Frequently Asked Questions
What is the deadline for applying to the MUP program?
January 15 is the deadline for Autumn quarter admission for U.S. applicants. December 15 is the deadline for Autumn quarter admission for international applicants. The Winter quarter application deadline is September 15. All application materials must be received by the deadline. Late applications will be considered on a space available basis only. Since GRE scores are required, applicants should take the exams early enough so the scores will reach the University of Washington before the deadlines.
Do I need to take the GREs? What is the average GRE score of admitted MUP students? What is the minimum score?
Official GRE scores are required of all applicants to the MUP program. There is no minimum score requirement. Competitive applicants have GRE scores in the 70th percentile or above in all three categories of the GRE, but particularly in the Verbal and Quantitative sections. The program will consider applicants whose GRE scores are below the 70th percentile. In recent years, the average (mean) GRE Verbal score of newly-enrolled MUP students was 158 and the average (mean) GRE Quantitative score of newly-enrolled students was 157.
GRE tests in the United States are administered many times each year; please check with your testing center. The tests are given at various locations throughout the world as well. Although recent scores are preferred, tests taken within the past five years are acceptable. Scores must be sent by ETS (Educational Testing Service) directly to the University of Washington, institutional code 4854; we do not use a department code.
Are there any prerequisites?
Starting with the entering class of Autumn 2015, the MUP program will no longer require prerequisites. However, because resource allocation is often a key issue in planning, we consider a solid understanding of basic economic principles essential for all planners. Moreover, students should be aware that they are expected to have a foundation in microeconomics for certain courses and thus should be adequately prepared if they plan to take such a course. Students who join the MUP program without having completed a course in economics (microeconomics in particular) may be counseled to take an economics course as part of their curriculum.
Students who lack knowledge in economics but wish to take a microeconomics course prior to entering the MUP program have several options. Students may take a microeconomics course at a community college or through an on-line program. Students may also take ECON 200, Intro to Microeconomics, at the University of Washington (5 credits). This course is offered every quarter, but tends to have greater availability in summer quarter. Please note, however, that the credits will not count towards the MUP degree.
What types of financial aid are available? What forms do I fill out to apply for financial aid?
U.S. applicants should complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The aid form can be found here: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Departmental support is different from federal financial aid. The Department is usually able to offer some financial support to the top-ranked applicants in the incoming class. The MUP Program Supplemental Information Form in the online MUP application includes an area to indicate your interest in Departmental financial support. You need not submit a separate application to be considered for Departmental funding.
To learn more about funding opportunities, please see the MUP Finances webpage.
When will I know if I have received financial aid??
Financial aid awards, as awarded by the University of Washington Office of Student Financial Aid, are usually known by mid-March to early April prior to Autumn enrollment.
Applicants who are offered Departmental funding will be notified between February to June prior to Autumn enrollment.
Do I need to submit a portfolio or a writing sample?
Master of Urban Planning program applicants are invited to upload an electronic portfolio or work sample to their online application, though one is not required. The work sample should illustrate their interests and abilities in areas related to urban design and planning. This can be an essay, a paper, a publication, a report, or a project for which the person applying to the program has had major responsibility.
When submitting a work sample, please keep the following in mind:
- The work sample must be submitted as a PDF file to the online application (due to security issues and size restrictions, work samples cannot be submitted via email).
- The work sample must be no larger than 30 MB and no more than 20 pages in length.
- Please add your name, the program to which you are applying and the year and quarter at the top of the document.
When will I be notified of my admission decision?
Applicants are notified regarding Autumn quarter admission by early April. Applicants are notified regarding Winter quarter admission by the second week of November.
I have submitted all of my application materials online but my official test scores and letters of recommendation have not yet been submitted. Can I pay the application fee and submit my application?
Yes, you can pay the application fee and submit your application if your recommendations and official test scores have not yet been received–those application materials will be matched to your application when they are received. Note that after you pay the application fee and submit your application you cannot make further changes to your application with the exception of designating your recommenders and updating your contact information. You can check the status of your application after you submit it by logging in.
I went on exchange (was a visiting student) at another school. Do I need to submit transcripts from that school?
Yes, it is important that you list all collegiate institutions you have attended and upload transcripts for each of them to your online application.
Do I need to submit official transcripts?
Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts to their on-line application. Individuals offered admission will be required to send a complete set of hard copy official transcripts.
What else should I know about applying to the University of Washington Graduate School?
