Graduate Program

Degree Offered

  • Master of Community and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.)
    Concentrations: Community Development; Indigenous Planning; Natural Resources and Environmental Planning; Physical Planning and Design.


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 program provides training opportunities in both rural and 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 (CRP) program is nationally accredited by The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). The program received renewal of its accreditation in 2014. 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 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, Indigenous Planning, Natural Resources and 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 demonstrated capacity to perform high quality graduate study, based upon academic transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses taken by the applicant. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the last two years of an applicant’s undergraduate study. The transcript is reviewed for course work that demonstrates preparation for a professional degree in planning, such as social and life sciences, statistics, economics, and ethnic, gender and area studies.
  • 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.
  • The fit with the CRP program in terms of our community-based planning philosophy and focus, the natural resources, indigenous planning, community development, and physical planning concentrations, and our concern with issues of equity and social justice.
  • 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.


The application deadline for Fall admission is February 15. All materials must be received by 5:00 PM on that date. Applications received after February 15 and before April 1 are considered in a second round of admissions held before April 15, on a space available basis. Spring admissions are considered for special circumstances only (contact graduate advisor). Applications are not considered for the summer term. 

The UNM online graduate admissions application allows applicants to upload all of the necessary documents for application to the program of interest. Within the application, click the Application Instructions link to see program specific requirements. To apply to the M.C.R.P. program, the applicant must do the following:

For the UNM Graduate Admissions Application, submit:

  • UNM Graduate Admissions Application (online);
  • Application $50 Admission fee (online);
  • Official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended (must be mailed to the UNM Office of Admissions).

For the M.C.R.P. program specific application, upload:

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

International Students also need to submit the following:

  • An attested copy of diploma;
  • Official TOEFL scores that must meet the University of New Mexico minimum of 79 on the IBT TOEFL, or official IELTS minimum score of 6.5.


For questions about the M.C.R.P. admissions process, please contact Beth Rowe, School of Architecture and Planning Graduate Advisor: (505) 277-1303,

Course of Study and Degree Completion

The M.C.R.P. degree program is a two-year course of study for which a minimum of 48 credit hours is required. This program requires four parts for the completion of the degree: 1) 48 credit hours of course work as indicated in the program of study; 2) the Graduate Review; 3) demonstrated competency in two areas described below; 4) a thesis or professional project to be presented in public, or completion of a capstone studio.

Students enrolled in this program are allowed to take up to 12 credit 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 545
CRP 580
Land Use Controls

Community Growth and Land Use Planning
  Total 13

Concentration Course Requirements

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

Elective Course Requirements

  • Students must take 21 credit hours of approved elective course work.
Exit Course Requirements

CRP 588 Professional Project/Thesis Preparation Seminar 2

CRP 599

CRP 589
CRP 597
CRP 598
Plan I
Master's Thesis

Plan II
Professional Project

Capstone Planning Studio

iTown Studio
  Total 8

The Graduate Review

The Graduate Review should take place at the student’s request after the completion of 12 credit 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 reviews 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, professional project, or capstone studio proposal. The student shall also show completion of courses fulfilling the competencies in the student's chosen concentration. Assessment of the student’s performance in the program to date and proposals for future work 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.

Spatial Analysis and Professional Deliverable Competencies

Students in the M.C.R.P. program must demonstrate competency in the following two areas. Students have the option of completing internships or projects, and completing spatial analysis courses or other work to demonstrate competency in these areas. This requires faculty consultation to determine course work or internships that help demonstrate each competency, and approval from students’ advisors.

  • Competency 1: Providing a real-time professional deliverable to a client.
  • Competency 2: Using spatial analysis to analyze planning problems and develop planning solutions.

To fulfill Competency 2 (spatial analysis), students may complete either CRP 583 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, or Geographic Information Systems courses from other UNM departments, with faculty advisor approval. Students are responsible for consulting with their advisor regarding the best way to meet this requirement.

Thesis, Professional Project, or Capstone Studio

The thesis/professional project is a formal document prepared in consultation with the student’s faculty committee and presented in public. Students who choose to complete the capstone studio option complete six credit hours of studio work and are evaluated by a committee. The thesis/professional project/capstone studio 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 may be certified through the American Institute for Certified Planners (AICP).

Dual Degrees

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 developed dual degrees with Architecture, Public Health, Economics, and Landscape Architecture. Students should initiate an individual dual degree by talking with their faculty advisor.

Minor Study

Minor in Community and Regional Planning

Graduate students interested in a minor course of study in Community and Regional Planning (CRP) must schedule an appointment with the School of Architecture and Planning graduate advisor in George Pearl Hall, room 115 to complete a Minor Declaration form.


  Select two of the following foundations courses: 6
CRP 531 Foundations of Community Development
CRP 532 Foundations of Natural Resources
CRP 533 Foundations of Physical Planning
CRP 534 Foundations of Indigenous Planning
A CRP methods course in community development, indigenous planning, natural resources or physical planning chosen in consultation with faculty advisor. 3
An additional emphasis elective in community development, indigenous planning, natural resources or physical planning selected in consultation with faculty advisor. 3
Total 12


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

CRP 181. Introduction to Environmental Problems. (3)

CRP 265. Sustainable Community Planning Methods. (3)

CRP 330. Introduction to Urban Design. (3)

CRP 376 / 576. Human Settlements. (3)

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

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

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

CRP 420. Environmental Design Studio. (5)

CRP 421. Urban Design Studio. (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 435 / 535. Community Economics for Planners. (3)

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

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

CRP 470. Seminar. (1-3, no limit Δ)

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

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

CRP 480. 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 513 / 413. Qualitative Research 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 527 / 427. Watershed Management. (3)

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

CRP 530. Internship. (2)

CRP 531. Foundations of Community Development. (3)

CRP 532. Foundations of Natural Resources. (3)

CRP 533. Foundations of Physical Planning. (3)

CRP 534 [572]. Foundations of Indigenous Planning [Indigenous Planning]. (3)

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

CRP 537. Urban Systems. (3)

CRP 538. Community Participatory Methods. (3)

CRP 539. Indigenous Space, Place and Mapping. (3)

CRP 540. Pueblo Design and Planning. (3)

CRP 541. Navajo Design and Planning. (3)

CRP 543. Transportation Planning. (3)

CRP 545. Land Use Controls. (3)

CRP 546. Contemporary Indigenous Architecture. (3)

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

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

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

CRP 569. Rural Community Development. (3)

CRP 570. Seminar. (1-3, no limit Δ)

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 580. 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. (1-6, no limit Δ)

CRP 590. Historic Research Methods. (3)

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

CRP 597. Capstone Planning Studio. (1-6, no limit Δ)

CRP 598. iTown Studio. (1-6, no limit Δ)

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

CRP 691. Sustainable Settlements. (3)

CRP 692. Urban Outcomes Analysis. (3)

CRP 693. Urban Goals and Components Analysis. (1-3)

CRP 694. Urban Design Methods. (1-3)

CRP 695. Urban Development and Regulation. (1-3)

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