A New Master of Arts in Community Planning

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The University of Washington Tacoma’s Urban Studies program is pleased to announce a new Master of Arts in Community Planning.

At its basic level, Community Planning focuses on diverse methods of inquiry and analysis, combined with the active participation of end users, to shape planning strategies in a collaborative manner. Community planning is founded on the principle that "if you want to know how the shoe fits, ask the person who is wearing it, not the one who made it."

This MA program is built to enhance understanding of how communities and local governments work, and to prepare them to develop policy through public participation. Students will develop leadership skills to engage with diverse groups, public institutions, and civic infrastructure. Graduates will impact institutional, community, and government decision-making processes.


The Need

In the South Sound region, the State of Washington, and the nation there is a need for civic-minded urban professionals who combine understanding of governance context, place-based groups, and longstanding patterns of inequality with the skills to get things done.

The new MA in Community Planning responds to a growing demand for such a complex type of expertise by helping our students gain hands-on and theoretical skills to transform their passion for social change, equity, and justice into meaningful actions that build community and create long term change.

Graduates of the new program will be highly qualified to fill such a need.


The Program

The Master of Arts in Community Planning degree program builds upon our undergraduate degrees in Urban Studies and Sustainable Urban Development. 

Program courses and experiences will emphasize a commitment to developing professionals who think critically and creatively, work collaboratively in the interest of creating sustainable communities, and effectively communicate knowledge in a variety of ways to diverse audiences.

Specific student learning outcomes will include familiarity with and proficiency in policy analysis, project management, community engagement, planning communication for broad audiences and targeted communities, analysis and action in community-based processes, policy advocacy, inclusive planning, institutional change, and community organizing.

Our educational logic rests on the principles akin to collaborative and communicative planning approaches that fully capture and incorporate the voice of the community in a positive and transformative manner.


Master of Arts in Community Planning Graduates

The program will produce competent, collaborative professionals prepared to work with and empower community constituents.

Master’s in Community Planning degree holders will become professionals equipped to develop powerful planning and policy documents, action designs, and civic strategies, and to work across differences to achieve common goals, bringing about deeply positive, community-based change.The program’s community-focused approach to qualitative information will be combined with training in quantitative and visual skills, producing professionals proficient in analyzing community landscapes, defining problems and injustices, strategic community problem solving, authentic civic engagement, and scenario planning.

Graduates will have the knowledge and expertise to gather and analyze local voices to tell stories and build narratives that support effective advocacy and community building.

April 5, 2016