University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Master of Urban Planning

Specialization Options

Focus Your Research or Explore the Discipline

For some years, planning education has felt a tension between an approach that aims to train good generalists, with knowledge and skills geared to adaptability and life-long learning, and an approach that attempts to focus, particularize, and deepen knowledge with training in job-specific skills.  Because this debate has no simple conclusion, the faculty has opted to give students choice in selecting which form of education and professional training most suits them.

Our students must select either one of our specializations or our advanced graduate certificate.  The former leads to a certificate granted upon graduation.  The latter has special SUNY recognition and also appears on the diploma.  Specializations each consist of an introductory course, advanced course, and specialized practicum (6) credits, adding up to 12 credits.  For requirements for the advanced certificate, see below.

Please note that each specialization (and the advanced graduate certificate) requires a specialized practicum. Under some circumstances, if an appropriate 6-credit specialized practicum is not available during a reasonable period of the student’s curriculum, students may (upon approval of the specialization director and department chair) take two three-credit courses in lieu of the 6-credit practicum.

The profession of planning aims to create places where people can lead full, healthy lives. The Community Health and Food Systems specialization at the University at Buffalo prepares students to use planning and policy tools to improve public health and strengthen communities’ food systems, especially in low-resource settings.
Economic development planners work to increase employment opportunities, relieve poverty, build international economic competitiveness, promote human development, and facilitate sustainable growth.
The Environmental and Land Use Planning specialization offered by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning involves the study of how to use the planning process to resolve four broad sets of problems:
This specialization focuses on the historic built environment in an urban context, and gives students the tools necessary to understand how to preserve it. Historic preservation is fundamental to the work of architects and urban planners as communities around the globe increasingly look to conserve and creatively reuse their historic resources, which can be architectural, urban, cultural, and archaeological.
This specialization focuses on neighborhood planning and central city revitalization.  It views neighborhood planning as a community driven process that interweaves the physical, economic and social dimensions of neighborhood and city development into a single fabric. 
Urban Design bridges planning, architecture and landscape. Urban designers work on the scale from the design of a street corner to a bird’s-eye view of the urban structure of a metropolitan region.