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. 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.

The program provides foundational knowledge, skills, and attitudes that professional planners need to enter and succeed in the workplace. As a generalist program, its diploma does not specify a particular specialization or other distinction. However, students in the ICP concentration complete a modified set of general and ICP-specific requirements.

All courses listed here are available only to those enrolled in the MCRP program; with the exception that MAP/MSCP students can access all elective courses available to MCRP students except core MCRP courses and studios reserved for MCRP students only.  An exception can also be made for students who want to audit PLAN 508, Foundations of Planning Theory and History.

Update for 2022/2023 academic year

SCARP has updated the course requirements for all future sessions of the MCRP program, in order to keep pace with a rapidly-changing world and the range of problems that planners try to solve. These updates were shaped by a consultation between SCARP faculty, students, alumni, and the Canadian Institute of Planners and the American Planning Association.

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 updated program is in effect as of the 2022/2023 academic year. 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 years, SCARP's official concentration option is Indigenous Community Planning (ICP). You may speak to your Faculty Advisor regarding the prospect of a custom concentration.

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 2020/2021 OR 2021/2022 ACADEMIC YEAR

 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.   

Course Summaries (during 2021/2022 academic year)
PLAN 503
Planning for Community Economic Development
Instructor: Will Trousdale
Available during: Winter Session
This course focuses on the planning process, examining key issues such as how to get started, community engagement (stakeholders and public participation), situation assessments, visioning, issues identification, objective elicitation/structuring, option evaluation/prioritization, action planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
PLAN 508
Foundations of Planning Theory and History
Instructor: Leonie Sandercock
Available during: Winter Session
This course explores the history of planning ideas and theories. What are the modern roots of (community and regional) planning, its colonial history, and how does this shape and perhaps limit contemporary practice? Why do we need planning? Why is it important to theorise about planning? This course covers the leading thinkers and schools of thought and is primarily focused on western ideas about planning.
PLAN 509
Urbanism as a Global Way of Life
Instructor: Su-Jan Yeo
Available during: Winter Session
This course is structured around the intersection of two essential themes that shape the theory and practice of planning in our world today: the shift to an increasingly urban world, and the expansion of interconnectivities between places, referred to as globalization, which has had such an important influence on the nature of urbanism around the world. 
PLAN 516
Planning for Community Economic Development
Instructor:
Available during:
The planning process, including how to get started, community engagement (stakeholders and public participation), situation assessments, visioning, issues identification, objective elicitation/structuring, option evaluation/prioritization, action planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
PLAN 517
Theory and Methods of Urban Design
Instructor: Erick Villagomez
Available during: Winter Session
This course focuses on the fundamentals of urban design theory and methods, and its application to neighbourhood design. This is a required course for Urban Design students and a foundation for anyone interested in gaining basic urban design literacy. It meets the distributional requirement for the Urban Design and Transportation area within SCARP’s Masters level degree program. PLAN 517 is an entry point into the urban design field, from which students can build deeper understanding, with additional coursework and focused research.
PLAN 521
Quantitative Skills for Planners
Instructor: Stephanie Chang
Available during: Winter Session
The course enables students to develop basic capabilities in working with quantitative data for analysis in professional planning practice, including the appropriate use of statistical measures. This includes developing core vocabulary, conceptual understandings, critical awareness, analytical capabilities, and computer skills.
PLAN 522
Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
Instructor: Nora Angeles
Available during: Winter Session
This two-credit course focuses on the what, why, who and how of qualitative mixed methods research design, data collection and analysis relevant to professional planning practice. This practice-based course provides beginning and more advanced students an opportunity to prepare for their professional careers. Students will learn about and apply each step of various methods and strategies in qualitative data collection and analysis useful for planning practice
PLAN 523
The Profession of Planning
Instructor: Emilie Adin
Available during: Winter Session
This course is built around a framing of “planning as leadership”. It explores what professional practice means, and develops the competencies and skills of leadership in students.
PLAN 524
Legal Concepts for Professional Planning
Instructor: Bill Buholzer
Available during: Winter Session
This course is designed to familiarize planning students with the legal principles that will apply to their work as policy advisors, decision-makers and advocates. Planning law can be, as one Supreme Court of Canada judge observed in a recent case, a “dry, forbidding and not very fashionable subject”. Yet on a daily basis, Canadian courts make decisions in cases involving collisions of sometimes epic proportions between community interests in sound management of land use and resources, and private property and business interests – cases at whose core can be found the work of a planner. Plans are implemented by means of regulatory systems whose operation is governed by certain legal principles, and it’s essential that those designing and operating such regulatory systems, and beneficial that those whose activities are subject to the regulations, know the relevant law.
PLAN 525
Planning Practice Methods
Instructor: Mark Stevens
Available during: Winter Session
This course examines/evaluates issues related to (1) community decision-making; (2) creating community plans; and (3) implementing community plans.
PLAN 526
The Planning Studio
Instructor: N/A
Available during: Winter Session
The planning studio is an intensive year-long professionally oriented course in which students partner with community, municipal and private sector organizations to identify problems and propose solutions.
PLAN 527A / PLAN 527B
MCRP Internship
Instructor: N/A
Available: Winter, Summer
Available during: Winter and Summer Sessions
The Internship Program that provides the mechanism for students to earn academic credit for relevant work experience outside the University. An Internship is essentially a three-way partnership among the student, the agency and the School. The primary goal of the Internship Program is to assist students to develop professional skills and capabilities through guided "hands on" experience in a workplace environment while gaining academic credit.
PLAN 528A / PLAN 528B
MCRP Capstone
Instructor: N/A
528A Available during: Winter and Summer Sessions
528B Available during: Winter Session
The major purpose of the Capstone is to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of their planning education and to synthesize their knowledge of planning. The Capstone serves as a culmination of the MCRP degree program. It allows 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.
PLAN 531
Planning for Disaster-Resilient Communities
Instructor: Stephanie Chang
Available during: Winter Session
This course will study natural disasters from the perspective of risk analysis, risk reduction, and planning for disaster-resilient communities. The focus is primarily on Canada and the U.S. but includes disaster risk globally.
PLAN 532
Strategic Planning: Developing and Implementing Policy Plans
Instructor: Ann McAfee
Available during: Winter Session
The first half of the course introduces the theory and practice of developing and implementing strategic/policy plans using examples from metropolitan, city, and neighbourhood plans. A range of topics including land use, transportation, environment, economic, social, and financial directions are combined into integrated plans for sustainable futures. The course considers the challenges and opportunities of engaging broad public participation in plan preparation and implementation. The second half of the course explores techniques for writing and managing plans both at the city and regional-metropolitan levels. Classes will introduce example plan making under various governance systems including the challenge of integrating new issues such as resilience into established plans.
PLAN 533
Indigenous Planning:
Ways of Being, Knowing, and Doing

