Facts + Figures

The Master of Urban Planning (MUP) is the usual educational credential for professional planning practice. It is normally a two-year, or six-quarter program on a full-time schedule. Requirements for undertaking graduate-level study include a satisfactory academic record and undergraduate training in one of a variety of disciplines including urban planning and environmental design or other appropriate fields, such as geography, economics, or other social sciences; English and other humanities; civil engineering and environmental studies; landscape architecture and architecture.

Student Achievement

We are proud of our students and their achievements. In the current academic year 2016-2017, the average GPA of enrolled MUP students is 3.7. Although an internship is not required, more than two out of three students have one while enrolled in the program, ranging from transportation to housing to data analysis and design, employed by a range of cities, organizations and private firms.

In our studio classes, students gain the practical skills needed for the planning profession by engaging in hands-on, collaborative, real-world planning issues in local, regional, or international communities. For example, in the Redmond Technology Center Proposal, students developed concepts for retail and hotel development at the future Redmond Technology Center light rail station. They evaluated the site context and constraints, such as space allocations for parking and retail; projected costs; considered pedestrian flow; and created renderings of their site concept.  In another studio, students made recommendations on commercial zoning code revisions for the City of Bellingham, WA. MUP students worked with the City to engage the community in critically assessing the existing regulations. Students conceptualized questions for the focus groups in order to gather input best reflective of the various perspectives. Based on focus group feedback and research into best practices, the UW team prepared a suite of possible solutions to help Bellingham achieve commercial development that reflects the character of the community and meets Bellingham’s needs.

Detailed summaries of these and other recent studio topics can be viewed here.


The Master of Urban Planning program enrolls ~30-40 students each year and grants 30-40 degrees annually. The MUP program is designed as a 2-year degree program; however, many of our students elect to pursue concurrent graduate degrees with other programs at the University of Washington which extends their length of study. Given this, many students graduate within 3.5 years.

Number of Degrees Issued

  • Academic year 2015-16: 34
  • Academic Year 2014-15: 37
  • Academic Year 2013-14: 39

Retention Rate

The retention rate for a master’s program is the percentage of first-year students who return the next academic year.

Student Retention Rates Percent
MUP students who began studies in Autumn 2015 and continued in Autumn 2016 100%
MUP students who began studies in Autumn 2014 and continued in Autumn 2015 98%
MUP students who began studies in Autumn 2013 and continued in Autumn 2014 97%
MUP students who began studies in Autumn 2012 and continued in Autumn 2013 100%

Graduation Rate

The graduation rate for a master’s program is the percentage of single-degree students who graduate within 4 years of enrolling.

Student Graduation Rates Percent
MUP students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2014 96%
MUP students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2013 88%
MUP students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2012 92%
MUP students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2011 82%


The estimated cost for one year tuition and fees for full-time enrollment during the academic year 2017-2018, assuming enrollment during Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters:

Resident tuition and fees: $17,019
Nonresident tuition and fees: $29,478

A complete list of tuition rates, student fees and a per-credit-hour breakdown of tuition rates is available at the University of Washington’s Office of Planning and Budgeting website.

MUP students pay the College of Built Environment – Const Mgmt, Land Arch, Urb Des Plan tuition.




To become a certified planner, members of the American Planning Association (APA) must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Exam. The pass rate is the percentage of test takers who pass the examination within 3 years of graduating from a master’s program, and/or within 5 years of graduating from a bachelor’s program.

Graduation Year 2010 2011-2013 2014
Number taking exam 2 0 2
Pass Rate 100% N/A 100%

AICP Exam pass rate data are collected by the APA. For a complete list of pass rates for all PAB-accredited institutions see:

AICP Pass rates


The Employment Rate measures the percentage of MUP graduates who obtain planning positions within one year of graduation.

Of the alumni who graduated in academic year 2015, 86% secured employment in a planning or planning-related position within one year of graduation, 3% pursued further education within one year of graduation, and 11% had unknown employment.

Alumni from 2015 reported a range of positions including: Transportation Planner, Associate Planner, Geospatial Analyst, Urban Designer, Planning and Development Specialist, Surveyor, Planning Consultant, Landscape Designer, Housing Development Associate, Field Director, Program/Project Manager, PhD student, and more.

For a representative selection of current positions of MUP Alumni who graduated in 2010 onward, please see our Resources page under the heading Alumni – Where Are They Now.

Notable Alumni

Many of our MUP’s achieve great success after graduation. We are fortunate that many of our alumni choose to stay local and help contribute to what shapes the built environment in Seattle and all over the Northwest.

Kate Lichtenstein recently MUP alum Kate Lichtenstein was recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 in Mass Transit Magazine. Her career, most recently with Sound Transit, has spanned from wetland mitigation strategies for bus and rail projects to multiple transit infrastructure projects.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive. Dow is also currently the Seattle Transit Board chairman and has championed the successful Seattle Link Light Rail which is helping to connect our city now more than ever.

Diane Sugimura, Director, City of Seattle Department of Planning & Development
Linda Dalton, FAICP, Vice President, Planning & Enrollment & Management & Student Affairs, California State University, East Bay
Ron McConnell, FAIC, Former Executive Director, Washington State Land Use Planning Commission
Al Levine, Former Deputy Director, Seattle Housing Authority
Paul Ong Professor and Former Chair of Urban Planning, UCLA
Larry Cottrill Director of Master Planning, Port of Long Beach, CA
Grant Murakami, AICP, Vice President, PBR, Hawaii
Peter Orser, President, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co., currently interum director with the UW Runstad Center
Brad Collins, FAICP, Deputy Mayor, City of Port Angeles, WA
Michael Kimmelberg, AICP, Chief Operating Officer for the Seneca Nation of Indians