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PAB Accreditation

New graduate students toured downtown Buffalo before starting their first semester.


Our two-year master’s in urban planning (MUP) degree is fully accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, a Chicago-based organization that recognizes professional urban planning programs for performance, integrity, and quality.  After a complete review in 2013, our program was fully reaccredited through December 31, 2021.  You can learn more about the accreditation process at the Planning Accreditation Board’s website. 

As an accredited program, we practice transparency about important data, so prospective applicants can be well-informed in deciding whether to apply to us.  Below, we provide information about student evaluations, graduation rates, graduates’ satisfaction, graduates’ employment, and voluntary professional certification.

How We Evaluate Students

Our MUP program follows the University at Buffalo guidelines in evaluation of graduate students.  These evaluations occur by instructors in classes that grade according to the standard A-F scale, in which an “A” is construed as a “4,” a “B” as a “3,” and so forth down to an “F.” (In a few classes, student performance may be graded “S” for satisfactory or “U” for unsatisfactory.)

Over our 52-credit course of study leading to the MUP, students typically (there are exceptions) take fifteen three-credit courses, one six-credit studio, and one one-credit colloquium.  They undergo grading by each instructor based on exams, papers, group assignments, or studio performance. The average of those grades on the 4.0 scale is known as the “grade point average,” and must be no less than 3.0 for the student to remain in good standing in our program.

Of special note in our program is the “final project,” a three-credit capstone course, in which students have to demonstrate that they can produce a plan or report of professional quality in response to a municipality’s needs.  Alternatively, students may upon faculty approval elect to do a “thesis,” which is an intensive investigation in to a specialized topic of interest to the discipline or profession of planning.  Each thesis must be approved by at least two faculty members. Either by final project or thesis, students earn the MUP upon demonstrating synthetic ability in planning.

Typically, a student will have undergone 17 separate end-of-semester evaluations (which in themselves are usually based on multiple in-class evaluations) during their period with us.  It is through these multiple evaluations that we assure that our students receive a good education and attain the capabilities needed in professional practice or further advanced study.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees are calculated for one full academic year (fall and spring semesters) and include tuition, University fees, and School of Architecture and Planning fees as outlined below:


2014 – 2015 Academic Year


University Fees[1]

School Fees













[1] University fees for the academic year include the Comprehensive Fee ($1687), the Activity Fee ($128) and the Academic Excellence Fee ($150).  Matriculating International students are also assessed the International Student Fee ($200).

For details regarding full and part time (per credit hour) tuition and fees, please refer to the University’s Tuition and Fee web page.

Student Retention and Graduation Rates

The retention rate for the master’s program is the percentage of full-time MUP students that return for the second year of the program. 

The graduation rate for the master’s program is the percentage of full time MUP students who graduate within 4 years of enrolling.


Academic Year

Number Enrolled

Retention Rate

Graduated within 4 years

Graduation Rate


2006 - 07





2007 - 08





2008 - 09





2009 - 10





2010 - 11





2011 - 12





2012 - 13




74% [2]

2013 - 14





1. Results are preliminary as students are still within the 200% time period for degree completion.
2. Results are preliminary as students are still within the 150% and 200% time period for degree completion.

Number of Degrees Awarded (single and combined):

2011 – 12: 45
2012 – 13: 41
2013 – 14: 35

AICP Exam Pass Rate

To become a certified planner, members of the American Planning Associate (APA) must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass the American Institute of Certificated Planners (AICP) Exam.  The pass rate is the percentage of test takers who pass the examination within 3 years of graduating from a master’s program.


Graduation Year





Number taking exam





Pass rate





AICP Exam pass rate data are collected by the APA. For a complete list of pass rates for all PAB-accredited institutions, see:

Employment Rate

Graduates from 2010 - 11




Response Rate


Employment within One Year of Graduation:

Professional Planning Job or Planning-Related Job



Pursuing Advanced Degree



Job outside of Planning


Total Employed Within One Year of Graduation


Graduates from 2011 - 12




Response Rate


Employment within One Year of Graduation:

Professional Planning Job



Professional Planning-Related Job



Pursuing Advanced Degree



Job outside of Planning


Total Employed Within One Year of Graduation


Note: A planning position may take place at local, regional, state (province), national, or international levels.  It may occur in the public sector, public authority, nonprofit organization, or private sector.  Specific fields that constitute planning include: arts and culture planning, community activism/empowerment, community development, consulting, disaster planning, economic development, energy development and planning, environmental planning, GIS and other computer applications to planning, historic preservation and heritage, housing, international development, land use and code enforcement, legal practice related to planning, natural resources planning, neighborhood planning, parks and recreation, planning education, planning for training programs, planning within an architectural or engineering firm, planning management/finance, public health, real estate development, tourism development, transportation planning and analysis, urban design, and waste management.   A planning-related position includes consulting, design, development, nonprofit management and administration, policymaking, policy analysis, corporate location, health policy analysis, and public administration that in some way uses your planning skills or contributes to planning objectives but does not fall under the first definition above.

Program Satisfaction

In June 2014, to find out our graduates’ perceptions after graduation, we surveyed graduates of the five preceding year.  Please see our 2014 survey for full information on our methods, numbers of respondents, and actual results. Previous survey results are available here: 2013 survey.

Our survey shows that, of our students who graduated from 2008 through 2012, 90% were satisfied with their education and 10% dissatisfied.  Of our respondents, a large majority agreed that the program had provided them with important planning capabilities.  Specifically, 97% said they agreed that our graduates were prepared for collaborative practice and client/community participation, 97% agreed that the program had prepared them on questions of ethical practice, 95% agreed that the program taught them to analyze data qualitatively and quantitatively, and 90% agreed that the program prepared them for employment.  Overall, we believe that these data reflect well on the quality of our program.

Faculty Sponsored Research

Externally funded research refers to planning research that our faculty performs because of grants from outside foundations and government agencies.  The resulting research spans community development, planning for public health, environmental planning, transportation planning, and other fields.  Through such research, our faculty contributes to the advancement of knowledge for the planning profession and for the understanding of urban affairs.

Fiscal Year


2006 - 2007


2007 - 2008


2008 - 2009


2009 - 2010


2010 - 2011


2011 - 2012


2012 – 2013


2013 - 2014


Grand Total


Table 1: Sponsored Funding Performance

We are committed to maintaining a high volume of sponsored research by our faculty members, as befits a leading research university.  To measure our faculty productivity in such research, we collected data on actual sponsored research expenditures per year.  Since many projects involve multiple investigators from many disciplines, we were careful to identify the funding attributable to just our own faculty members.  Also, we did not include in this data funds committed to research but not yet spent.  The results (see table 1) show substantial increase in research expenditure in the 2013 – 2014 academic year: up to $885,000 as compared to previous years which averaged around $225,000.  We expect such exceptional accomplishment in research performance in the coming years.

Urban and Regional Planning