Instructor: Leonie Sandercock
Available during: Winter Session
The intent of the course is to empower emerging planners by introducing substantive knowledge of contemporary Indigenous community planning, built on a foundational understanding of the political, social and cultural protocols and values, history, philosophy, social structure, traditional knowledge, and ecology of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
PLAN 534
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Instructor: Bill Gushue
Available during: Winter Session
This course introduces students to the theory, history and capabilities behind GIS, with customized laboratory exercises that incorporate urban design and planning themes.
PLAN 535
Transportation Planning and Analysis
Instructor: Alex Bigazzi
Available during: Winter Session
This course covers fundamental urban travel demand modelling techniques and aims to help students understand how travel models are used in the planning process.
PLAN 542
Practical Practice: City Planning as a Craft
Instructor: Larry Beasley
Available during: Winter Session
This course will explore the approach, roles, styles, and essential skills of planners in the normal situations of practical urban planning. Typical planning formats will be surveyed: area planning; policy planning; development management. Regulatory tools, development economics, practical urban design, and applied sustainability will be emphasized.
PLAN 548D
Current Issues in Planning: Real Estate and Planning
Instructor: Julia Harten
Available during: Summer Session
Cities are not built by planners. Instead, urban space and the built environment are the product of negotiated interests. This course focuses on the real estate development perspective on the city. Students will develop a rich understanding of how urban land markets operate and how developers and investors assess and create value. The objective of this course is to equip students with the tools to navigate the planning-real estate developer relationship from a solid foundation of urban economics, urban political economy, and the basics of investment analysis and valuation.
PLAN 548E
Current Issues in Planning: LED Theory, Issues and Applications
Instructor: Will Trousdale
Available during: Summer Session
Local Economic Development (LED) is centered on local resources, capacity and leadership to build sustainable communities, towns and cities. The course will introduce students to the principles, approaches and tools to LED through lessons and case studies drawn from Canadian and developing countries context. Include prerequisites.
PLAN 548G
Current Issues in Planning: 
Critical Spatial Thinking for Urban Planning

