MUP - International Development Planning Specialization

When “the greater good” has global proportions, how do you balance the needs and values of all the people involved? We’ll help you answer that. Whether you’re interested in planning for the multinational cities of tomorrow or the developing economies of today, we’ll prepare you to juggle the complexities of work with and across governments, NGOs, and international development agencies—and anything else the world ends up throwing your way.


Below is an overview of the required coursework. For detailed information, view the program checksheet

degree core REQUIRements

Students must complete the following courses:

CORE-GP.1011, Statistical Methods
CORE-GP.1018, Microeconomics
CORE-GP.1020, Management and Leadership
CORE-GP.1021, Financial Management
URPL-GP.1603, Urban Planning: Methods and Practice
URPL-GP.2660, History and Theory of Planning

specialization requirements

Students must complete the following courses:

PADM-GP.2201, Institutions, Governance, and International Development
URPL-GP.2608, Urban Economics
URPL-GP.2665, Decentralized Development Planning and Policy Reform in Developing Countries
URPL-GP.4665, Decentralized Development Planning and Policy Reform in Developing Countries


Focus Areas

Focus Areas are optional groupings of courses to help you choose your electives. You can go deeper in your degree program and develop more advanced skills by choosing electives within the urban planning focus areas. To pursue depth in a focus area we suggest completing 9 credits. To pursue breadth, you may also choose electives across focus areas. 

Environmental Planning

Whether it is air pollution, deforestation or climate change, as urban regions grow, they continue to have dramatic effects on the global environment. The world's cities will also be dramatically impacted by the very changes that they induce, and these effects will be most felt by already vulnerable populations. It is imperative to the survival of humans society on earth that we understand how to plan cities and regions with the natural environment in mind. What can you do? This focus area will prepare you to make meaningful contributions to the world's most pressing environmental challenges through urban planning and policy.

URPL-GP.2625, Environmental Infrastructure is a key course in this area (recommended to build expertise). 

URPL-GP.2415, Public Policy and Planning in New York
PADM-GP.2472, Climate Economics
URPL-GP.2624, Environmental Planning: Communities, Fairness, and Beyond
URPL-GP.2625, Environmental Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities
URPL-GP.2645, Planning for Emergencies and Disasters
URPL-GP.2666, Water Sourcing and Climate Change
URPL-GP.2680, Urban Design

Global Perspectives

The majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas though rapidly increasing rates of urbanization are most expected in countries and regions of the world least able to prepare for—much less manage—this growth in the face of climate change, changing geopolitical dynamics, and limited resources. This focus area includes courses that cover the institutional, political and economic challenges of planning in least-developed countries and also topics such as international aid effectiveness, local government finance, water management, project appraisal, and more. 

PADM-GP.2214, Constructing National Development Strategies and PADM-GP.2245, Financing Local Government in Developing Countries are key courses in this area (recommended to build expertise). 

PADM-GP.2165, Policy Implementation: How Plans, Policies and Projects are Put into Action in the Government
PADM-GP.2202, Politics of International Development
PADM-GP.2203, Economics of International Development
PADM-GP.2211, Program Development and Management for International Organizations
PADM-GP.2213, Immigration Politics and Policy -- Past and Present
PADM-GP.2214, Constructing National Development Strategies
PADM-GP.2245, Financing Local Government in Developing Countries
URPL-GP.2645, Planning for Emergencies and Disasters
URPL-GP.2652, Urban Infrastructure Project Planning
URPL-GP.2666, Water Sourcing and Climate Change

Housing & Economic Development

Learn to plan and build thriving, socially- and economically-diverse communities. The courses in this focus area cover the key elements of a healthy community ecosystem: from the economic theories behind real estate markets to the social theories underlying the importance of community organizations.  The focus area also builds practical skills, including how to analyze current planning and policy issues and create new ones.

PADM-GP.2416, Segregation and Public Policy; URPL-GP.4636/38, Housing Policy I and II; URPL-GP.2639, Real Estate Finance; and URPL-GP. 2452, Public-Private Partnerships are key courses in this area (recommended to build expertise). 

