Master of Regional Planning

Our Master of Regional Planning is a multifaceted, trans-disciplinary program that prepares the next generation of change-makers for building more just, inclusive, sustainable, and joyful cities and communities. 

At CRP, we believe planners and urbanists can and should take up some of our world's most complex and urgent challenges — from decarbonization and climate adaptation to accessibility and housing to fair governance and policymaking — and come together to create thriving, healthy places for people of all generations and identities. 

CRP's nationally and internationally recognized faculty specialize in spatial, social, economic, and policy analysis and propose integrative responses that impact housing, land use, environment, transportation, historic preservation, health, and urban design. Our global classrooms equip students to be change agents no matter where their work takes them. 

The M.R.P. is an accredited, two-year program that focuses on how cities and regions work, and how researchers and practitioners identify problems and their causes with an eye toward viable, lasting solutions. Critically, M.R.P. graduates learn how to develop processes, strategies, and designs that make meaningful impact and improve life in our cities and communities the world over.

Post-graduation, M.R.P. alumni often work for local, regional, state, national, or international governments, community and environmental non-profit organizations, design, real estate, and technology firms, among other organizations and agencies. 

The M.R.P. has STEM designation, making international graduates eligible to extend their F-1 visas for up to three years for work in the United States.

Learn more about the M.R.P. at Cornell AAP

Intellectual Diversity and Opportunity 

M.R.P. students engage with faculty who lead the planning field in research covering environmental, social, and spatial justice; historic preservation; transportation; data science; and international planning, among other areas.

The university's motto of "Any Person, Any Study.." not only reflects intellectual diversity at Cornell and CRP, but also speaks to the flexibility we offer students to create their own course of study that aligns with their personal interests and career goals in any area of planning and/or urbanism.

Worldwide Partnerships

Planning faculty work within research and teaching networks that extend from our roots in Ithaca and Upstate New York to the rest of the world, including Cornell AAP campuses in New York City and Rome. Teaching and research at CRP include, but are not limited to, climate adaptation in Ithaca and Nairobi; creating circular cities and age-friendly communities in New York State; building a national zoning atlas for the U.S. to make code more publicly accessible; and enabling reparative planning in segregated communities of the U.S. South and South Africa. 

Our students analyze and learn from planning examples ranging from megacities like New York City and Shanghai to medium-sized cities across the American Rustbelt to small and rural communities in Upstate New York and the Nilgiris District in India. Our diverse and international student body also provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn from people and places around the world.

Future-Building Engagement

The M.R.P. curriculum integrates practical experiences both in the classroom and in the field. Students acquire a broad foundation in the history, theory, and economics of cities; specific technical skills such as urban design, spatial mapping and analytics, and graphic communications; as well as communication skills such as public speaking, community engagement, professional writing, real-world workshops, and funded internships. As one of the largest planning programs in the U.S., we have an extensive network of alumni who join us in teaching, mentoring, and helping current students take what they learn at Cornell to build successful careers and better, more just, resilient, and adaptable cities and communities. 

The Master of Regional Planning at CRP is a two-year program based in Ithaca, New York, with the option of studying at Cornell AAP's campuses in New York City or Rome, Italy. At Cornell, graduate students in planning learn the ins and outs of the disciplines in various ways and contexts from seminars, workshops, and labs, independent research, research assistantships and faculty mentorship, local and international field trips, student-led organizations and governance bodies, and lectures and talkback sessions featuring leading practitioners and CRP alums. 

Required Courses

The M.R.P. program requires a set of core classes (about 30 credits) and allows students to take remaining classes (also, about 30 credits) in programs and departments across the university. The core curriculum provides a foundation in planning history and practice, urban theory, and the tools for planning analysis — both qualitative and quantitative. It also includes requirements such as law or international institutions, microeconomics, statistics, and intensive client-based workshops. You must complete a summer internship and a final capstone, or "exit project." Learn more about our curriculum and requirements.

M.R.P. students can choose from a range of elective classes from across the university to explore curiosities, develop specializations, and integrate passions into their course of study and ultimately, their career path. 


CRP offers four concentrations. Concentrations are not required but help students organize their electives and develop a specialized area of expertise in planning. The first three — Designing the City; Economic Development Planning: Communities and Regions; and Land Use and Environmental Planning — are thematic, while the fourth, International Studies in Planning, is for students wishing to work outside of the U.S. It is common for International Studies students to also work in the other three concentrations. 

Learn more about these concentrations and suggested classes:

Exit Project and Other Research Opportunities

Our students have many opportunities to work with faculty, including through their research labs. This can involve desk and field research, event organizing, presentations at conferences and workshops, and publications. 

In addition, M.R.P. students are required to complete an exit project of their own design with the guidance of their advisor. This can be a research paper, a professional report for a client, or an in-depth, original thesis project that demonstrates higher-order learning skills and self-awareness, prompting students with questions such as: What issue area am I most interested in and where? How do I ask a question that I can answer with rigor and insight? What methods are appropriate and feasible? How can I access the data, funding, or other resources to help me do this work? How can I communicate my findings clearly and professionally through my writing, maps, and other graphics? This challenging experience prepares graduates to face novel tasks and challenges that confront planners in the workplace.

Engaged Learning Experiences

Experiential learning outside the classroom helps students develop effective planning leadership and communication skills and build close relationships with classmates, faculty, and alumni.

  • Fall field trip — Each fall, first-year master's students in CRP's planning, historic preservation, and regional science programs travel to New York City for three days to explore a specific theme through site tours, visits with professional and community organizations, and exercises to observe and analyze the city. 
  • Work Weekend — Each spring, CRP's historic preservation planning master's program organizes a work weekend for the whole department, during which we help to restore a historic site, monument, or building. You get your hands dirty, that's for sure! 
  • Design Connect — This student-run program provides small Upstate New York communities with pro bono design, planning, and engagement support. Each semester, this student-run organization identifies community-driven projects in Upstate New York and helps to form teams, manage field visits and local community engagements, and ultimately deliver plans, designs, or guides that help advance the work being done around the region while students learn from the experience. 
  • Student organizations — Our students run the Organization of Cornell Planners, Women Planning Forum, International Planning Student Organization, Preservation Studies Student Organization, and Planning Students for Equity and Inclusion. These groups help govern CRP's academic and social life, from organizing calls to action, lectures, and career networking events to running fundraising auctions, open houses, and social events. 
  • Summer internships — All M.R.P. students participate in a summer internship or research project, most with funding support from Cornell. AAP's career development office works with students to develop the career skills to land these opportunities. Some summer internships often evolve into M.R.P. exit projects or convert into permanent employment.
  • CRP faculty and student activities — The CRP Student Blog and CRP Instagram showcase select planning student and faculty experiences. 
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