Instructor: James Connolly
Available during: Summer Session
This course prepares urban planning students to be critical spatial thinkers. Students develop skills in geographic information systems as a tool for solving planning problems while critically engaging with the contextual dynamics that impact spatial data and analysis.  
PLAN 548K
Current Issues in Planning: Plan Evaluation
Instructor: Mark Stevens
Available during: Winter Session
This course examines/evaluates issues related to evaluating plans. This course builds upon material on plan creation and implementation by students are exposed to in the course, PLAN 525.
PLAN 548L
Current Issues in Planning:
Urban Transportation Systems

Instructor: Alex Bigazzi
Available during: Winter Session
This course provides an overview of multi-modal urban transportation systems, including key characteristics, interactions, and analytical techniques. There are no prerequisites for the course, but some quantitative analysis is required and students should be comfortable working with spreadsheet software.
PLAN 548M
Current Issues in Planning:
Urban Planning and Policy in the Global South

Instructor: Michael Hooper
Available during: Winter Session

This course undertakes a detailed examination of urban planning and policy in the Global South. It adopts a seminar format, with most class sessions involving a discussion of readings and a group exercise, debate, role-playing scenario or guest speaker. The goal is to engage in a thoughtful analysis of the place of urbanization, and urban settlements more broadly, in the diverse and rapidly changing countries that constitute the Global South. We'll address both theoretical and applied aspects of urbanization and, as a result, is relevant for students hoping to pursue professional planning work as well as those intending to engage in research on urbanization and development topics. From a theoretical perspective, we will examine the debates that have framed the urban policy decisions taken by international organizations and national and local governments. At the same time, we will draw on case studies and examples from around the world to provide a grounded perspective on how these policies play out in real world contexts. The course ultimately seeks to provide students with a fluency surrounding the main issues and debates in urban planning and policy, and their relationship to development, and with the critical skills to approach related topics, whether in professional or academic contexts, in an informed and analytically rigorous manner. 

The course will begin with an introduction to the historical context for urban growth in the Global South. Early course sessions will examine, in particular, colonial policies towards urban settlements and urbanization and the ways in which post-independence governments have built upon and departed from these approaches to planning. The course will then address the key policy frameworks and theoretical paradigms through which the challenges facing contemporary urban settlements in the Global South are understood and addressed. Later sessions will focus on an in-depth analysis of the principal substantive challenges facing cities in the Global South, including rural-urban migration, service delivery, rapid growth of informal settlements, displacement and urban governance. The course makes a concerted point throughout of examining areas of overlap between experiences in the Global South and North, looking in particular at parallels between urban challenges in the South and issues facing communities in North America and Europe.

PLAN 548O
Current Issues in Planning:
Practical Legal Basics for Professional Planners

Instructor: Pat Kendall
Available during: Winter Session
This is a practical “how to” course - it does not address the substance of policies or decisions, but it teaches students how to lawfully implement and execute those policies and decisions.
PLAN 548P
Current Issues in Planning:
Reconciliation and Planning

Instructor: Maggie Low
Available during: Winter Session
What is the role of planning in reconciliation in what is now known as Canada? How do planners decolonize planning?  What is Indigenous community planning? If you are interested in these questions, and have an open and curious mind, please join me in exploring the relationships between planning (as a discipline and profession) and reconciliation efforts happening in cities and communities across Canada. During our 12 weeks learning together, we will: spend time contextualizing ourselves within Indigenous and settler-colonial histories; critically examine what reconciliation means (and does not mean) and how it plays out in the ‘era of reconciliation’, learn from Indigenous planners and worldviews, and; examine what it might look for planners to decolonize their practice and genuinely contribute to reconciliation efforts through city and community planning.
PLAN 548Q
Current Issues in Planning: Futures Planning
Instructor: Sue-Jan Yeo
Available during: Summer Session
In the process of planning with change and planning for change, planners indelibly play an active role in shaping the future. It is this relationship to the future that makes planning fundamentally transformative—where plans and policies can wield long-term effects on people and places (for better or worse). Yet, the notion of “futures” as a crucial dimension of planning is often understudied. This course will engage with the imaginative and visionary potential of planning.
PLAN 548S
Current Issues in Planning: 
Infrastructure Planning and Smart Cities

