Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP)

This 24-month program is designed to continuously anticipate and respond to the world’s rapidly changing urban, regional, and global environments. The program provides foundational knowledge, skills, and attitudes that professional planners need to enter and succeed in the workplace. Graduates from MCRP work in a wide range of exciting and influential jobs in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. In recent years, 95% of the graduates from the MCRP program have secured planning-related employment within one year of graduation.
MCRP is the only master’s degree in Planning accredited in both Canada (by the Professional Standards Board of the Canadian Institute of Planners) and the United States (by the Planning Accreditation Board of the American Planning Association). This dual accreditation, with its broader curriculum and employment eligibility, means graduates are qualified to work as planners in Canada, the U.S., and any other country that recognizes Canadian and American planning accreditation. More about MCRP's accredited status

Update for 2022/2023 academic year

SCARP has updated MCRP's course requirements for all future cohorts, to keep pace with a rapidly-changing world and the range of problems that planners try to solve. The updated program addresses some of the biggest challenges facing society today, including climate change, systemic injustice, and planning for more resilient communities; as well as ongoing efforts to repair relationships with Indigenous people and decolonize planning in Canada. The new program structure is in effect as of the 2022/2023 cohort. Students enrolled in September 2021 will not be held to the updated requirements, and can proceed as per their established program plan. 

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Overview

Curriculum

The curriculum describes professional planning practice, the process and institutional arrangements for planning, planning’s ideological basis, and the role and ethical responsibility of planners.

The program also offers:

  • Opportunities for students with narrow disciplinary training to broaden their knowledge, in order to better assume responsibilities in planning and management
  • Opportunities for students with a generalist background to acquire greater disciplinary rigour in a planning-related topical area of their choice
  • Flexibility within a structured format to design a program of studies to satisfy individual needs
  • Formal coursework, studio experience, and internship alike

Concentrations

A concentration is a specific area of emphasis within the program. You are not required to declare a concentration; they are an optional tool to help you customize your school experience. Declaring a concentration will inform the types of classes you will take to fulfill the requirements for your degree. A concentration will also help inform potential employers about your specific area of interest and expertise.

As of the 2022/2023 academic year, SCARP's only official concentration option is Indigenous Community Planning (ICP). You may speak to your Faculty Advisor regarding the prospect of a custom concentration, suited to your needs and interests.

Program Structure, Content, and Requirements

Please select the version of the Program as per your enrollment year.

SELECT IF YOU ARE ENROLLED AS OF THE 2021/2022 ACADEMIC YEAR

Note: These requirements will not apply to you if you are enrolling into the 2022/2023 academic year onward.

 Program Structure

  • 30 credits in required courses, tailored to the evolving demands of the planning profession
  • 18 credits of elective courses you select based on interests and professional aspirations
  • A second-year 2-term studio course that integrates theories and methods covered throughout the curriculum into a single team-based project, with a real client or community group
  • Internship experience and mentorship opportunities with local planning practitioners
Required Courses (during 2021/2022 academic year)
Code
Credits
Description
Required for
MCRP?
Required for
MCRP-ICP?
Required for
MCRP-UD?
PLAN 5083Foundations of Planning Theory and Historyxxx
PLAN 5092Urbanism as a Global Way of Lifexxx
PLAN 5102Environment and Sustainability Concepts for Planning Practicexxx
PLAN 5213Quantitative Skills for Plannersxxx
PLAN 5222Qualitative Data Collection and Analysisxxx
PLAN 5232The Profession of Planningxxx
PLAN 5242Legal Concepts for Professional Planningxxx
PLAN 5252Planning Practice Methodsxxx
PLAN 5266Selected Topics in Experiential Learning: The Planning Studioxxx
PLAN 5273Internshipxxx
PLAN 528A3Capstone Professional Report x x
PLAN 528B6Capstone Professional Report - Indigenous Community Planning x 
PLAN 5033Strategic Planning for Community Economic Development x 
PLAN 5173Theory and Methods of Urban Design  x
PLAN 5333Indigenous Community Planning: Ways of Being & Knowing x 
PLAN 5533Indigenous Law and Governance x 
PLAN 587A3Urban Design  x
PLAN 587B3Urban Design Studio  x
PLAN 5953Negotiation, Facilitation, and Mediation: Principle & Practices x 
TOTAL CREDITS (not including elective requirements):304542

Electives

Electives can be courses within SCARP or in other departments that relate to the student’s interests.  No more than 6 elective credits may be at the undergraduate (300/400) level.

