. The relevance of the applicant’s experience and background, most commonly based upon a clear curriculum vitae. A personal vitae helps the Admissions Committee to understand your career path, especially your experience in some aspect of community-based or regional planning through employed or volunteer job experience, publications, community service, and other outstanding achievements.

E. The fit with the CRP program in terms of our community-based planning philosophy and focus, the natural resources, community development, and physical planning concentrations, and our concern with issues of equity and social justice.

F. Recent and potential personal growth, a more subjective criterion that is based on our desire to admit students who are committed and motivated, who have already begun their intellectual development, and who have real potential to continue that development in our program and as planning professionals.

Admissions Decisions

The Admissions Committee reviews, discusses, and ranks all applications, identifying the degree to which each meets the criteria and satisfies the academic prerequisites. Applicants then are notified whether they are 1) admitted; 2) conditionally admitted pending receipt of formal contents of the application; 3) placed on the waiting list for admission should a space open up; or 4) not admitted. Those who do not gain admission are encouraged to contact the CRP Director for an explanation and to assess the feasibility of a successful reapplication.

Application Process

Applications are accepted primarily for the fall semester. Spring admission will be considered for special circumstances only. Applications are not considered for the summer term.

The priority postmark deadline for the fall semester is January 30th; however, applications will be accepted through June 15 on a space available basis. Prospective applicants should consult the Graduate Program section of the Catalog to review current policies and guidelines.

The following must be submitted to the UNM Office of Admissions, either electronically or by mail:

  • UNM Graduate Admissions Application
  • $50.00 Application Fee

The UNM Admissions Application is available online at the UNM Office of Admissions website,

In addition, applicants must send the following materials to the Community and Regional Planning Program:

  • Letter of Intent
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic source, i.e. a professor or advisor)
  • Curriculum Vitae (Resume)
  • Official transcripts from all higher educational institutions attended

CRP Program Mailing Address:
Community & Regional Planning Program

ATTN:  Graduate Advisor
MSC04 2530
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Applicants must be sure that the UNM Graduate Admissions Application is received in time to be forwarded to the CRP admissions committee by Jan. 30; incomplete files will not be sent to the program for review.  For questions about the MCRP admissions process, please contact the graduate advisor in the School of Architecture & Planning.

Course of Study & Degree Completion

The M.C.R.P. degree program is a two-year course of study for which a minimum of 50 credits is required. This program requires three parts for the completion of this degree: 50 hours of course work as indicated in the program of study; the Graduate Review; and a thesis or professional project to be presented in public.

Students enrolled in this program are allowed to take up to 12 hours at the graduate level in other UNM programs.

Incoming graduate students are required to have taken statistics and economics as prerequisites for this program. If a student has not taken these courses, they may take them simultaneously with their first semester of graduate course work in the program, and must have the prerequisites completed before beginning their second semester in the program.

Required Graduate Courses

  Core Course Requirements  
CRP 500 Planning Theory and Process 4
CRP 510 Planning Communication Workshop 2
CRP 511 Analytical Methods for Planning 4
CRP 521 Advanced Planning Studio 5
CRP 545 Land Use Controls 3
CRP 580 Community Growth and Land Use Planning 3
  Total hours to meet Core Course Requirements 18

Concentrations Course Requirements

  • Students are required to select an area of concentration in Community Development, Natural Resources and Environmental Planning, or Physical Planning and Design.
  • Students are required to take a concentration Foundations course (3 credits) and a second methods course (3 credits) from a cluster of course options in their concentration area.
  • Total of 6 hours of Concentrations Requirements.

Elective Course Requirements

  • Students must take 18 hours of approved elective course work.
  • Total of 18 hours of Electives
Exit Course Requirements
CRP 588 Professional Project/Thesis Preparation Seminar 2
  Plan I  
CRP 599 Master's Thesis 6
  Plan II  
CRP 589 Professional Project 6
  Total of 8 hours to meet Exit Requirements  

Total of 50 hours required for completion of the M.C.R.P. Degree

The Graduate Review

The Graduate Review should take place at the student’s request after the completion of 12 hours of graduate study but must take place before the student can enroll in the thesis/professional project preparation course. A faculty committee consisting of the student’s advisor and one other CRP faculty member will review the student’s prior academic records, proposed Program of Studies, evidence of courses focused in a concentration, a Student Self-Assessment filled out by the student, and the thesis or professional project proposal. Assessment of the student’s performance in the program to date and proposals for future work will guide the committee’s recommendations for the student’s remaining efforts to complete the M.C.R.P. degree and the approval of the Program of Studies Form.

Thesis or Professional Project

The thesis/professional project is a formal document prepared in consultation with the student’s faculty committee and presented in public. The thesis/professional project committee, which is nominated by the candidate, evaluates the scope of the work, the quality of analysis and the content of the findings and/or recommendations. The committee also evaluates the student’s understanding of his or her chosen field of study and area of concentration, as well as strengths in accomplishing graduate studies.

Licensing for Planners

There are no licensing requirements for planners in New Mexico. Planners can be certified through the American Institute for Certified Planners (AICP).

Graduate Minor in Community and Regional Planning (CRP)

Graduate students interested in a minor course of study in CRP must apply to the program. Forms are available in the CRP office, George Pearl Hall Room 117, or online at the CRP website,

  Course Requirements (12 hours)  
  Two of the following foundations courses:  
CRP 531 Foundations of Community Development 3
CRP 532 Foundations of Natural Resources 3
CRP 533 Foundations of Physical Planning 3
   A CRP methods course in community development, natural resources or physical planning chosen in consultation with faculty advisor. 3
  An additional emphasis elective in community development, natural resources or physical planning selected in consultation with faculty advisor. 3

Joint Dual Degrees Between the M.C.R.P. and Other Programs

Formal dual-degree programs have been established with Latin American Studies, the School of Public Administration, and the Water Resources Program. The dual-degree programs allow a student to complete both degrees in approximately 75% of the time it would take for the individual degrees in sequence. The dual degree option is attractive for advanced students who have field experience and who wish to accelerate their graduate education.

