Program Options

Students can pursue either option part-time or full-time.

Master of Urban Studies (M.Urb)

Obtaining this degree requires students to complete 32 units of URB courses, which usually means eight courses, including an independent research-based thesis. Students may substitute one or two graduate courses from other departments, with permission of the Urban Studies Program. Students must take three required courses (URB 670, 696, and 697) in sequence as preparation for researching, writing and defending an independent research project. Students have written projects on topics such as urban transportation, affordable housing, pedestrian street design, food security and urban agriculture, cultural policy, risk management, social inequality and collaborative planning. For summaries of M.Urb projects, see our Research Summaries page.

Graduate Diploma in Urban Studies (GDUS)

The diploma requires students to complete 24 units of URB courses, which usually means six courses. Students may substitute one or two graduate urban courses from other departments, with permission of the Urban Studies Program. There are no required courses and students do not complete a research project. Students enrolled in the diploma may later apply to transfer to the master's program.

Accreditation with the Canadian Institute of Planners

We train urbanists who are equipped with the knowledge, skills and networks to succeed in a range of careers, whether in the academic, private, non-profit or public sectors. Hence, our program has never sought accreditation by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), even though many of our graduates do work in planning roles that don't require certification, including in fields such as transportation, social policy, recreation or sustainability. Anyone who works as a non-certified planner for five years may be eligible for certification through CIP's prior learning assessment recognition (PLAR) program. Our graduates may also be eligible for pre-candidate status with the CIP's provincial affiliate, the Planning Institute of BC. Some of our graduates have become registered professional planners through this route.

Our incoming classes typically include some certified planners who have undergraduate degrees in planning, and who are seeking a master's degree for career advancement and intellectual fulfillment. If you do not already have an undergraduate degree in planning and are looking for the most direct path to becoming a municipal land use planner, there are more appropriate programs than ours.

Interested? Next steps

Learn more about our program by reviewing the information and links found on our Eligibility, Fees & Finances, Student Life and How to Apply pages. If after reviewing our online information you still have questions, please contact us at urban@sfu.ca.