Course Structure (during 2021/2022 academic year)
General MCRP (during 2021/2022 academic year)
Year 1 Term 1
Year 1 Term 2
Year 1 Summer
Year 2 Term 1
Year 2 Term 2
Year 2 Summer
PLAN 508PLAN 509PLAN 527PLAN 523PLAN528 (optional)PLAN 528A
PLAN 510PLAN 522 PLAN 526PLAN 526 (continued) 
PLAN 521PLAN 524    
PLAN 525     
Indigenous Community Planning Concentration (during 2021/2022 academic year)

Students in the Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration complete a modified set of general MCRP requirements plus a set of ICP-specific requirements. 

Year 1 Term 1
Year 1 Term 2
Year 1 Summer
Year 2 Term 1
Year 2 Term 2
Year 2 Summer
PLAN 508PLAN 509PLAN 527APLAN 523  
PLAN 510PLAN 522 PLAN 526/PLAN528BPLAN 526/PLAN 528B 
PLAN 521PLAN 524 PLAN 503  
PLAN 525PLAN 553    
PLAN 533PLAN 595    
Urban Design Concentration (during 2021/2022 academic year)
YEAR 1 TERM 1
YEAR 1 TERM 2
YEAR 1 SUMMER
YEAR 2 TERM 1
YEAR 2 TERM 2
YEAR 2 SUMMER

PLAN 508

PLAN 509PLAN 527APLAN 523PLAN 528APLAN 528A
PLAN 510PLAN 522PLAN 587BPLAN 526PLAN 526 (continued) 
PLAN 521PLAN 524    
PLAN 525PLAN 587A    
PLAN 517     

 For more information regarding course dates and times, please visit the UBC Course Schedule.   

Capstone Project

In the second year of the MCRP program, students are expected to complete the Capstone as the final requirement for their program. The major purpose of the Capstone is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of their planning education and synthesize their knowledge of planning. The Capstone serves as a culmination of the MCRP degree program, allowing students to articulate and demonstrate the competency they have developed in their chosen focus area, through synthesis and/or application of the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they have gained in the program. It is expected that students will be able to use the Capstone output to demonstrate their professional competency to potential employers.

Please note that the Capstone Project, through the course PLAN 528A, fulfills the Synthesis and Application of Knowledge to Practice skills component as established and required for program accreditation by the Canadian planning accreditation body, the Professional Standards Board (PSB).

Format

The Capstone can take a range of forms, as this flexibility allows students to define a Capstone that will best meet their individual educational objectives. Options include:

1. Professional Research Report

The product of the Capstone may be a professional report in which the student investigates a well-defined, practical planning-related question or problem. In this case, the student demonstrates competency by defining an applied problem in his/her chosen focus area and conducting appropriate research to address it. Further details are provided below. Reports should not exceed 30 pages (at 1.5 spacing) in length including executive summary, tables, figures, and references. This is roughly equivalent to a word-count limit of 7,000 words. Appendices may be added and are not counted in this page limit.

2. Professional Portfolio

The product of the Capstone course may be a portfolio of work produced during the MCRP degree program (e.g., from courses, internship, and/or studio) accompanied by a synthesis report. In this option, the student demonstrates competency through articulating a chosen focus area, reflecting on his/her explorations in the context of the pieces of work, and synthesizing various strands of thought into a cohesive, integrated approach to planning. The portfolio should include information to contextualize each piece of work, such as goals, outputs, and the specific role of the student in the case of team projects. The synthesis report should integrate knowledge developed in several learning environments at SCARP. The synthesis report should be approximately 5 to 10 pages in length (at 1.5 spacing), not exceeding 3,000 words.