Other Degree Opportunities

Individual dual degree opportunities are also available with other departments on campus. The program of study is developed by the student and supported by the participating departments. Students have recently developed dual degrees with Architecture, Public Health, and Economics. Students should initiate an individual dual degree by talking with their faculty advisor.


CRP 165. Community and Regional Planning, Introduction. (3)

CRP 181. Introduction to Environmental Problems. (3)

CRP 203. Society and the Environment. (3)

CRP 265. Community Planning: Concepts and Methods. (3)

CRP 330. Introduction to Urban Design. (3)

CRP 376 / 576. Human Settlements. (3)

CRP 403 / 503. Community-Based Practice. (3)

CRP 416 / 516. The Natural History of Watersheds: A Field Approach. (3)

CRP 420. Environmental Design Studio [Urban Planning Workshop]. (3)

CRP 425 / 525. Urban Design Theory. (3)

CRP 427 / 527. Watershed Management. (3)

CRP 428 / 528. Gender and Economic Development. (3)

CRP 429 / 551. Problems. (1-3 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

CRP 431 / 531. Foundations of Community Development. (3)

CRP 433 / 533. Foundations of Physical Planning. (3)

CRP 435 / 535. Community Economics for Planners. (3)

CRP 437 / 537. Urban Systems. (3)

CRP 462 / 562. The Housing Process. (3)

CRP 465 / 565. Land Development Economics. (3)

CRP *466. Public Sector Project Analysis. (3)

CRP 467 / 567. Regional Planning Process and Theory. (3)

CRP 470. Seminar. (1-3, no limit Δ)

CRP 472/572. Indigenous Planning. (3)

CRP 473 / 573. Planning on Native American Lands. (3)

CRP 474 / 574. Cultural Aspects of Community Development Planning. (3)

CRP 480 / 580. Community Growth and Land Use Planning. (3)

CRP 481 / 581. Computer Applications for Planning and Administration. (3)

CRP 482 / 582. Graphic Communications. (3)

CRP 483 / 583. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). (3)

CRP 484 / 584. Neighborhood Planning. (3)

CRP 485 / 585. Practice of Negotiation and Public Dispute Resolution. (3)

CRP 486 / 586. Planning Issues in Chicano Communities. (3)

CRP 487 / 587. Political Economy of Urban Development. (3)

CRP 500. Planning Theory and Process. (4)

CRP 503 / 403. Community-Based Practice. (3)

CRP 508. Design and Planning Assistance Center. (3-6 to a maximum of 12 Δ)

CRP 510. Planning Communication Workshop . (2)

CRP 511. Analytical Methods for Planning. (4)

CRP 512. Planning Analysis and Forecasting. (3)

CRP 513 / 413. Qualitative Research Methods. (3)

CRP 515. Natural Resources Field Methods. (3)

CRP 516 / 416. The Natural History of Watersheds: A Field Approach. (3)

CRP 520. Planning Studio . (4)

CRP 521. Advanced Planning Studio. (5)

CRP 525 / 425. Urban Design Theory. (3)

CRP 527 / 427. Watershed Management. (3)

CRP 528 / 428. Gender and Economic Development. (3)

CRP 530. Internship. (2)

CRP 531 / 431. Foundations of Community Development. (3)

CRP 532. Foundations of Natural Resources. (3)

CRP 533 / 433. Foundations of Physical Planning. (3)

CRP 535 / 435. Community Economics for Planners. (3)

CRP 536. Social Policy and Planning. (3)

CRP 537 / 437. Urban Systems. (3)

CRP 543. Transportation Planning. (3)

CRP 545. Land Use Controls. (3)

CRP 551 / 429. Problems. (1-3, no limit Δ)

CRP 562 / 462. The Housing Process. (3)

CRP 563. Housing Seminar. (3)

CRP 565 / 465. Land Development Economics. (3)

CRP 567 / 467. Regional Planning Process and Theory. (3)

CRP 568. Advanced Urban Design. (4)

CRP 569. Rural Community Development. (3)

CRP 570. Seminar. (1-3, no limit Δ)

CRP 572/472. Indigenous Planning. (3)

CRP 573 / 473. Planning on Native American Lands. (3)

CRP 574 / 474. Cultural Aspects of Community Development Planning. (3)

CRP 576 / 376. Human Settlements. (3)

CRP 577. Practice of Policy Development. (3)

CRP 578. Latin American Development Planning. (3)

CRP 579. Introduction to Preservation and Regionalism. (3)

CRP 580 / 480. Community Growth and Land Use Planning. (3)

CRP 581 / 481. Computer Applications for Planning and Administration. (3)

CRP 582 / 482. Graphic Communications. (3)

CRP 583 / 483. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). (3)

CRP 584 / 484. Neighborhood Planning. (3)

CRP 585 / 485. Practice of Negotiation and Public Dispute Resolution. (3)

CRP 586 / 486. Planning Issues in Chicano Communities. (3)

CRP 587 / 487. Political Economy of Urban Development. (3)

CRP 588. Professional Project/Thesis Preparation Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

CRP 589. Professional Project II. (1 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

CRP 590. Historic Research Methods. (3)

CRP 591. Introduction to Preservation and Regionalism. (3)

CRP 592. Public Works. (3)

CRP 593. Civic Places. (3)

CRP 599. Master’s Thesis. (1-6, no limit Δ)

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Office of the Registrar

MSC 11 6325
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-8900
Fax: (505) 277-6809