Instructor: Martino Tran
Available during: Summer Session
Major drivers of change are influencing global cities including urbanization, climate change and disruptive technology. At the same time, large future investments in infrastructure are required to improve the sustainability and liveability of cities. This class will explore the major drivers of urban change, assess the latest advancements in understanding the societal and physical implications of urban infrastructure; and understand how that is being influenced by disruptive technology and the broader smart city movement.
PLAN 549C
MCRP Master's Thesis
Instructor: N/A
Available during: Winter and Summer Sessions
Research and preparation of a thesis on a topic in public policy or professional practice.
PLAN 550A / PLAN 550B
Directed Studies
Course Instructor: N/A
Available during: Winter and Summer Sessions
In special cases and with the approval of the Director of the school, a student may study an advanced topic under the direction of a faculty member.
PLAN 553
Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning
Instructor: Crystal Reeves
Available during: Winter Session
This course will introduce students to the laws within which Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and particularly in British Columbia, live, and which impact their communities and Nations. Students will gain an understanding of how law and governance inform planning with Indigenous communities.
PLAN 558
The Role of Theory in Planning Research
Instructor: Heather Campbell
Available during: Winter Session
The instructor will offer an overview of benchmarks in the evolution of planning theory, and its relationship with political movements and transitions in governance and policy values and models, as well as principal urban theory drawn from the fields of sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, and cultural studies
PLAN 559
Design of Planning- and Policy-Oriented Research
Instructor: Mark Stevens
Available during: Winter Session
The purposes of this course are to develop understanding and skill in the design of empirical research used in the analysis of policy and planning problems, as well as to develop the ability to critically evaluate policy-related research products.
PLAN 560
MCRP Thesis Workshop
Instructor: Heather Campbell
Available during: Winter Session
The format will be an interactive workshop. Course structure and content will include discussion on the scope of the master’s thesis in planning; the role of informing theory and relationship with the larger planning and urban studies discourses and debates; and a reading list drawn from planning, the humanities and social sciences, and urban/community policy studies. 
PLAN 561
Seminar in Real Property Development and Planning
Instructor: Jay Wollenberg
Available during: Winter Session
This course provides an introduction to financial analysis and market analysis for urban development projects and applications in urban/regional planning, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis.
PLAN 583
Housing and Community Planning Policy
Instructor: Michael Gordon
Homes and communities are a focus of public policy for local and senior governments. Overview of past and current policies addressing the design and development of homes and communities. The course includes seven walking tours, a ferry boat tour and a bus tour to observe first hand best practices in home and community design. Students prepare a "thought piece" on the meaning of home, house, housing and neighbourhood and in a group prepare a policy report and presentation.
PLAN 587A
Urban Design
Instructor: Erick Villagomez
Available during: Winter Session
This course is designed to expose students to the fundamentals of urban design, such as issues and skills in physical planning, designing with hands-on graphic tools, verbal and graphic communication, as well as the development of conceptual tools to understand the built landscape.
PLAN 587B
Urban Design Studio
Instructor: TBD
Students will undertake diagramming and spatial decision-making to create visions, policy statements and designs for an urban neighbourhood. Students will employ urban design techniques including graphic presentation and public presentation. PLAN 517 and PLAN 587A or the instructor’s consent are prerequisites for this course.
PLAN 591
Land Use and Environmental Policy
Instructor: Mark Stevens
 
PLAN 595
Facilitation, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution for Planning
Instructor: Aftab Erfan
Available during: Winter Session
This is an experiential course, focused on building the practical skills of planners as facilitators and negotiators.
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

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. No more than 6 credits of undergraduate-level (300-400) courses will count towards your MCRP program

Some recommended electives outside of SCARP

Please note:

