M.A./M.S. RS Curriculum and Requirements

Four semesters of course work plus a master's thesis are required for the master's degree. The amount of course work may be less depending on a student's prior academic background.

The special committee for a master's degree candidate is composed of a chairperson who represents the major subject in regional science and one other faculty member who represents the minor field. The special committee chairperson directs the thesis research.

Below is a selection of potential classes in a typical program of course work for the master's degree. Other programs are also possible depending on a student's background and professional interests. Students may select other classes with the guidance of a faculty advisor. For a full list of class descriptions, visit the Courses of Study website.

Sample Curriculum

First semester:

First-semester classes and credits.
Class Credits
AEM 6120 Applied Economics 3
CRP 5080 GIS for PlannersThis course is designed to provide students with a conceptual understanding of geographic information systems (GIS) and sciences, practical hands on experience with GIS software, and understanding of how GIS can be applied to planning practice and research. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts, structures, and functions of GIS as well as their applications and limitations. By the end of this course students should be familiar with a range of available tools and methods to address planning related problems and issues, and be able to conceive of and manage a GIS project. This involves a) identifying a planning analysis/research problem that requires GIS data and spatial analysis to address/analyze the problem; and b) collecting, processing, and analyzing spatial data to interpret the findings. 4
CRP 6270 Regional Economic Impact AnalysisThis course defines the context of a regional economy, taking a systems approach to sustainable development planning. Students will be introduced to the techniques of input-output analysis and will learn how to use social accounting models to evaluate social and environmental impacts. We will use international datasets and will also learn IMPLAN, a software and database designed to quantify the impact of exogenous forces on U.S. regions. Examples of exogenous forces include out-migration of population, natural disasters, financial flows, or the introduction of new activities. The course methods enable practicing professionals to integrate environmental and social dimensions of planning into the framework of economic impact analysis. 3
CRP 6990 Special Topics in Regional ScienceThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to planning and developing regions. Topics vary each semester. 1–3
ILRST 5100 Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences I OR AEM 4110 Introduction to Econometrics 3

Second semester:

Second-semester classes and credits.
Class Credits
CRP 5250 Introductory Methods of Planning AnalysisThis course provides an introduction to methods for developing and evaluating (for the most part) quantitative information in support of planning. The methods considered are widely used by planning practitioners and policy analysts and embody modalities of thinking that often structure the ways that issues are framed for public discussions and policy decisions. CRP 5250 is a four-credit-hour course; hence, by university expectations, it is assumed that students will spend up to eight hours per week on readings and assignments or in attending recitation sessions outside of class. 4
CRP 6330 Methods of Regional Science and Planning IIIs the world flat and "distance is dead"? Despite recent claims, geographic proximity in social interactions has never been more important. How do we introduce space into our models for planning analysis? Why are things as they are? How do we evaluate plans/policies when spatial interactions matter? The course addresses these questions drawing on recent advances in spatial modeling. The methods to be discussed include the framework of inter-regional input-output (IRIO), structural path analysis (SPA), computable general equilibrium (CGE), and agent-based modeling (ABM). We will begin with the top-down IMPLAN analyses, which are appropriate for static, short-term planning challenges, but less so for regions and cities that change continuously. Regions and cities are adaptive, self-organizing systems of individuals whose interdependent actions create urban forms and produce spatial patterns. To explore how macro-patterns emerge from micro-behavior, we will discuss the bottom-up framework of agent-based modeling. The models to be discussed are analytically intractable: results can only be derived using numerical simulations. The analysis therefore requires computer packages, including IMPLAN, Excel, GAMS, and NetLogo. 4
ECON 3140 Econometrics 4
ILRST 5110 Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences II 3
NTRES 6200 Spatial Modeling and Analysis 4

Third semester:

Third-semester classes and credits.
Class Credits
AEM 4120 Computational Methods for Management and Economics 3
CRP 8000 Advanced Seminar in Urban and Regional Theory IIntroduction to key conceptual and empirical literature in urban theory. Focuses on the relationship between political and economic processes and their joint influence on urban spatial form. 3
CRP 8300 Seminar in Regional Science, Planning, and Policy AnalysisCRP 8300 is a weekly seminar at which faculty, students, and visitors present their research on topics of current interest. Presentations usually involve formal or quantitative analyses of developments in regional economies and policy or planning implications. 1–4
CRP 8910 Master's Thesis in Regional Science 1–12
Other electives 3

Fourth semester:

Fourth-semester classes and credits.
Class Credits
AEM 6510 Environmental and Resources Economics 4
CRP 8010 Advanced Seminar in Urban and Regional Theory IIThis course surveys traditional and more recent explanations of the location, aggregation, and fragmentation of economic activities in space under different assumptions about the mobility of factors, transportation (or more generally, transaction) costs, economies of scale, and the competitiveness of markets. The relationship between theories of trade and location will be considered, as will the effects on spatial economies of policy interventions. 3
CRP 8910 Master's Thesis in Regional Science 1–12
NTRES 6700 Spatial Statistics 3
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