University General Course Catalog 2022-2023 
    Dec 01, 2023  

Land Use Planning Policy, M.S.

The Department of Geography offers a graduate program leading to the Masters of Science (M.S.) degree in Land Use Planning Policy, aimed at preparing students for planning research or professional practice.  The Land Use Planning Policy program curriculum is multi-disciplinary, taking full advantage of a wide-range of planning and planning-related courses offered in Geography and in over twenty other disciplines campus-wide. It offers emphases in three critical sub-fields of land use planning and stresses in all areas a holistic policy approach for addressing the planning challenges of the Twenty-First Century.

Contact Information

Thomas Albright, Associate Professor, Graduate Director Geography
(775) 784-6673

Department website:

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will exhibit progress in the LUP Program during their first year following enrollment.
  2. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and values central to the field of land use planning.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate specialized knowledge in one or two areas of planning.
  4. Students will be able to demonstrate advanced research skills.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the M.S. program, a Baccalaureate degree is required. Applications for acceptance into the Land Use Planning Policy M.S. program are sent to the Graduate School and must include:

  1. a graduate admissions application, including fees;
  2. an official copy of GRE scores; and
  3. official college transcript(s).

Applicants must also send to the department a statement of purpose and goals and three letters of recommendation. Applications received in full by February 1st are guaranteed consideration for the fall semester. Applicants for the M.S. degree in Land Use Planning Policy must satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate School. Matriculating students who have not taken an introductory course in statistics must make up this deficiency during the first semester in residence, although these credits will not count towards the degree.

I. Program Requirements

Candidates for the M.S. in Land Use Planning Policy must satisfy the general requirements of the Graduate School. Candidates must select a M.S. graduate committee consisting of at least three members of the graduate faculty, including the Advisor. At least two members represent the area of specialization; one member serves as the Graduate School Representative. Students choose between the thesis (Plan A; 31 credits) and non-thesis (Plan B; 42 credits) degree plans. No student may register for classes beyond 14 credits without filing an approved program of study. Each candidate for the M.S. in Land Use Planning Policy is required to make a formal prospectus presentation to their committee.

A. Core Courses (14 units)

These courses are required for both Plan A (Thesis) and Plan B (Non-Thesis).

B. Plan A (Thesis) (31 units)

Of these 31 units, a least 18 must be at the 700-level. This requirement is met by completing the 14-unit Core Courses requirement above and six GEOG 797 Thesis units, as described below.

  • Core Courses (14 units)
  • (1 to 6 units) (6 units required)
  • Elective Courses (11 units)

C. Plan B (Non-Thesis) (42 units)

  •  Core Courses (14 units)

1. Other Required Courses (7 units)

2. Select one of the following (3 units)

3. Emphasis (6 units)

Select one emphasis from the following:

a. Environmental Planning (6 units)

4. Electives (6 units)

These courses must be pre-approved by the student’s advisor. 

II. Total Units

Plan A (Thesis) 31 units
Plan B (Non-thesis) 42 units


Each graduate course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better for the credit to be acceptable toward the degree. Additionally, students in the program must maintain a 3.0 (B) or better cumulative grade point average in all graduate credits attempted at the University. Students have up to six (6) years to complete all requirements for their degree. Be advised that the six-year clock starts on the date the earliest course on the program of study was taken, even if that course was taken at another institution. If credits are from another institution, the “Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request” must be filed.