  • Some courses will need to 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. 
Offered Where
Code
Course Name
Credits
At other UBC deptsANTH 540AAdvanced Seminar - Sacred Geography 
APBI 361Key Indicators of Agroecosystem Sustainability 
BAPA 580Topics in Policy Analysis 
BAUL 500Real Estate Markets 
CIVL 598PPedestrian and Bicycle Facility Design 
COM 486XUrban Resilience 
CONS 528Social Science Research Methods and Design for Natural Resource Management3
FISH 506FTraditional Ecological Knowledge in the Fisheries Management - Current Topics in Fisheries 
FISH 506GEconomic Foundations oof Environmental Policies 
FNIS 501AIndigenous Theory and Method(ologies)3
FRST 522Social, Community, and Indigenous Forestry4
FRST 551Landscape Planning for Sustainability 
GEOG 535International Migration and Settlement 
GEOG 560AEconomic Geography 
GPP 507Environmental Law and Policy Frameworks3
GPP 541Policy Dimensions of Energy Systems 
GPP 543Sustainable Water Systems 
GPP 544Economic Foundations of Environmental Policies3
GPP 581Behavioural Foundations for Public Policy 
GPP 582Public Engagement in Policy Decisions 
GPP 584Policy Responses to Global Climate Change 
GPP 591ADesigned Leadership for Change3
GPP 591CLind Initiative Seminar3
GPP 591DSpecial Topics in Public Policy3
GPP 591NPower and Practice3
GRSJ 415Critical Racial and Anti-Colonial Feminist Approaches 
GRSJ 511Difficult Knowledge: Ethics and Pracis of Research in Challenging Settings 
LARC 553Green Network Planning 
LARC 582AutoCAD Workflow for Landscape Architecture Construction 
RES 520Climate Change: Science, Technology, and Sustainable Development 
SOCI 423Sociology of Food 
SOCI 425Urban Sociology 
SOCI 540Social Inequality 
SOIL 516Urban Watershed Management 
SOIL 518Water in International Development 
SOWK 44C
/529A 001
Communities, Social Development, and Community Organizing3
SPPH 552Risk and Communication in Public Health 
UDES 505Urban Design as Public Policy: Policymaking for a Sustainable Region 
UFOR 495Biodiversity in Urban Areas 
URSY 510Urban Systems and Society 
URSY 520Urban Systems Planning and Analysis 
URSY 550Infrastructure Asset Management 
Courses can be taken at other universities through the Western Deans' agreement.
SFUREM 606Indigenous People and Co-Management 
REM 607Indigenous Governance and Resource Relationships 
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 504 PLAN 516PLAN 511Elective(s)
PLAN 502PLAN 505------------------PLAN 543------------------  
PLAN 504PLAN 506    
PLAN 515:
Indigenous Planning
PLAN 515:
Indigenous Law
    
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.   

Course Summaries (as of 2022/2023 academic year)
PLAN 500
Comparative Perspectives on Planning History and Futures
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
This course undertakes a detailed, comparative examination of the history, present and future of planning in a global context. It examines planning in diverse settings and highlights how planning has been, is, and might be conceived and practiced.
PLAN 501
Reconciliation and Planning
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
History of colonization in Canada and other parts of the world, including impacts on Indigenous peoples. Distinguishing features of Indigenous planning practice and traditions. How planners can contribute to social justice, decolonization, and reconciliation between settlers and Indigenous peoples.
PLAN 502
Sustainability and Resilience in Planning
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
How sustainability and resilience concepts shape planning practice, including planning’s successes and failures in addressing environmental problems. Policies and tools that communities can adopt and employ in response to climate change, loss of biodiversity, and related challenges.
PLAN 504
Urban Design and Visual Representation
Instructor: 
Available during: Winter Session
Neighborhood and site-level urban design. The role and power of visual representation. The use of information technologies for mapping, visual representation, and engagement.
PLAN 505
Planning Theory, Values, and Ethics
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
Major theoretical debates in planning and their influence on practice. Values in planning and their role in decision-making. Planning’s role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity. The nature of ethical issues in planning and professional practice.
PLAN 506
​​​​​​
Information and Analysis in Planning
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
Gathering and analyzing information from a variety of sources to support planning and decision-making. Presenting information to a range of audiences, in a way that is meaningful and helps to support decision-making.
PLAN 507
Engagement, Facilitation, and Conflict Resolution for Planners
Instructor: 
Available during: Winter Session
Inclusive consultation and engagement with stakeholders and the public in decision-making. Facilitating meetings that foster equitable participation and mutually-agreeable outcomes.
PLAN 511
The Legal and Institutional Context of Planning
Instructor: 
Available during: Winter Session
The legal framework in which planning operates, including major legislation and institutions across Canadian provinces. Particular areas of planning law, including growth management and cultural heritage management.
PLAN 512
Urban Economics, Infrastructure, and Real Estate Issues in Planning
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
The real estate development process, from both public and private sector perspectives. Land economics and how economic forces shape land use decisions. Diversified economic development. Public infrastructure and services.
PLAN 513
Making and Implementing Community and Regional Plans
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session
The process communities and regions follow to create plans, including identifying issues, setting goals, and developing polices to achieve the goals. Tools that communities/regions employ to implement plans and monitor progress. Roles of different actors in creating and implementing plans.
PLAN 514
Indigenous Planning: Ways of Being, Knowing, and Doing
Instructor:
Available during: 
Contemporary Indigenous community planning. The political, social and cultural protocols and values, history, philosophy, social structure, traditional knowledge, and ecology of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
PLAN 515
Indigenous Law, Governance, and Community Planning
Instructor:
Available during:
The laws within which Indigenous Peoples in Canada (particularly in British Columbia), live, and which impact their communities and Nations. How law and governance inform planning with Indigenous communities.
PLAN 516
Planning for Community Economic Development
Instructor:
Available during:
The planning process, including how to get started, community engagement (stakeholders and public participation), situation assessments, visioning, issues identification, objective elicitation/structuring, option evaluation/prioritization, action planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
PLAN 517
Theory and Methods of Urban Design
Instructor: Erick Villagomez
Available during: Winter Session
This course focuses on the fundamentals of urban design theory and methods, and its application to neighbourhood design. This is a required course for Urban Design students and a foundation for anyone interested in gaining basic urban design literacy. It meets the distributional requirement for the Urban Design and Transportation area within SCARP’s Masters level degree program. PLAN 517 is an entry point into the urban design field, from which students can build deeper understanding, with additional coursework and focused research.

