Congratulations on exploring the higher education opportunities in the field of planning!

Planning is a broad and diverse field and there are several ways to pursue a career in this rewarding area of work. An education in planning from an accredited planning program at a college or university is the most common and standard route. There are many legal, technical, political, social, and scientific issues in planning and it is important to lean and understand the issues, methods, and processes for addressing them with communities before you practice in the field. The APA’s Planning Accreditation Board grants accreditation to planning master’s programs to ensure these issues are comprehensively covered by the core curriculum. As you explore your options, understand the difference between accredited and non-accredited planning schools in order to choose the one that is right for you. Many employers prefer graduate level degrees that are also from accredited schools.

While the standard and most common degree is a master’s in Urban Planning or City & Regional Planning offered by one of the 73 accredited masters programs in the U.S., additional non-accredited programs also offer undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. degrees. Check out the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning for additional resources.

In Colorado, there is one accredited planning program, the Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Colorado Denver.  The University of Colorado Boulder offers an undergraduate planning-related degree in Environmental Design. Other universities, colleges, and community colleges in Colorado also offer planning-related courses.

I encourage you to explore the various educational options to find a program that is right for you! Take time to investigate the learning outcomes; speak with the faculty, students and alumni; research the student resources; estimate the total costs, as well as available scholarships and work-study opportunities; consider the location of the program in relation to where you would like to work; ask about the subsequent career opportunities after you have completed the degree; and identify the full and part-time options. Visit the APA website for more background on planning education and tips for selecting a planning program.

Best wishes!
Carrie Makarewicz
Assistant Professor
University of Colorado Denver
Dept. of Planning & Design

Masters Program

Master's of Urban and Regional Planning Program
College of Architecture and Planning
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 126, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
Austin Troy, Department Chairperson
Accreditation through December 31, 2023
Dept phone: 303.315.1000

Within the college, there is also a one year post-professional Master’s in Urban Design, and a Ph.D. in Planning & Design.

Undergraduate Programs

University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO)
Environmental Design Program
The Program in Environmental Design offers an undergraduate specialized major in planning/urban design <hyperlink text to <>. 

Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO)
Bachelor of Arts Program, Integrated Major in the Environmental Program
Bachelor of Arts Program, Minor in Contemporary Urban Studies
Bachelor of Arts Program, Minor in Resource Systems in the American West

University College, University of Denver (Denver, CO)
Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies
Master’s Environmental Management, Environmental Policy
Master’s of Science in Geographic Information Systems

Western State Colorado University (Gunnison, CO)
Undergraduate major in Environment and Sustainability
Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Metropolitan State University of Denver (Denver, CO)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Land Use Program
Land Use Major - BS or BA 

Certificates in Planning-Related Programs

University College, University of Denver (Denver, CO)
Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
Several in Environmental Policy and Management 

University of Colorado Denver (Denver, CO)
Certificate in Geospatial Science