Core Studio Courses

Planning Workshop and Planning Project Studio are our MURP program’s two core studio courses. They are a key part of the hands-on, real-world focus of the MURP program and complement the core lecture courses in meeting the educational outcomes prescribed by the Planning Accreditation Board.

Planning Workshop is the introductory studio for MURP students. Planning Workshop provides students an opportunity to address actual planning problems, issues, and processes; apply previously acquired knowledge and skills; and develop new planning knowledge and practical skills in an applied context.

Students will develop basic competence in physical planning and site design, accessing existing information, generating new information, and performing planning analysis and synthesis. Students will also learn to enhance their written, oral, and graphic communication skills. Through the Planning Workshop experience, students will develop an understanding of the relationship between planning theory and practice, as well as gain the ability to formulate compelling planning arguments in applied settings while working in a collaborative environment.

Students will also receive introductory instruction in Trimble SketchUp, which complements the introductory instruction in Geographic Information Systems (ArcView GIS) and Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) students receive in The Planning Profession course. The integration and use of all of these common planning technology applications is a critical component of the Planning Workshop experience.


Planning Project Studio is the MURP program’s advanced studio course. This studio requires students to work together as a “planning consultant team” to complete a single planning project or study from beginning to end for a real-world client. It is expected that students enrolled in Planning Project Studio will have already gained the fundamental planning knowledge, skills, and values from their experience in Planning Workshop and other MURP courses. Consequently, the emphasis in Planning Project Studio is on putting everything together into a complete real-world planning project.

The studio emulates the typical planning consultant/client experience, including: refining the project scope and schedule with the client; establishing guiding principles and expected outcomes; conducting case studies and existing plans background research; gathering and analyzing existing conditions data; formulating alternative plan concepts; assessing alternative concepts through specific criteria; identifying and refining the preferred alternative; and preparing and presenting the final plan deliverables to the client. Emphasis is also placed on professionalism, project management, team-building and collaboration, client management, public involvement, and other aspects of the real-world planning consultant realm.

Each Planning Project Studio course section will focus on a project generally associated with one of the MURP program’s three initiatives (Healthy Communities, Urban Revitalization, and Regional Sustainability). Typically three to five sections of Planning Project Studio are offered each academic year, thereby ensuring that students will have a chance to enroll in a Planning Project Studio section that is aligned with an area of interest to them. However, as each studio section is limited in size, there is no guarantee students will be able to enroll in their preferred section. A balloting process will be used when necessary.

Go to the main Program Overview page