Cheapest Online Masters in Urban Planning

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: December 14, 2023, Reading time: 8 minutes

Find your perfect college degree

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Overwhelmed by the educational expenses of pursuing your degree in urban planning? I felt the same after my graduation two years back. High tuition fees and lack of online learning formats were my biggest challenges. 

I researched through several universities and shortlisted the cheapest online master’s in urban planning. If you’re struggling with that, here are my findings for you.

Cheapest Online Masters in Urban Planning

Finding an affordable online master’s in urban and regional planning can be overwhelming, especially when seeking quality education with online learning. In the next section, I’ll share the 10 best and most cost-effective online programs in urban studies and affairs. 

These programs, selected for their balance of affordability and academic excellence, offer diverse specializations and flexible learning options. Whether you’re a working professional or a recent graduate, these programs cater to various needs and aspirations in the urban planning field.

Alabama A&M University: Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Alabama A&M University offers a program that stands out for its comprehensive curriculum and focus on real-world applications. It is designed to equip students with the skills to address contemporary urban challenges. 

It emphasizes environmental planning, housing, and community development and prepares graduates for diverse urban and regional planning roles. The course structure blends theoretical knowledge with practical skills. 

An image of a person holding a tablet viewing a map

Students engage in projects that mirror real-life scenarios, ensuring they graduate with experience directly applicable to their careers. The program’s faculty comprises experienced professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge and industry insights, enriching the learning experience.

Florida Atlantic University: Master of Urban & Regional Planning

Florida Atlantic University offers a Master of Urban and Regional Planning program that stands out for its accelerated track for undergraduate students. This program is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of urban and regional planning, focusing on sustainable development and community engagement.

This program prepares students to address contemporary urban challenges effectively. The minimum GPA required for the particular MURP program is 3.25. Besides, the student must be a BAch, BURP, or BUD undergraduate. 

California State University, Northridge: Master of Urban Planning

California State University, Northridge, offers a Master of Urban Planning program tailored to meet the evolving needs of modern cities. This program is particularly notable for its focus on California’s unique planning challenges and opportunities. It gives students a robust understanding of urban development, policy analysis, and community planning.

An image of a library with books in the shelves with tables and chairs

The curriculum ensures that graduates are well-prepared to contribute to urban development effectively. The program faculty are active professionals in the concerned field. Besides, classes are scheduled on Saturdays and Evenings for students’ aid. 

Ball State University: Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Ball State University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program is recognized for its diverse specializations, including Construction, Housing, and Public Policy. This program offers a comprehensive urban and regional planning education, blending theoretical knowledge with practical skills. It prepares students to address various metropolitan and regional planning challenges.

The program’s duration is two years. However, there is also an accelerated track for students who graduated from a PAB-accredited bachelor’s degree program. 

University of Colorado Denver: Master of Urban and Regional Planning

The University of Colorado Denver’s program is recognized for its urban and regional planning curriculum. The program is known for its high employment rate post-graduation, which is a testament to the quality and relevance of its curriculum. It covers various topics, from environmental planning to urban design, ensuring a comprehensive education.

A group of people laughing while looking on laptops near some books

The program is also known for its highest employment rate. Thanks to its ideal curriculum, fresh graduates are expected to have a 98% employment rate. It is one of the most affordable online master’s degrees in urban and regional planning for residents. 

San Jose State University: Master of Urban Planning

San Jose State University’s Master of Urban Planning program is uniquely positioned in Silicon Valley, offering students a front-row seat to some of the most innovative urban development projects. 

The program focuses on preparing students to address the challenges of urbanization in high-tech environments. It covers various topics, from environmental planning to urban design, reflecting the diverse needs of modern cities. 

Unity College: Master of Professional Science in Urban Ecology & Sustainable Planning

Unity College’s Master of Professional Science in Urban Ecology & Sustainable Planning is an innovative program that combines the principles of urban planning with the study of ecology. 

This unique program is designed for students passionate about creating sustainable, resilient urban environments. It emphasizes the importance of ecological principles in urban planning and development.

Kansas State University: Master of Regional and Community Planning

Kansas State University offers a Master of Regional and Community Planning program that is recognized for its hands-on research and community engagement. The program prepares students to become effective planners firmly committed to sustainable and inclusive communities. 

San Diego State University: Master of City Planning

San Diego State University’s Master of City Planning program is distinguished by its comprehensive approach to city planning education. The program emphasizes developing specialized skills and understanding the international context of urban planning. It prepares students to address complex urban issues in a globalized world.

A group of newly graduates flipping their cap in the air

The program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum, including opportunities for internships and fieldwork. This hands-on approach helps students gain practical skills and knowledge immediately applicable professionally. The faculty consists of experienced practitioners and academics who provide students with a broad perspective on best online Master’s city planning.

Arizona State University: Master of Urban and Environmental Planning

Arizona State University’s Master of Urban and Environmental Planning program is renowned for its cheapest online master, with an acceptance rate of 88.37%. 

It offers a diverse and comprehensive curriculum, covering aspects from environmental planning to urban design. Students must also choose to submit a thesis topic or applied project before graduation. Students at ASU benefit from a learning environment that encourages collaboration and creativity. 

The program is structured to provide a deep understanding of urban environments’ complexities while focusing on sustainable solutions. 

Why Should You Choose Urban Planning as a Career?

Urban planning is more than just designing spaces. Instead, it creates thriving communities. In today’s world, where urban areas house over 55% of the population, a career in urban planning can be a lucrative option. Planners shape the future of cities, addressing critical issues like sustainability, housing, and transportation. 

An image showing a classroom with tables and chair, with a table in front and a green board

This field offers the unique opportunity to directly impact the quality of life for millions. My urban and regional planning journey began in a small community grappling with rapid urbanization. Witnessing firsthand the transformation of green spaces into concrete jungles, I realized the power of thoughtful planning. 

It’s not just about building; it’s about envisioning and crafting spaces that respect nature and human needs. Therefore, it’s safe to say that a career in urban planning is a commitment to shaping sustainable, livable cities for future generations.

Is GRE Mandatory For an Online Master’s in Urban Planning?

No, the GRE requirement is dropped by most universities for a master’s in urban studies and affairs.  

Is a Master’s in Urban Planning Worth It?

Yes, a master’s in urban planning is a lucrative career option. According to the BLS, the job growth of urban and regional planners is expected to increase by 11% from 2022 to 2032. This means there are high chances of employment, which you can leverage to ensure sustainable living for everyone.  

Is it Cheaper to Get a Master’s Online in Urban Planning?

Online master programs in urban and regional planning are usually cheaper than on-campus ones. This is because the former doesn’t require you to relocate. In addition, you can pursue your online learning at your own pace while fulfilling your other professional commitments. 

Cheapest Online Masters in Urban Planning - fact


These enlisted programs offer a blend of affordability, quality, and flexibility, catering to the diverse needs of aspiring urban planners. With options ranging from environmental planning to urban design, these online master’s programs open doors to impactful and fulfilling urban and regional planning careers.

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.