2014 MAP/MSCP Focus Areas | Concentrations

Focus Areas:

  1. Community Development and Social Planning
  2. Comparative Development Planning
  3. Disaster and Risk Management Planning
  4. Ecological and Natural Resources Planning
  5. Transportation Planning
  6. Urban Development Planning


  1. Indigenous Community Planning
  2. Urban Design

Please note that there will be variations in what courses are offered in each year.

The School of Community & Regional Planning Masters program now offers eight areas of study including six focus areas and two concentrations. The intent of the identification of focus areas/concentrations is to help the applicant gain more clarity about his/her learning goals, assist the school in making decisions about the composition of the incoming class and ensure diversity within the student cohort and congruence with faculty members' areas of expertise. We ask applicants to choose two preferences from the list of eight areas. Please clearly indicate your first and second preferences using focus areas and concentration list above before making your selection.

To further assist you in considering where your interests lie we encourage you to review the information provided on careers in planning by the Canadian Institute of Planners and American Planning Association. To appreciate the immense diversity of possible careers for graduates with a planning degree you should also consult web sites for other organizations of planners (e.g. Planners Network or the National Urban Design Group of CIP) and for closely associated practitioner organizations (e.g. Association of Conflict Resolution).

It is important to realize that, beyond the Masters Program requirements, the six substantive focus areas are a general guide and do not restrict the ways in which you can customize your program to fit your particular interests and career aspirations in consultation with your faculty advisor. For example, beyond the required courses and distribution requirements, students may choose to emphasize courses selected from within one area (e.g. urban development planning), or from among offerings in each of the six areas (e.g. if their interests lie in working in developing countries on disaster management through community-based approaches to land use and transportation planning). Students wanting to take either of the two concentration areas in Urban Design or Indigenous Community Planning must take additional required courses as indicated in the descriptions below.


A set of Advising Guidelines have been drafted for each focus area and concentration to assist students in designing their programs in ways that meet their interests within accreditation requirements of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the US Planning Accreditation Board. The course options capitalize on the unique research, professional practice and teaching strengths of the School’s faculty, as well as additional faculty members who are available through other UBC departments and other universities through the Western Deans' Agreement. By reviewing the Advising Guidelines linked to the focus areas and concentrations, and the outlines of the courses indicated in each area, you can obtain detailed information about the subjects they cover.

Students will work with their assigned Faculty Advisor (and Research Supervisor, once selected) to design a program of studies that is appropriate to their needs, which incorporates the Program Requirements. Faculty members will indicate the courses that students are expected to take if they wish that faculty member to be their Research Supervisor. The Urban Design and Indigenous Community Planning concentrations already have specific requirements and other focus areas may develop some in the future.