Research Masters (MAP/MScP)

Program Overview

This strong and robust degree program is designed:

  • For students who are interested in a career in planning or a possible interest in doctoral studies
  • As a platform for high-level planning and public-policy work
  • To provide a richer theoretical understanding of complex issues in city and community planning, environmental planning, and international development planning, as well as intensive study of instructive case studies.
  • To be completed within 24 months, incorporating a selection of course work (including a theory course and thesis workshop), and a thesis prepared with the guidance of a supervisor and second committee member. Successful applicants will work closely with a faculty supervisor, who should be identified in your application. 


MAP and MScP represent the same degree program, described below. Upon graduating, you receive a Master of Arts in Planning (MAP) if you entered the program with a Bachelor of Arts degree, or a Master of Science in Planning (MScP) if you entered the program with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Research Masters degree programs are not formally accredited by the Canadian or American boards. Those seeking a degree accredited by professional accreditation boards would apply to the School’s Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) program.

Should I choose a SCARP Research Masters program or SCARP's Master of Community and Regional Planning Program?
Number of students admitted annually35-406-8
Credits required for degree completion6034
Core course requirement1810
Thesis/projectpracticum report12-credit thesis
AccreditationsAccredited by UBC, and by Canadian and American professional planning boardsAccredited by UBC
Other program requirements / information
  • Students develop a customized plan of coursework based on identified areas of interest, or request the Indigenous Community Planning concentration
  • Internship (3 credits)
  • Planning studio (6 credits)
  • Students identify a thesis topic prior to admission elective coursework is based on research interests and thesis topic, and is planned out in collaboration with their advisor. 
  • MAP/MScP students can access all elective courses available to MCRP students with the exception of core MCRP courses and studios reserved for MCRP students only. An exception can be made for students who want to audit Foundations of Planning Theory and History
Cross-benefitsCan lead to further research (through PhD)Can lead to professional planning practice, and accreditation
Program Courses, Structure, and Requirements

MAP/MSCP students can access all elective courses available to MCRP students except core MCRP courses and studios reserved for MCRP students only. 

Required courses: 

PLAN 558: The Role of Theory in Planning Research 3



PLAN 559: Design of Planning- and Policy-oriented Research3
PLAN 560: Master's Thesis Workshop1
Any non-SCARP UBC course re: qualitative research methods (if approved first by supervisor)3
12 credits of approved courses tailored to your interest, in careful consultation with your advisor.1212
PLAN 549C: Master's Thesis1212

Note you must spend your first year in residence taking required and elective courses.

Research Supervisors

Faculty members who are available to supervise students and areas for Research Masters (MAP/MScP) thesis supervision are listed below:

Nora Angeles

  • Transnational social movements, particularly involving Southeast Asian countries;
  • Political economy of transnational development trends, particularly in Southeast Asia;
  • Comparative community development and social planning in developing country contexts 

Alex Bigazzi

  • Transportation planning
  • Air quality issues

Heather Campbell 

  • Building inclusive economies in a post-covid world
  • The role of social science research in policy change
  • Searching for academic knowledge that makes a difference
  • Strategic planning and transformative change
  • Creating institutional environments for organisational innovation
  • University and Community partnerships, developments in theory and practice 

Stephanie Chang

  • Natural hazard risk, disaster impacts, and recovery
  • Approaches to reducing risk and enhancing resilience
  • Urban infrastructure systems (e.g., energy, water, transportation)
  • Climate change adaptation

James Connolly

  • Social-ecological conflicts in urban environments
  • Urban greening
  • Urban institutional change 

Julia Harten

  • Urban analytics
  • Housing
  • China

Michael Hooper

  • Densification, Displacement, Post-disaster rebuilding

Maggie Low

  • Indigenous community planning
  • Indigenous planning
  • Reconciliation
  • Indigenous research methodologies
  • Climate change and Indigenous knowledge 

Maged Senbel

  • Public engagement and climate change planning
  • Equity and inclusion in planning practice
  • Measurement and visualization in urban design

Mark Stevens

  • Land use and environmental planning
  • Smart growth
  • Plan evaluation and implementation
  • Natural hazard mitigation

Martino Tran

  • Smart cities
  • Urban systems