Executive Master of Urban Planning

Our everyday lives are built around the work of urban planners — as shaped by the values of communities and the economics of city-making — and our futures depend on both the design and adaptability of urban infrastructure. The accessibility and social interactivity of our physical environment, the degree of equity experienced in public forums and the resilience of our urban fabric in the face of climate change are all directly impacted by urban planners. The USC Price Executive Masters in Urban Planning online will place you at the heart of this important work.

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Urban planning is becoming increasingly complex. Industry professionals must navigate stronger regulation, dwindling public resources and political forces that simultaneously restrict government support and heighten income inequality.

The Executive Master of Urban Planning online program is designed for seasoned professionals who are passionate about improving their communities and are ready to take leadership positions that will make our cities more vibrant, sustainable, and just.

USC Price’s accelerated Executive Master of Urban Planning online program merges urban planning and real estate development, building on decades of USC Price leadership and expertise in both fields. This degree uniquely focuses on the needs of working professionals. Our students come to the Executive Master of Urban Planning online degree from fields as diverse as affordable housing development, architectural and engineering consulting, elected office and planning commissions, design professions, environmental sustainability, transportation, and technology and media jobs.

Not currently in the planning field? That isn’t a barrier. The program is tailored so that any professional from outside the planning field can emerge with expertise that matches their peers in this space. Students will be equipped with hands-on skills that can be used on the job, including the ability to:

  1. Develop enhanced skills in project management, financial analysis and data visualization to evaluate the feasibility of urban planning and real estate development projects.
  2. Innovate at the nexus of local public finance, private sector investment activity and public policy.
  3. Leverage commercial socio-economic and socio-demographic data to foster better decision making at local, neighborhood, city and regional scales.
  4. Navigate the interlocking ethical responsibilities engendered by neighborhood revitalization by developing shared visions with communities confronting gentrification, displacement and cultural erasure.
  5. Lead multi-disciplinary professional teams on equitable planning and development projects.

Next Info Session: 2/21/23

Final App. Deadline: 4/1/2023

Students come to the Executive Master of Urban Planning degree from positions that include:

Public Sector and Government

Mayor of Los Gatos, California
Kansas City Planning Commission
Santa Clara Housing Authority
Houston Parks Board
Lake County, Florida
Town of Gilbert, Arizona
Los Angeles Metro
Houston Housing Authority

Private Sector

Rose City Partners LLC (real estate development)
Deloitte Management Consulting
Marcus and Millichap (real estate investment)
Waterman Steele Real Estate Advisors
Pacific Urbanism
Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
The Howard Hughes Corporation
Rodgers Consulting

Non-Profit Careers

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Enterprise Community Fund (affordable housing)
C40 Cities (climate change policy)
East Los Angeles Community Corporation
Sustainable Homes of the Future

Who can benefit from an Executive Master of Urban Planning?

The Executive Master of Urban Planning degree can benefit professionals at every level of their career. Here are just a few examples of those who could gain from our program:

» Professionals in public policy and city planning

» City managers who want to work more effectively with planners and developers

» Senior executives in consulting firms or the public sector who will build and lead cross-disciplinary urban planning or urban development teams

» Middle management planners who, to advance their careers, need to learn more about the link between planning and the development community

» Private sector developers who need more knowledge about navigating project approvals process and reaching out to stakeholders

» Affordable housing professionals who need to bridge the public and private sectors

» Architects who design infill projects or master-planned communities

» Engineers whose work requires a foundation in economics, politics, and planning

» Land use attorneys looking to gain deeper understanding of the economics of land development

» Sustainability specialists whose work is focused on the challenges of cities

» Technology professionals working at the intersection of urban planning and urban development

Program Details

Admissions & Application Requirements

All USC Price candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in order to apply. Because this is an executive degree, we prefer applicants who have at least 3 years of substantive experience related to urban planning or real estate development, or 5+ years of experience in a planning-adjacent field. You should highlight that work experience and how it motivates your desire to pursue this degree in your application.

For full application requirements and deadlines, visit our Admissions page. The USC Price Executive Master of Urban Planning online program is currently not authorized for students living in Arkansas, Minnesota, and Puerto Rico. To complete your application, you must submit the following:

» Resume. Your resume should include a summary of your academic background, your professional work history, and any other relevant work or volunteer experience you’d like to highlight. Five to seven years of relevant work experience are recommended, but not required, to apply.

