- School of Urban Planning
- Macdonald Harrington Building, Room 400
- 815 Sherbrooke Street West
- Montreal, QC H3A 0C2
- Telephone: 514-398-4075
- Fax: 514-398-8376
- Email: admissions [dot] planning [at] mcgill [dot] ca
- Website: www.mcgill.ca/urbanplanning
About Urban Planning
Urban planning is the process by which a community shapes its environment to meet its needs and reach its goals. It is also the profession of those who facilitate this process. The practice is as old as cities are; the profession itself is about a century old. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, architects, landscape architects, engineers, government reformers, lawyers, public-health specialists, and others joined forces to tackle the serious social and environmental problems of the industrial city. They created new techniques and institutions to improve living conditions and decision-making processes.
Today, people who enter the profession come from diverse backgrounds as well, including the design professions; engineering and applied sciences; environmental and social studies; and other fields. Their challenge is to reinvent tools and procedures to meet new challenges and respond to new values. A key feature of planning education is learning to view issues in multidisciplinary ways, to manage processes of collaboration and of conflict, and to generate equitable and efficient solutions to complex problems of urban change and development.
McGill University was the first institution in Canada to offer a full-time planning program, starting in 1947. The School of Urban Planning was created in 1976 as a separate academic unit within the Faculty of Engineering. It shares a heritage building with the School of Architecture, right on the main open space of McGill’s Downtown campus.
The primary objective of the School is to educate professional urban planners for leadership in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. It also prepares doctoral students for high-level research and teaching positions. The doctoral program is an Ad hoc program—in which students are subject to the University’s regulations in terms of supervision and progress—that welcomes a small number of students, both local and international, who hold a master’s degree and apply on the basis of their own research interests. Prospective applicants should consult the School’s website.
The School’s teaching and research activities, for both master’s and Ph.D. students, pertain primarily to community planning; environmental policy and planning; international development planning; land-use planning and regulation; transportation and infrastructure planning; and urban design. These activities, which are conducted for the purpose of promoting better decision-making and improving human environments, often take place in partnership with other McGill departments (notably Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geography, and Law) and with units at other institutions in Montreal, across Canada, and abroad. The School uses Montreal and its region as its main teaching laboratory.
The School of Urban Planning has a strong track record of contributing to the community and to the profession. It works with civil society as well as with government to understand urban challenges and to formulate policies and plans to meet them. Community and professional partners are located in Montreal, in Québec, elsewhere in Canada, and in developing regions.
Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) Program
The Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) program is a two-year course of study that attracts students from Québec, Canada, the U.S., and overseas. It is recognized by the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec (OUQ) and the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP). Graduates may become full members of the OUQ and other provincial planning associations by completing their respective internship and examination requirements. Similar requirements must be met for admission to the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and other such organizations.
The M.U.P. program was designed with a strong emphasis on project-based learning, i.e., practical work done in teams, in a studio setting. Approximately half of the curriculum is devoted to required courses that teach basic knowledge and skills in urban planning; the other half enables students to select courses or research projects that match their particular interests. Three studio courses, a summer internship, and a semester-long Supervised Research Project prepare them for professional practice and research. Students participate actively in professors’ research programs or define their own research objectives, sometimes with their own research funding from major agencies (e.g., SSHRC, NSERC, FQRSC, FQRNT).
The core program provides a general education in spatial planning in its functional, environmental, and social dimensions. A formal specialization is available in Transportation Planning. M.U.P. students in the core program may also participate in the Barbados Field Study Semester, which focuses on global environmental issues. Details concerning these concentrations are available at www.tram.mcgill.ca and www.mcgill.ca/bfss respectively. Students wishing to specialize in Urban Design, as in other subfields of planning, can do so within the core program. A number of electives, the summer internship, and the Supervised Research Project together allow for over a year’s worth of individual concentration on a particular topic.
Graduates of the M.U.P. program work as planners, designers, and policy analysts, as researchers, advocates, and mediators, and they do so at various levels of government, in civil-society organizations, and with private consulting firms. Although their area of expertise varies, they devote their efforts in increasing numbers to sustainable development in its environmental, social, and economic dimensions.
Ph.D. (Ad Hoc)
The Department of Urban Planning also offers the possibility of directly entering a Ph.D. program on an ad hoc basis, or, with the permission of the supervisor and the approval of the Graduate Program Director, exceptional students may transfer from the M.U.P. to the ad hoc Ph.D. program.
|Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.); Urban Planning (Non-Thesis) (66 credits)|
|The M.U.P. program requires two years of study, including a three-month internship in a professional setting. Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to have acquired basic planning skills, a broad understanding of urban issues, and specialized knowledge in a field of their own choice.|
|Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.); Urban Planning (Non-Thesis) — Transportation Planning (66 credits)|
|The Transportation Planning option enables students to specialize in this field as part of their course of study for the M.U.P. degree. Studio courses, an internship, and a final project involve real-life work that prepares students for the professional practice of Urban Transportation Planning.|
|Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.); Urban Planning (Non-Thesis) — Urban Design (66 credits)|
Note: The Urban Design option is being suspended. Students interested in Urban Design will be able to specialize in this field of practice as part of the core M.U.P. program.
The Urban Design option allows students to specialize in this field as part of their course of study for the M.U.P. degree. Studio courses, an internship, and a final project involve real-life work that prepares students for the professional practice of Urban Design.
Urban Planning Admission Requirements and Application Procedures
Revision, October 2012. Start of revision.
The M.U.P. degree is open to students holding a bachelor's degree or equivalent in Anthropology, Architecture, Economics, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Geography, Law, Management, Political Science, Social Work, Sociology, or Urban Studies. Students from other backgrounds are considered for admission on an individual basis.
In addition to the documents for admission required by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the following must be submitted:
- Statement of specific interest in the area of Urban Planning (one to two pages)
- Curriculum Vitae
- Portfolio: For architects only, a portfolio containing at least five (5) examples of architectural work accomplished in school and in practice demonstrating creativity and imagination. All applicants interested in the urban design concentration may wish to submit such a portfolio. Portfolios are not to exceed 8½" x 11" in size.
- Applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English, and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized Canadian institution (anglophone or francophone), must submit documented proof of competency in oral and written English. By the Dates for Guaranteed Consideration, appropriate exam results must be submitted directly from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) Office. The minimum requirement for the TOEFL test is as follows: PBT – 600, iBT – 100, with each component score not less than 23. The minimum score for the IELTS test is 7.0.
McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.
See Application Procedures (for All Admissions Starting Summer 2013) for detailed application procedures.
- Personal Statement (one to two pages)
- Curriculum Vitae
- Portfolio: For architects only, at least five (5) examples of architectural work accomplished in school and in practice demonstrating creativity and imagination. All applicants interested in the urban design concentration may wish to submit such a portfolio. Portfolios are not to exceed 8½" x 11" in size.
Awards and Financial Assistance
The School offers several fellowships and supports student applications to external grants from provincial and federal agencies. For information regarding awards and financial assistance, please refer to the Graduate Fellowships and Awards Calendar available at www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/calendars.