Examples of the professional research report option include:

  • An internship extension report – A written report that builds on the student's internship experience. This could involve, for example, analyzing data that had been collected during the internship.
  • A studio extension report – A written report that builds on the student's studio experience. This could involve addressing a problem that is related to but outside the scope of the client-defined studio project.
  • An independent research report – A professional report that involves independent research outside the scope of courses, internship, or studio. The report may be undertaken for a real or hypothetical client. In some cases, it may be appropriate to conduct time-intensive activities that exceed the expectations of the 3-credit Capstone course; for example, a student may need to conduct a thorough literature review in an area where courses were not available. In these cases, a student may choose to take a Directed Study course (PLAN 550, 3 credits) in conjunction with the Capstone, particularly if this helps with meeting the 48-credit MCRP requirement.

3. Alternative form

With the approval of the Faculty Advisor, a student may complete the Capstone in an alternative form, such as a film, other multi-media product, or website. The Capstone product must be commensurate with the portfolio or research report options in terms of general content and depth of exploration, and must be accompanied by a paper of approximately 5 to 10 pages in length (at 1.5 spacing), not exceeding 3,000 words. 

Course Credit

MCRP students will receive 3 credits for completing the Capstone Project via the registration in PLAN 528A. Please note that PLAN 528A is a MCRP Program Requirement and students must be registered in the course to complete their MCRP program (Exception: MCRP students in the Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration). Information on the course, PLAN 528A may be found in the Course Outline.

Students are not permitted to register for PLAN 528A. Instead, this is initiated by the Graduate Administrator, who registers the student upon receiving the Capstone Selection form and Outline, approved and signed by the student’s Faculty Advisor. Registration in PLAN 528A continues until completion of the Capstone.

Supervision

Even though the student’s Capstone Project is considered an independent research project, their Capstone Project is supervised by their assigned Faculty Advisor. Faculty Advisors advise students regarding all phases of the Capstone, including which Capstone option to pursue:

  • For the Capstone Project option, the Faculty Advisor advises on topic selection, project design, data collection and analysis, and finalizing the report.
  • For the Capstone Portfolio option, the Faculty Advisor advises on the selection, representation and synthesis of course outputs and the development of the portfolio narrative.

Students are expected to meet with their Faculty Advisor in their second year to discuss their Capstone topic and format.  This procedure is formalized by completing a Capstone Selection form. The Faculty Advisor must indicate their agreement to oversee the Capstone by signing the student's Capstone form. The form and outline (as appropriate; one page is adequate) must be submitted to the Graduate Administrator to initiate registration in the Capstone course, PLAN 528A.

Students submit a final copy of their Capstone to their Faculty Advisor by the set deadline and a grade is communicated to the Graduate Administrator for the student’s academic record.

Completed Capstone Projects:

Capstone professional reports completed by our graduated MCRP students who received a final grade within the A to A+ range may be found in UBC's digital repository, cIRcle. 

Due to confidentiality reasons, Capstone professional reports completed by our graduated MCRP students in the Indigenous Community Planning concentration are not publicly available.

Capstone professional portfolios completed by our graduated MCRP students who received a final grade within the A to A+ range may be found here

Review of Relevant Links:

SELECT IF YOU ARE ENROLLING INTO THE 2022/2023 ACADEMIC YEAR ONWARDS

Note: these requirements will apply to you if you are enrolling into the 2022/2023 academic year or beyond.