» Official transcripts. We recommend that you request transcripts when beginning the application, as the turnaround time can vary from school to school. USC requires official transcripts from all postsecondary schools (Including community colleges) you have attended, regardless of transfers or whether a degree was earned. Your application processing may be delayed if you fail to submit all undergraduate transcripts. Transcript submission is a two-step process. Step 1. Upload scanned copies of official registrar-issued transcripts to the online application. Please note that these must be official transcripts printed on university letterhead. Printouts from online student portals are not acceptable. Step 2. Request an official registrar-issued transcript be sent to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions.

If your university is in the United States and offers e-transcripts, advise the university to send the e-transcript to [email protected]. The transcript must originate from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution. If your university does not offer e-transcripts or is located outside of the United States, advise the university to send a sealed official transcript.

» Statement of purpose. Your statement should be approximately 1,000 words. You will be asked to describe your path to USC Price, including what prepared you to succeed in the program and why you chose it. You should describe how your career experience relates to the goals and objectives of the Executive Master of Urban Planning.

» Letters of Recommendation. We require two recommendation letters. These should come from professionals in your field who can provide meaningful input on your previous work experience and career goals. A letter of recommendation from a professor, faculty member, and/or academic adviser who can provide meaningful input regarding your academic record is also welcome. Many applicants submit two references from professional contacts.

» Application fee. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $90. USC offers several options for graduate application fee waivers. Click here to learn more.

» International Student Requirements. Please refer to USC’s Office of Graduate Admissions website for additional items required for international students to apply. On this page you will find a comprehensive checklist to complete your application if applying from outside the US.


Are you ready to start your application? Begin Today »

Curriculum & Course Sequence

The Executive Master of Urban Planning program directly bridges the gap between urban planning goals and the objectives and constraints of effective real estate development.

The core curriculum revolves around interconnected themes in four arenas: 1. urban economics, citizen participation, and governance, 2. real estate project planning and proforma analysis, 3. urban design, site analysis and design review, and 4. data analytics and visualization. The content and sequencing of coursework is designed to cultivate leaders who excel at the intersection of all these fields.

The Executive Master of Urban Planning course sequence consists of 24 total units across 4 semesters. Please note the following course sequence is meant as a sample.

Term 1
(7 total units)
» Economics of a Productive Development (3 units)
» Politics and Processes of Urban Development (2 units)
» First Intensive (2 units)
Term 2
(5 total units)
» Urban Political Economy and Urban Development (2 units)
» Economics for a Productive City (3 units)
Term 3
(7 total units)
» Effective Engagement with Stakeholders (3 units)
» Big Data for Planning and Development (2 units)
» Second Intensive (2 units)
Term 4
(5 total units)
» Leading a Collaborative City (4 units)
» Integrating Concepts for Action (1 unit)

For a detailed breakdown of each course, please click here to view the Course Descriptions.

In-Person Intensives

To complete the Executive Master of Urban Planning online program, you will attend two four-day in-person intensives held at the end of the fall and spring semesters.

During these sessions, which are conducted on the USC University Park Campus in Los Angeles, you will immerse yourself in real urban planning projects, both in Los Angeles and in students’ home cities, and work with your peers and professors to analyze, propose and evaluate projects in a real-world context. A focus on both collaboration and community are key as students learn more about one another and the places they are from.

Tuition & Financial Aid


The current tuition rate is $2,137 per unit. Students should expect a moderate increase in tuition each academic year.
Credits Required: 24
Estimated Total Tuition: $51,288
New student fee: $50
Student programming: $20 for online students
Norham H. Topping Student Aid Fund fee: $8

Financial Aid

U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for federal student aid. Additionally, some employers may offer tuition benefits, including tuition reimbursement and low-cost loans. The University of Southern California Financial Aid Office (FAO) will provide you with the details of applying for financial aid, understanding your financial aid award and properly securing your loans. Visit the FAO website for detailed information regarding dates and deadlines and to find downloadable forms that are needed to process the financial aid application.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Graduates working in the public service field may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. To qualify, you must have made 120 qualifying loan payments while employed by a qualifying employer. There is no income requirement for the PSLF program.

For more information regarding financial aid at USC, visit usc.edu/financialaid.

Student Projects

In the first semester of the Executive Master of Urban Planning program, students complete an immersive group project, diving into the details of a planning problem. Students apply their knowledge of urban planning and real estate project analysis to develop solutions to planning and broader governance issues. In teams, students present these projects to a panel of experts as part of the first intensive. Past projects include the below:

interior renovation of Wonder Flats and Shops

Wonder Flats and Shops

Kansas City, MO — The Wonder Bread Factory shops and flats is approximately 1.18 acres of land. The proposed project is designed to improve the building by converting it for mixed residential/retail use. Read More >>

Los Angeles Stadium

Los Angeles Stadium

Inglewood, CA — Inglewood is quickly becoming a regional center for arts, sports and entertainment venues. These additions to the city are expected to bring additional traffic as the arena and surrounding area are being revitalized. Read More >>

La Plaza Village

Los Angeles, CA — The LA Plaza development site is in one of the oldest parts of the city. It is representative of larger conversations around modern development in which issues of culture, development and land use arise and intersect with one another. It attempts to reflect and refract the history and articulated experiences of the surrounding community.

