More Navigation
Community and Regional Planning

Graduate Degrees

Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP)

The MCRP degree program is a two-year course of study requiring a minimum of 48 credit hours of course work, culminating in a thesis or professional project to be presented in public.  Degree requirements and program curriculum can be found here.  The MCRP degree is designed to allow students to pursue a concentration consistent with their professional objectives.  The completion of a concentration allows students to match academic interests with potential employment opportunities. Sample course plan is here.  A Graduate Review is required, typically at the end of the first year in the program.  Graduate Review Guidelines are here.  There are four MCRP concentrations offered:

Community Development

This concentration builds knowledge and skills in community development.  It focuses on the processes by which communities develop and ways planners can contribute to enhancing and building communities to promote fair and just distribution of resources.  Community development planners assess the impacts of community-based approaches and work to contribute to quality of life in those communities.  The emphasis in this concentration is the practice of community development.

The coursework encompasses the economic, political and social aspects of planning. Students are taught the planning concepts and skills necessary to assist and work with communities. The emphasis provides a planning approach for integrating key techniques that identify and understand the historical, present and future patterns of individual and organizational action as well as to anticipate and predict the consequences of actions on other communities.

Contact: Associate Professor Claudia Isaac, cisaac@unm.edu

Indigenous Planning

This concentration is built on Indigenous planning as an emerging paradigm that uses a culturally responsive and value-based approach to community development. Community development requires that leadership balance the immediacy of action (short term) with a comprehensive vision (long term). Over millennia, Indigenous socieites have evolved unique philosophies, languages and patterns of subsistence that can be described as worldviews. 

The concentration is built around the assumption that the knowledge of the past informs the present and, together, this builds a vision towards the future. This is known as the seven generations model and is the basis for action and community engagement. The coursework emphasizes an interdisciplinary design and planning approach that is inherent in placemaking.

Contact: Professor Ted Jojola, tjojola@unm.edu

Natural Resources & Environmental Planning

This concentration is designed for students who are interested in the relationships between human communities, settlements, and their ecological contexts. It will prepare students for practice, research and professional careers with nonprofit and international non-governmental organizations, with private sector firms in environmental and natural resource design, and with public planning agencies at the local, regional, state and federal government levels.

Students are trained to analyze community planning issues in terms of their implications for the natural systems that support them. Communities are formed for diverse reasons, but successful communities adapt to their physical surroundings. Consequently, the scale and character of ecological units affecting planning for a given location may vary. It is expected that students will gain theoretical knowledge of human interactions with natural systems, learn to apply analytical techniques to the assessment of actual problems, and acquire skills for their solution. Particular attention is placed on the sustainable uses of land and water, access to and control of natural resources, and their implications for growth management.

Contact: Professor William Fleming, fleming@unm.edu

Physical Planning & Design

This concentration is designed for students who are interested in the built landscape of cities and towns, including the design of neighborhoods, cities, regions, and public spaces; land use planning and growth management; the planning of transportation and other infrastructure; and development of housing and other projects. It will prepare students for professional careers in local government agencies, regional agencies, private sector consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations.

The coursework emphasizes an understanding of how the built landscape is shaped by a variety of processes, especially those involving local communities. Classes will offer skills of analyzing local codes and regulations, understanding urban design strategies and traditions, developing written planning documents and graphic materials, and working with a variety of constituencies to fulfill community goals related to physical planning and design. Integration of physical planning strategies with environmental and economic planning objectives will be emphasized.

Contact: Assistant Professor Moises Gonzales, mgonzo1@unm.edu


Dual Degree Programs

In addition to its regular degree, the MCRP program offers dual degrees in Latin American Studies, Public Administration, and Water Resources that allow students to expand their education in interdisciplinary ways. Students interested in a dual degree must apply for admission to each program.

MCRP and Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (MALAS)

The MALAS/MCRP degree is awarded jointly by the Latin American Studies and the Community & Regional Planning programs. The Latin American Studies program is housed at the Latin American and Iberian Institute, 801 Yale Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM (505.277.2961).

The dual degree is designed for students who are interested in the professional practice of planning in a Latin American context. Issues of particular importance to Latin American planners include land development, natural resources management, energy and water issues, economic development, migration, decentralization, regional integration, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots organizing.

Prerequisites to the program are competence in either Spanish or Portuguese (400 level or higher) and basic course work in economics (micro and/or macro) and statistics. Deficits may be made up after admission to the program.

Contact: Associate Professor Claudia Isaac, cisaac@unm.edu

Please note that applications are only accepted in the Fall.

MCRP and Master of Public Administration (MPA)

This dual degree addresses the needs of students who desire public, private or non-profit careers in leadership positions requiring professional skill in community and regional planning and public administration. The program enables students to develop key knowledge and experience necessary to assess public needs, determine public goals and objectives, develop community-based strategies, and manage and resolve public disputes. Students admitted to the dual degree typically aim to become administrators and managers in public or private planning projects or programs working with local citizens, special districts, and local, state and federal public agencies. Graduates also work in a variety of consulting situations with community-based profit and non-profit clients.

Contact: Professor Ric Richardson, jrich@unm.edu

MCRP and Master of Water Resources (MWR)

The MWR degree is an interdisciplinary professional degree designed to prepare students for careers in water resources. While all students take a core curriculum that includes a mix of technical and social sciences classes, they ultimately must select a hydroscience track or a policy and management track.

A dual degree between the Water Resources Program (WRP) and CRP will prepare students to make important contributions in both water resources and planning through a familiarity with the scientific discourse of water resources and the language and methodologies from community-based planning. Diverse groups are brought together to collaborate in the mediation of water disputes, especially in the Southwest where demands on limited water resources are increasing exponentially.

Contact: Professor William Fleming, fleming@unm.edu


Graduate Minor

Graduate students interested in a minor course of study in CRP must apply to the program.  Minor application forms are available online or in the CRP office, George Pearl Hall Room 119.

Students interested in a Graduate Minor in CRP must complete 12 hours of coursework:

  • Two of the following 3 credit courses: CRP 531: Foundations of Community Development, CRP 532: Foundations of Natural Resources, CRP 533: Foundations of Physical Planning

  • A CRP methods course in community development, natural resources or physical planning chosen in consultation with faculty advisor. (3 credits)

  • An additional emphasis elective in community development, natural resources or physical planning selected in consultation with faculty advisor. (3 credits)