PLAN 530
Affordable Housing Policy and Planning
NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED

This course will provide an introduction to affordable housing policy and planning. The history of Canadian housing policy and programs will be examined followed by current issues and challenges faced by municipalities, regional governments, non-profit housing providers, and others. The causes and responses to homelessness will also be addressed, as well as the evolution of social or non-market housing in Canada and elsewhere. Students will undertake a major research project in partnership with a local organization.
PLAN 531
Planning for Disaster-Resilient Communities
Instructor: Stephanie Chang
Available during: Winter Session
This course will study natural disasters from the perspective of risk analysis, risk reduction, and planning for disaster-resilient communities. The focus is primarily on Canada and the U.S. but includes disaster risk globally.
PLAN 532
Strategic Planning: Developing and Implementing Policy Plans
Instructor: Ann McAfee
Available during: Winter Session
The first half of the course introduces the theory and practice of developing and implementing strategic/policy plans using examples from metropolitan, city, and neighbourhood plans. A range of topics including land use, transportation, environment, economic, social, and financial directions are combined into integrated plans for sustainable futures. The course considers the challenges and opportunities of engaging broad public participation in plan preparation and implementation. The second half of the course explores techniques for writing and managing plans both at the city and regional-metropolitan levels. Classes will introduce example plan making under various governance systems including the challenge of integrating new issues such as resilience into established plans.
PLAN 533
Indigenous Planning:
Ways of Being, Knowing, and Doing

