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Urban planning department joins KU School of Public Affairs & Administration

Monday, March 27, 2017

LAWRENCE – The Department of Urban Planning will join the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas, effective July 1.

Urban planning is currently one of three departments in the School of Architecture, Design & Planning. The move to the public affairs & administration school reflects common interests and strengths in public policy research among the faculty of the two programs. The school is ranked as the top university program in city management and urban policy, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“I am excited to welcome urban planning to the College and our School of Public Affairs & Administration,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “Both programs will benefit from increased opportunities for collaboration on shared areas of interest.”

The move will also allow the School of Architecture, Design & Planning to center its focus on design.

“Over the 40 years of its history, urban planning has developed into a premier public policy research-oriented program, and that makes it an excellent addition to the School of Public Affairs & Administration,” said Mahesh Daas, dean of the architecture, design & planning school. “The move comes as a result of a two-year-long visioning and reorganization process in our school. We’re taking the opportunity to focus on our brand and to develop new design programs including a program in urban design.” 

Urban planning will join the public affairs & administration school as a program. One partnership already in place between the two is a joint degree in urban planning and public administration.

“The pairing of our programs places a remarkably powerful accent on the work we do to prepare our students for leadership at all levels, but especially local government where urban planning is critical,” said Reggie Robinson, director of the public affairs & administration school. “This combination is a natural that enables us to double-down on our signature local government emphasis. In addition, we look forward to seizing the exciting new opportunities this shift presents for us to partner on curriculum, degrees and research.”

Urban planning offers several options for completing its master’s degree program. The number of joint degree programs available echoes the program’s interdisciplinary emphasis. Students can choose to combine graduate degrees with other departments, including American studies, architecture, geography and law. Students choose a specialization in housing and development planning, sustainable land use planning or transportation planning.

“The urban planning program is thrilled to be joining the prestigious School of Public Affairs & Administration, where we already have strong connections. We are certain that this move will bring multiple benefits to us and to the broader university,” said Stacey White, chair of the Department of Urban Planning. “We look forward to continuing the relationships we have developed with architecture and design and contributing to the ongoing transdisciplinary work that is so important to good planning.”

KU granted its first master’s of urban planning degree in 1975. The program has been continuously accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board since 1983. A master’s degree from an accredited school allows students to take the American Institute of Certified Planners’ exam sooner than students in nonaccredited programs. The program’s curricular offerings focus solely on the master’s degree, which is required to begin a career in the field. 

Image: Urban planning class, KU Marketing Communications file photo.


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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