PADM-GP.2106, Community Organizing
PADM-GP.2184, Community Based Participatory Action Research
URPL-GP.2415, Public Policy and Planning in New York
PADM-GP.2416, Racial Inequality in America: What Do We Do Now?
PADM-GP.2445, Poverty, Inequality, and Policy
URPL-GP.2452, Public-Private Partnerships, Public Spaces, Politics, & the Press
URPL-GP.2620, Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in American Cities
URPL-GP.2635, Community Equity and Wealth Building
URPL-GP.2639, Real Estate Finance
URPL-GP.2670, Land Use, Housing and Community Development in New York City Seminar
URPL-GP.2680, Urban Design
URPL-GP.4622, Wealth and Inequality
URPL-GP.4632, Planning Healthy Neighborhoods
URPL-GP.4634, Equitable Community Engagement
URPL-GP.4636, Housing Policy I
URPL-GP.4638, Housing Policy II

Transportation & Infrastructure

As the first point of contact in almost every citizen’s journey to an opportunity—be it healthcare, employment, or education—transportation sits at the heart of all major city planning decisions. This focus area emphasizes not only mobility—how quickly and efficiently transportation systems (streets, expressways, subways, buses, bike lanes, parking, ride-hailing) could move people or goods around, but also accessibility—namely the spatial distribution of all opportunities available. It will prepare you to be a new generation of transportation planners—technically savvy, policy sensitive, and socially responsible. 

URPL-GP.2631, Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form, and URPL-GP.2641, Urban Transportation Planning are key courses in this area (recommended to build expertise). 

PADM-GP.2144, Debt Financing and Management for Public Organizations
PADM-GP.2149, Cost-Benefit Analysis
URPL-GP.2415, Public Policy and Planning in New York
URPL-GP.2631, Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form
URPL-GP.2641, Urban Transportation Planning
URPL-GP.2652, Urban Infrastructure Project Planning
URPL-GP.2680, Urban Design
URPL-GP.4666, Topics in Urban Studies: City Lab - Converting Brown Office Buildings into Green Homes

Urban Analytics

Cities are becoming smarter: they’re using data to optimize services, infrastructure operation, and urban planning. Government agencies, nonprofits, consulting firms, and startups all recognize the importance of leveraging data to create effective public policy and urban plans but grapple with how to analyze large, complex datasets and apply the findings in urban planning environments. This focus area includes courses to help you understand data-driven approaches to tackle today’s most pressing urban challenges. 

PADM-GP.2505, Advanced Data Analytics and Evidence Building; URPL-GP.2618, GIS and Analysis; URPL-GP.4650, Advanced GIS: Interactive Web Mapping are key courses in this area (recommended to build expertise). 

PADM-GP.2505, Advanced Data Analytics and Evidence Building
URPL-GP.2618, Geographic Information Systems
PADM-GP.2902, Multiple Regression and Introduction to Econometrics
PADM-GP.4119, Data Visualization and Storytelling
PADM-GP.4147, Large Scale Data Analysis with Machine Learning I
PADM-GP.4148, Large Scale Data Analysis with Machine Learning II
PADM-GP.4504, Introduction to Database Design, Management, and Security
PADM-GP.4505, R Coding for Public Policy
PADM-GP.4506, Python Coding for Public Policy
URPL-GP.4650, Advanced GIS: Interactive Web Mapping and Spatial Data Visualization

School-wide Focus Areas

In addition to the courses in the urban planning-related elective focus areas above, to gain a breadth of knowledge and skills you may also wish to choose electives from across course offerings, including from the school-wide focus areas. Relevant school-wide focus areas for you to consider as a Urban Planning student include, Communication SkillsInequality, Race, and Poverty; Social Justice and DemocracyProgram Evaluation; and more


The Capstone Program, a year-long consulting or research project, puts you out in the world resolving a problem or conducting an analysis for a client organization.

Students must complete the following courses:

CAP-GP.3226 & 3227 Capstone: Advanced Projects in International Development Policy and Management I & II


CAP-GP 3148 & 3149 Capstone: Advanced Research Projects in Quantitative Analysis I & II