Instructor: Leonie Sandercock
Available during: Winter Session
The intent of the course is to empower emerging planners by introducing substantive knowledge of contemporary Indigenous community planning, built on a foundational understanding of the political, social and cultural protocols and values, history, philosophy, social structure, traditional knowledge, and ecology of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
PLAN 534
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Instructor: Bill Gushue
Available during: Winter Session
This course introduces students to the theory, history and capabilities behind GIS, with customized laboratory exercises that incorporate urban design and planning themes.
PLAN 535
Transportation Planning and Analysis
Instructor: Alex Bigazzi
Available during: Winter Session
This course covers fundamental urban travel demand modelling techniques and aims to help students understand how travel models are used in the planning process.
PLAN 540
Planning Praxis
Instructor:
Available during: Year-Long
Learn about professional planning practice and appropriate professional conduct directly from practice internship experience. Develop understanding of the processes of social change and action in relation to real world administrative and institutional settings.
PLAN 541
Planning Studio
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session (2-term)
Collaborate with classmates and community, municipal, and private sector organizations in a mini-consultancy capacity to complete a real-world planning project for a real-world clients or project partners.
PLAN 542
Practical Practice: City Planning as a Craft
Instructor: Larry Beasley
Available during: Winter Session
This course will explore the approach, roles, styles, and essential skills of planners in the normal situations of practical urban planning. Typical planning formats will be surveyed: area planning; policy planning; development management. Regulatory tools, development economics, practical urban design, and applied sustainability will be emphasized.
PLAN 543
ICP Practicum
Instructor:
Available during: Winter Session (2-term)
The ICP Practicum consists of (1) the Studio, which provides students an opportunity to experience service directly with an Indigenous community/agency, and (2) the Capstone, which allows students to articulate and demonstrate their competency developed in Indigenous community planning.
PLAN 548E
Current Issues in Planning: LED Theory, Issues and Applications
Instructor: Will Trousdale
Available during: Summer Session
Local Economic Development (LED) is centered on local resources, capacity and leadership to build sustainable communities, towns and cities. The course will introduce students to the principles, approaches and tools to LED through lessons and case studies drawn from Canadian and developing countries context. Include prerequisites.
PLAN 548G
Current Issues in Planning: 
Critical Spatial Thinking for Urban Planning

Instructor: James Connolly
Available during: Summer Session
This course prepares urban planning students to be critical spatial thinkers. Students develop skills in geographic information systems as a tool for solving planning problems while critically engaging with the contextual dynamics that impact spatial data and analysis.  
PLAN 548H
Current Issues in Planning: Short Film Production
NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED
Introduction to the basic approaches, theories, and production methods used in creating short documentary and motion graphic films for community advocacy and educational purposes. Indigenous and decolonial approaches to filmmaking will be emphasized. Jessica Hallenbeck, Lyana Patrick, and Dave Shortt will mentor students in the creation of short films.
PLAN 548L
Current Issues in Planning:
Urban Transportation Systems

Instructor: Alex Bigazzi
Available during: Winter Session
This course provides an overview of multi-modal urban transportation systems, including key characteristics, interactions, and analytical techniques. There are no prerequisites for the course, but some quantitative analysis is required and students should be comfortable working with spreadsheet software.
PLAN 548M
Current Issues in Planning:
Urban Planning and Policy in the Global South

Instructor: Michael Hooper
Available during: Winter Session

This course undertakes a detailed examination of urban planning and policy in the Global South. It adopts a seminar format, with most class sessions involving a discussion of readings and a group exercise, debate, role-playing scenario or guest speaker. The goal is to engage in a thoughtful analysis of the place of urbanization, and urban settlements more broadly, in the diverse and rapidly changing countries that constitute the Global South. We'll address both theoretical and applied aspects of urbanization and, as a result, is relevant for students hoping to pursue professional planning work as well as those intending to engage in research on urbanization and development topics. From a theoretical perspective, we will examine the debates that have framed the urban policy decisions taken by international organizations and national and local governments. At the same time, we will draw on case studies and examples from around the world to provide a grounded perspective on how these policies play out in real world contexts. The course ultimately seeks to provide students with a fluency surrounding the main issues and debates in urban planning and policy, and their relationship to development, and with the critical skills to approach related topics, whether in professional or academic contexts, in an informed and analytically rigorous manner. 

The course will begin with an introduction to the historical context for urban growth in the Global South. Early course sessions will examine, in particular, colonial policies towards urban settlements and urbanization and the ways in which post-independence governments have built upon and departed from these approaches to planning. The course will then address the key policy frameworks and theoretical paradigms through which the challenges facing contemporary urban settlements in the Global South are understood and addressed. Later sessions will focus on an in-depth analysis of the principal substantive challenges facing cities in the Global South, including rural-urban migration, service delivery, rapid growth of informal settlements, displacement and urban governance. The course makes a concerted point throughout of examining areas of overlap between experiences in the Global South and North, looking in particular at parallels between urban challenges in the South and issues facing communities in North America and Europe.