What type of educational background do most applicants have?
Most applicants do not have extensive academic or professional experience in urban planning or design and they come from a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds. This is reflective of the field of planning, which is interdisciplinary by nature. The largest number of applicants tend to come from design fields, engineering, environmental sciences, geography, etc. Another large group come from the social sciences including sociology, political science, anthropology, etc. All these and others are useful backgrounds. What we look for is someone who has gotten some initial exposure to the planning field through any of a variety of means such as taking courses, community involvements, possible interning, and/or self-directed study or travel that has brought them to a point where they can make an informed decision about entering this field and can articulate some of their interests and objectives related to it. These, as well as a thoughtful discussion of why our program is a good fit, are the substance of the written statement of purpose for the application.
What is the community like at the Master of Urban Planning program?
Our MUP students generate a supportive, inclusive community in the MUP program. Students can expect strong cohort cohesion as they bond with their classmates during their 1st year of required coursework. There are many opportunities for students to get involved in community-building endeavors. One example is the MUP Planning Student Association (PSA), a student group which organizes social and academic activities. Another example is the MUP group RE:UP, which stands for Race and Equity in Ubran Planning. RE:UP hosts activities for students throughout the year to address race and equity issues. Furthermore, MUP students also actively participate in the College of Built Environments Student Council and the UW Graduate & Professional Student Senate. There are many ways that MUP students make a difference, connect with each other, and have their voices heard.
Also, the Department of Urban Design and Planning has a Diversity Committee, which aims to create a stronger and more inclusive community by recognizing and serving our program’s diversity including race, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, educational background, (dis)abilities, etc. The Diversity Committee identifies areas of need within our program and college and seeks ways to address and improve those areas in a positive way.
Does the MUP program offer resources unique to other programs?
The Department of Urban Design and Planning has a Professionals Council (PC) comprised of local planners in the Seattle area who volunteer their time to mentor MUP students. For every MUP student, there is a PC member assigned to them based on mutual interests. The PC mentors help students network, identify internships, provide career advice, and much more. The PC holds events for MUP students throughout the year, including studio tours, panels of prominent planners discussing important issues, social events, resume workshops, scholarship funds, and more. The Professionals Council is a unique resource for our students, and is recognized by the Planning Accreditation Board as a model for other planning programs.
Will I be able to find a job after I graduate?
Based on a survey conducted in 2014, 92% of alumni respondents indicated having secured a planning-related or professional planning job within one year of graduating from the MUP program. The planning-related job was defined as being any paid position in which the skills and knowledge acquired through the MUP program were routinely used in the context of the job.
Furthermore, 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.
Our alumni find work locally, nationally, and internationally. The positions they enter are diverse and include both the public and private sector; but typically, the highest percentage work for government agencies at the local level.
For a representative selection of current positions of MUP Alumni who graduated in 2010 and onward, please see our Resources page under the heading Alumni – Where Are They Now.
Can I find an internship while enrolled in the MUP program?
Internships are highly encouraged but not required. Students identify internship opportunities through email announcements sent through the Urban Design and Planning office and postings on our LinkedIn page.
Many of our MUP students work part-time in planning-related jobs and internships while enrolled in the program, typically in the summer of their first year and beyond. Many make professional connections during their internship, which for some can lead to permanent employment after graduating from the MUP program.
How do I know if I am considered an international applicant?
Please see “Am I an international applicant?” on the Graduate School’s University of Washington Graduate School’s Admissions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpage.
Do I need to take the TOEFL exam? Can the TOEFL exam be waived in certain cases for international applicants?
Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. No waivers of this English proficiency requirement may be given. For more information, please see the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirements webpage. Please note that, for applicants submitting a TOEFL score to demonstrate English proficiency, a minimum score of 92 is required by the MUP program.
Do you provide financial support for international students?
International applicants are typically eligible for the Departmental fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, scholarships, and awards as described in the Finances webpage. However, because funding for MUP students is not guaranteed, it is crucial that International students be prepared to fully fund their education.
How do I calculate my GPA?
Please see the University of Washington Graduate School’s Admissions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpage for assistance.
I am sending transcripts by courier to the Department and they require a street address. Where can I send those materials?
If transcripts are arriving by courier or express service (e.g., FedEx, DHL, UPS), they should be addressed to:
MUP Program Admissions Committee
University of Washington – Department of Urban Design and Planning
3950 University Way NE, 410 Gould Hall
Seattle, WA 98195-5740