Program Structure

  • 42 credits in required courses, tailored to the evolving demands of the planning profession
  • 18 credits of elective courses you select based on interests and professional aspirations
  • A second-year 2-term studio course that integrates theories and methods covered throughout the curriculum into a single team-based project, with a real client or community group
  • Internship experience and mentorship opportunities with local planning practitioners
Required Courses (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
CodeCreditsDescriptionRequired for
MCRP?
Required for
MCRP-ICP?
PLAN 5003Comparative Perspectives on Planning History and FuturesXX
PLAN 5013Reconciliation and PlanningX 
PLAN 5023Sustainability and Resilience in PlanningXX
PLAN 5043Urban Design and Visual RepresentationXX
PLAN 5053Planning Theory, Values, and EthicsXX
PLAN 5063Information and Analysis in PlanningXX
PLAN 5073Engagement and Facilitation for PlannersXX
PLAN 5113The Legal and Institutional Context of PlanningXX
PLAN 5123Urban Economics, Infrastructure, and Real Estate Issues in PlanningX 
PLAN 5133Making and Implementing Community and Regional PlansX 
PLAN 5143Indigenous Planning: Ways of Being, Knowing, and Doing X
PLAN 5153Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning X
PLAN 5163Planning for Community Economic Development X
PLAN 5406Planning PraxisX 
PLAN 5416Planning StudioX 
PLAN 54312Indigenous Community Planning Practicum X
TOTAL CREDITS (not including elective requirements):4242
ELECTIVE COURSES (no more than 6 credits may be at the undergraduate level, i.e., 300/400):1818
TOTAL CREDITS:6060
Electives (as of 2022/2023 academic year)

Electives can be courses (within SCARP or in other departments) that relate to the student’s interests and can count towards your MCRP program course requirements. 

There are many possibly advantageous or relevant electives that may serve to complement and broaden your understanding of planning issues. Please talk to your faculty advisor, who may have advice depending on your particular lens on planning.

Please note:

  • Some courses require you contact the course instructor and/or department offering the course for permission to be registered
  • Course offering and availability are subject to change by the School offering the course. 
  • No more than 6 credits of undergraduate-level (300-400) courses will count towards your MCRP program.
  • Courses can potentially be taken at other universities through the Western Deans' agreement.
  • Please make decisions about whether to take SCARP, UBC, or non-UBC courses in consultation with your faculty advisor. SCARP's established electives have a diverse and comprehensive array of lenses into the world of planning.
Course Structure (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
General MCRP (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
Year 1 Term 1Year 1 Term 2Year 1 SummerYear 2 Term 1Year 2 Term 2Year 2 Summer
PLAN 500PLAN 505 PLAN 512  
PLAN 501PLAN 506 PLAN 513  
PLAN 502PLAN 507    
PLAN 504PLAN 511 -----PLAN 541----- 
 -------------------PLAN 540------------------
Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)
ICP Concentration (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
Year 1 Term 1Year 1 Term 2Year 1 SummerYear 2 Term 1Year 2 Term 2Year 2 Summer
PLAN 500PLAN 505 PLAN 516PLAN 511 
PLAN 502PLAN 506 -----PLAN 543-----
PLAN 504PLAN 507    
PLAN 514PLAN 515    
Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)Elective(s)

For more information regarding course dates and times, please visit the UBC Course Schedule.   

Concentrations and areas of focus

Beyond the common foundation provided by the MCRP core courses, students may choose to gain expertise and experience in a particular domain of planning. While some students will elect to pursue a pre-structured Area of Concentration, others may customize a focus area to reflect their interests.

Whether formal or informal, if developing a focus area or AoC students should select a suite of appropriate courses (minimum 12 credits) in consultation with their faculty advisor. As a general guideline, it is suggested that programs with areas of concentration a combination of courses reflecting broad knowledge, specific skills, in-depth knowledge, and perhaps field experience. 

Concentrations

SCARP has designed the following Areas of Concentration:

Informal Areas of Focus

Comparative Development Planning

The Comparative Development Planning area of concentration represents critical analysis of the development/governance logics, processes, and policies shaping local conditions with respect to ongoing urban transition. The scope of this analysis includes local, regional, national, and global scales.

