Urban Planning and Policy Development

Founded in 1967, the now STEM-designated Urban Planning and Policy Development (UPPD) program educates innovative people who wish to combine social concerns with analytic skills. While planners work on a wide range of problems, they also are likely to focus on a particular issue or specialization in building individual careers, concentrating their professional expertise. For this reason the trained planner is often called “a generalist with a specialty.” That phrase is more than just a cliché. It suggests that a useful curriculum will contain a productive application of faculty disciplines and other program resources. It defines the approach to graduate study in urban planning and policy development here at Rutgers.

Planning is future-oriented and comprehensive. It seeks to link knowledge and action in ways that improve the quality of public and private development decisions affecting people and places. Because of its future orientation, planning embraces visionary and utopian thinking, yet also recognizes that the implementation of plans requires the reconciliation of present realities to future states. To become effective and ethical practitioners, students must develop a comprehensive understanding of cities and regions, and of the theory and practice of planning. They must also be able to use a variety of analytic methods in their practice. They must become sensitive to the ways in which planning affects individual and community values, and must be aware of their own roles in this process.

Learning Goals:

  1. Intellectual and Communication Skills
    1. Visionary and Utopian Thinking
      Students will demonstrate proficiency in future-oriented analysis, design, planning and policy development that serve to improve the quality of life, within their coursework and studio projects.
    2. Communication
      Students will demonstrate a proficiency in written, oral, and graphic methods of communication in a variety of settings through their studio experiences and exhibit an ability to adjust method to setting and audience.
    3. Mathematical Reasoning and Analysis
      Students will demonstrate an ability to apply statistical and/or computational modeling perspectives in the analysis and understanding of planning and policy development.
    4. Understanding Community Values
      Students will demonstrate an ability to elicit and respectfully characterize community values within their coursework and studio projects.
    5. Information and Computer Literacy
      Students will demonstrate proficiency in conducting literature reviews, collecting primary data, retrieving secondary data, analyzing data using a variety of software packages, and reporting the findings in ways that facilitate dissemination.
  2. Professional Development & Ethics
    Students will demonstrate an ability to integrate and apply theory, methods, empirical evidence, and conceptual thinking in the development of planning-directed studio experiences in which students “work for” clients. Students are required to prepare memos, prospectuses, visual materials and final reports for clients and to present their products in formal presentations. Students will demonstrate competency in professional conduct and ethics in their interactions with faculty, students, and clients, and in their use of data.

Grade Appeal Policy:

Student complaints about grades in any courses offered by the school are treated by the process outlined in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of the Bloustein School Catalog. It reads as follows:

Students wishing to file a complaint about a course grade, or a grade received for a particular piece of work in a course, should first attempt to resolve the matter through discussion or writing with the instructor of that course (her/his preference) no later than two weeks after notification of the grade. If the issue cannot be satisfactorily resolved between student and instructor, the student may specify in writing the basis for the complaint and request a review by the appropriate program director. A written complaint about a grade for work completed while the course is in progress must be submitted to the program director no later than two weeks after final determination by the instructor. A student must submit a written complaint about a final course grade to the program director no later than four weeks after final determination by the instructor.

A student who wishes to appeal the decision of the program director should appeal once again in writing to the office of the dean, through the Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Services.  Students should be directed to address that written appeal to Stephen Weston, Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Services, Bloustein School Deans Office, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ, CAC. Email is preferred at sdweston@rutgers.edu. That second level appeal must be filed within two weeks of the date of the receipt of the initial Grade Appeal Outcome Statement.

Written notification of the action taken by either the program director or by the assistant dean will be sent to the student no later than four weeks of the filing of the appeal, excluding those weeks in which classes are not in regular session.  With reference to the actions above, the program director or assistant dean may consult with other faculty, directors, etc., that may be relevant to a student’s complaint.

Students who contact the Dean’s office without following the above procedure will be referred back to the instructor or program, in order to preserve the integrity of the process and an independent student appeal review.  Some things to keep in mind when appealing your grade with the instructor, director or dean include:

  • Watch grade appeal timeframes; being busy is not a legitimate excuse.
  • Raise issues when they happen, not at the end of the term.
  • Stick to the facts of the situation; discuss formally your appeal and keep it professional.
  • Avoid emotional language and personal attacks.
  • When asking for a second chance, admit where you have been culpable.
  • Mentioning your grades in your other classes is not relevant.
  • Be leery of end of semester/year grade appeals as they impact graduation deadlines.

For questions about the grade appeal process, students, faculty and/or others are encouraged to speak to their instructor, program director or the assistant dean of the school for clarification.


The program offers six areas of concentration that allow students to specialize in one or more fields of planning, in addition to taking the required core courses. These concentrations are intended to help students develop a program of study that will help them fulfill their individual career goals.

Certificate Programs

Certificates are groupings of five or so courses offered by key, multiple departments that if taken, indicate that the student has developed cross-disciplinary expertise in a particular subject area. The Bloustein School offers nine graduate certificate programs in transportation, climate change, energy, public policy, real estate, historic preservation, and more.

KDI Scholars Program

In January 2001, the Bloustein School and the school’s urban planning and policy development program entered into a partnership to accept students from the School of Public Policy and Management of the Korea Development Institute (KDI) into the Master of City and Regional Studies Degree program.


Positions held by recent graduates of the UPPD program

Degree Statistics

View Degree Statistics