Culdesac Tempe

Tempe, AZ — Culdesac Tempe is the nation’s first proposed non-car dependent community, purposely designed at the pedestrian scale instead of the automobile. The $140 million project is a ground-up build on approximately 15.6 acres. Culdesac Tempe will be a multi-phased, urban master-planned community intended to provide a destination for those seeking a more sustainable and tight-knit way of life.

Domino Sugar Refinery

Brooklyn, NY — The Domino Sugar Refinery is a mixed-use facility that includes affordable residential housing and office and retail space, as well as four new buildings and a former refinery. Additionally, there is an open space with a waterfront park, a five-block artifact walk and ferry access to Manhattan.

EPIC Tower Project/Netflix Campus

Hollywood, CA — Located at 5901 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, EPIC Tower occupies a prime location in Los Angeles. The project integrates cutting-edge technologies including drone ports, autonomous vehicle garage and fully built integrated solar generation. The project includes 26,000 square feet of retail, 274,000 square feet of office use in a tower structure and 830 parking spaces on a 1.55-acre site.

Treasure Island

San Francisco, CA — Treasure Island is a man-made landform connected to the natural island Yerba Buena in the San Francisco Bay, halfway between San Francisco and Oakland, directly under the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. The original plan has since been revised to include up to 8,000 residential units (1,684 affordable homes and 168 affordable apartments); 300 acres of public open space (arts master plan); 22 miles of walking, hiking and biking paths; 500 hotel rooms; a ferry terminal; and about 250,000 square feet of commercial space.

El Monte Gateway

El Monte, CA — The city of El Monte and its downtown area would undergo economic development and revitalization and create affordable housing to walking, cycling and regional transit.

Creative Living Community (CLC)

Connecticut — Creative Living Community of Connecticut (CLCC) is a social justice venture focused on society’s most vulnerable citizens. It is a great example of the intersection of commercial development and planning with the need for a different kind of solution due to the failed policies of governmental agencies.

Student Support

Leadership and Faculty

USC Price faculty members are distinguished scholars who share a deep commitment to academic research and student mentorship. All USC Price online coursework is designed and led by the same faculty members who teach in our on-campus programs.

Program Specialist

Counseling related to academic and administrative policies is provided by the program specialist, Terrynce Rucker. The primary functions of the program specialist include monitoring student progress and other student services related to academic programming.

Career Services

The Price Office of Career Services connects students who are motivated to solve local and global problems with practitioners who are already working towards those goals. By empowering students to navigate career complexity, we help create lifelong, fulfilling careers. The office has a website with career education resources, including internships and job boards.

Military Service Member Support

There are a number of dedicated resources available for military applicants and students. Active-duty military, veterans, spouses and dependents can request an application fee waiver from the graduate school and the USC Veterans Certification Office can assist with using your military tuition benefits. The USC Price School is also proud to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide Yellow Ribbon benefits up to $5,000 for each award to qualified students. In addition, you will have the opportunity to work with a dedicated USC student success advisor who will support you throughout your time in the program, to assist you with scheduling courses, accessing funding, planning for deployment, and more. And you’ll connect to a worldwide network of Trojan alumni who have also served.

Why USC Price

The USC Price School is ranked #2 in the nation for Urban Policy (U.S. News & World Report, 2022). Our program delivery emphasizes the digital transformation occurring in urban planning, and offers connections to expert faculty, immersive real-world class projects, and an extensive alumni network who will all work collectively to empower you as an agent of change.

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An Extensive Alumni Network

Make and keep connections with thousands of USC Price alumni who benefit from a wide range of career resources, networking opportunities, and alumni events and seminars. Each year the Price School’s annual homecoming event also offers the chance to celebrate and reconnect with fellow alumni, with activities the whole family will enjoy.

All these opportunities highlight how USC Price alumni are united for life–and stay closely involved with the school long after graduation.

“The fascinating part to me was how much I learned from my fellow students, all who had different life experiences. Most were planners, some were real estate finance people like me. And we really developed a good friendship.”

Lance Gilliam

Founding Partner, Waterman Steele Real Estate Advisors, EMUP 2021 Graduate

Are you ready to form your future?

Call (213) 764-5999, email [email protected], or fill out our form to request more information.