Comparative Development examines the importance of local knowledge, cultural specificity, and relevance of local political, social, and economic structures and forces, as well as their consequences for local trajectories of socioeconomic change and development. It covers the range of factors (e.g., elites, politics), forces (e.g., agency, capitals, modes of accumulation) and institutions (e.g., states, markets, communities, organizations) whose origins lie beyond the local.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in the fields of local, national, regional, and international development planning, at various levels of:

  • Governance
  • Multilateral and bilateral development agencies
  • Philanthropic foundations
  • Volunteer-based organizations
  • Social enterprises
  • Non-profits
  • Non-government and corporate organizations
Environmental Planning

Environmental Planning is concerned with the interaction of human settlements and the natural environment. Communities and governments make many decisions, policies, and plans that have profound impacts on the health and integrity of social and ecological systems. Environmental Planning responds to this problem, with an overarching goal of helping planners design human settlements in a way that minimizes impacts on natural ecosystems and minimizes risks to humans.

In addition to a general Environmental Planning AoC, some options for customized AoCs include:  Disaster and Risk Management Planning; Environment and Infrastructure Planning; and Environment and Health Planning.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in environmental planning at various levels of government, non-profit organizations, and consulting companies. Graduates of this area have worked in such areas as sustainability planning, climate change adaptation planning, and disaster resilience planning.

Social Planning and Policy for Inclusive Communities

Social Policy and Planning for Inclusive Communities is concerned with the always-uneven impacts of economic growth and change, and thereby of developing innovative ways of addressing urban and regional inequalities. It is also concerned with life-cycle planning issues such as child friendly cities and aging in place. From affordable housing and homelessness to the social integration of immigrants, urban Indigenous voice and wellbeing, accommodating transgender needs and more, the overarching goal is to support the development of inclusive, non-discriminatory communities.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in social planning at various levels of government, Indigenous-serving organizations and communities, philanthropic foundations, volunteer-based organizations, social enterprises, and non-profits such as the Social Planning & Research Council of BC.

In addition to a general Social Planning & Policy for Inclusive Communities AoC, some more options for customized AoCs include:

  • Housing Policy
  • Indigenous Planning
  • Feminist Planning
  • Life Cycle Planning
  • Food Security and Sovereignty
  • Immigrant & Refugee Integration
  • Inclusive Public Engagement
  • Advocacy Planning
Transportation Planning

Transportation Planning is a field of expertise concerning the development of goals, policies, designs, and programs to facilitate the movement of people and goods; at scales ranging from a single street to an entire country.

Transportation planners seek to implement participatory processes through which diverse stakeholders can bring their knowledge, experience, and values to the development of transportation plans. Transportation planning considers a wide array of positive and negative transport system impacts, including community vitality, economic resilience, human health, and the natural environment.

In addition to a general Transportation Planning AoC, some options for customized AoCs include:  Transportation Planning and Health, Transportation and Land Use Planning, and Transportation and Urban Design.

This AoC prepares MCRP students for careers in transportation planning at various levels of government, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms. Graduates of this area have gone on to work in planning departments at various municipalities, transit agencies, and transport consultancies.

Program Fees
  • MCRP students are assessed a Program Fee for full-time studies according to the Specialized Master’s Degree Programs schedule as noted in the UBC Calendar. The Program Fee shown below is calculated for a full academic year (Winter and Summer Sessions; September through August).
Program SessionDomestic Fee (Per Installment/Term)International Fee (Per Installment/Term)
  2020 Summer or 2020 Winter  $3,522.44  $7,307.24
2019 Summer or 2019 Winter   $3,453.38  $7,236.98
  2018 Summer or 2018 Winter  $3,385.67 $7,167.39
  • You are required to pay a total of 6 installments of the Program Fee (6 terms over 24 months) regardless of whether or not you complete your program earlier. 
      -As of your graduation you no longer have student status. As a result, in the event you complete your program early, you will no longer be eligible to access any funding from awards or student loans to pay for outstanding installments. It is your responsibility to make necessary academic and financial plans. You can contact your Enrolment Services advisor for more information. 
  • You are assessed the Program Fee three times a year, payable in September, January and May through the UBC Student Service Centre. 
  • In addition to the Program Fee, all UBC students are assessed Student Fees to help cover the costs of resources available to students. Some student fees of particular importance to graduate students
  • The UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) provides information about the cost of living in Vancouver for prospective students.

Awards, before you enrol

Awards prospective students are eligible to apply for include:

Next Steps