PLAN 548O
Current Issues in Planning:
Practical Legal Basics for Professional Planners

Instructor: Pat Kendall
Available during: Winter Session
This is a practical “how to” course - it does not address the substance of policies or decisions, but it teaches students how to lawfully implement and execute those policies and decisions.
PLAN 548Q
Current Issues in Planning: Futures Planning
Instructor: Sue-Jan Yeo
Available during: Summer Session
In the process of planning with change and planning for change, planners indelibly play an active role in shaping the future. It is this relationship to the future that makes planning fundamentally transformative—where plans and policies can wield long-term effects on people and places (for better or worse). Yet, the notion of “futures” as a crucial dimension of planning is often understudied. This course will engage with the imaginative and visionary potential of planning.
PLAN 548S
Current Issues in Planning: 
Infrastructure Planning and Smart Cities

Instructor: Martino Tran
Available during: Summer Session
Major drivers of change are influencing global cities including urbanization, climate change and disruptive technology. At the same time, large future investments in infrastructure are required to improve the sustainability and liveability of cities. This class will explore the major drivers of urban change, assess the latest advancements in understanding the societal and physical implications of urban infrastructure; and understand how that is being influenced by disruptive technology and the broader smart city movement.
PLAN 549C
MCRP Master's Thesis
Instructor: N/A
Available during: Winter and Summer Sessions
Research and preparation of a thesis on a topic in public policy or professional practice.
PLAN 550A / PLAN 550B
Directed Studies
Course Instructor: N/A
Available during: Winter and Summer Sessions
In special cases and with the approval of the Director of the school, a student may study an advanced topic under the direction of a faculty member.
PLAN 558
The Role of Theory in Planning Research
Instructor: Heather Campbell
Available during: Winter Session
The instructor will offer an overview of benchmarks in the evolution of planning theory, and its relationship with political movements and transitions in governance and policy values and models, as well as principal urban theory drawn from the fields of sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, and cultural studies
PLAN 559
Design of Planning- and Policy-Oriented Research
Instructor: Mark Stevens
Available during: Winter Session
The purposes of this course are to develop understanding and skill in the design of empirical research used in the analysis of policy and planning problems, as well as to develop the ability to critically evaluate policy-related research products.
PLAN 560
MCRP Thesis Workshop
Instructor: Heather Campbell
Available during: Winter Session
The format will be an interactive workshop. Course structure and content will include discussion on the scope of the master’s thesis in planning; the role of informing theory and relationship with the larger planning and urban studies discourses and debates; and a reading list drawn from planning, the humanities and social sciences, and urban/community policy studies. 
PLAN 565
Seminar in Real Property Development and Planning
Instructor: Jay Wollenberg
Available during: Winter Session
This course provides an introduction to financial analysis and market analysis for urban development projects and applications in urban/regional planning, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis.
PLAN 583
Housing and Community Planning Policy
Instructor: Michael Gordon
Homes and communities are a focus of public policy for local and senior governments. Overview of past and current policies addressing the design and development of homes and communities. The course includes seven walking tours, a ferry boat tour and a bus tour to observe first hand best practices in home and community design. Students prepare a "thought piece" on the meaning of home, house, housing and neighbourhood and in a group prepare a policy report and presentation.
PLAN 587A
Urban Design
Instructor: Erick Villagomez
Available during: Winter Session
This course is designed to expose students to the fundamentals of urban design, such as issues and skills in physical planning, designing with hands-on graphic tools, verbal and graphic communication, as well as the development of conceptual tools to understand the built landscape.
PLAN 587B
Urban Design Studio
Instructor: TBD
Students will undertake diagramming and spatial decision-making to create visions, policy statements and designs for an urban neighbourhood. Students will employ urban design techniques including graphic presentation and public presentation. PLAN 517 and PLAN 587A or the instructor’s consent are prerequisites for this course.
PLAN 591
Land Use and Environmental Policy
Instructor: Mark Stevens
 
PLAN 597
Planning for Water Resources Management
NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED
The relationships among relevant bio-physical, socio-economic and institutional systems as applied to regional planning for watersheds, lakes, estuaries, coastal zones and international river basins. Water supply, waste disposal, fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, hydropower and flood control.
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

MCRP students are required to pay a total of 6 installments of the Program Fee (6 terms over 24 months) regardless of whether or not they complete their program earlier. Students 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. Information about student fees of particular importance to graduate students is available here.

Students funding their studies with awards or loans are strongly advised to be aware of the conditions for maintaining their award or loan eligibility as these relate to student status. It is the student’s responsibility to make necessary academic and financial plans. For more information about this, students may contact their assigned Enrolment Services Advisor. 

The UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies provides information about the cost of living in Vancouver for prospective students.

Admissions steps