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– Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/supersite/academics/catalogs/graduate/current/urbanstudies.html

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Urban and Regional Studies Institute

106 Morris Hall
507-389-1714

 

The Urban and Regional Studies Institute offers multidisciplinary professional degree programs oriented toward examining and understanding the broad range of problems and opportunities associated with the nation's urban and regional areas. Since its beginning in 1966, the Institute has been training students who have chosen to become involved in the processes of solving problems in a variety of urban environments. As one of the first such graduate multidisciplinary urban studies degree program in the nation, the Institute has developed a generalist, problem solving philosophy for professionals in local government management and planning careers.

Students are offered flexibility in establishing their individual program. In addition to formal coursework, students are encouraged to undertake independent study, become involved in community service projects, participate in field studies and accept internships in local agencies. For complete details concerning the academic program, the graduate student should contact the Urban and Regional Studies Institute.

The Institute has received the Stephen B. Sweeney Award from the International City/County Management Association as the program that had made the most significant contribution to the training of men and women for local government leadership careers. There are master's degree programs of study available through the Institute, including the Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies and the Master of Arts in Urban Planning.

There are also two graduate certificates (Local Government Management and Urban Planning) offered which are designed to meet the basic standards of competency in the profession.

The fields of urban management and planning are rapidly expanding and require a professional education. Applicants who hold the master's degree receive a preference in hiring. The U.S. Department of Commerce has projected a continual increase in opportunities and higher salaries in the coming decade. On the job, managers and planners enjoy a great deal of professional mobility. They frequently provide leadership in complex assignments; they are in constant contact with the general public and with co-workers. They gain satisfaction in solving important problems.

Admission

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements of College of Graduate Studies and Research, admission to the program as a degree-seeking student requires: 1) Undergraduate course in research methods/statistics, or equivalent; 2) Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 in last two years of coursework; 3) Two recommendation letters assessing potential for successful graduate study; 4) Personal statement describing applicant's interests and experience. Admission to the program on a provisional basis may be approved for applicants with a GPA of at least 2.6 in the last two years of coursework and who demonstrate special circumstances and potential. Absence of specific undergraduate coursework in urban studies or statistics will result in the assigning of deficiency coursework which must be completed before graduation.

Financial Assistance

Applicants seeking university sources of financial assistance should apply to the Office of Financial Aid. See Sources of Financial Assistance at the front of the Bulletin. Special awards are also available to qualified Institute students for research and teaching assistantships, fellowships, and cooperative work/graduate study positions. These awards are administered by the Institute based upon criteria established by alumni donors, local/state/federal agency grants, and faculty and professional association gifts. Although applications to the Institute for financial assistance will be accepted anytime, most complete consideration will be afforded to those complete applications received before April 1 for consideration of awards for the following academic year. Financial assistance awards are normally made for one academic year. Students in good standing may apply for professional internship appointments during the second year of graduate study.

Urban and Regional Studies MA

(Thesis Plan - 33 credits)
(Alternate Paper Plan - 36 credits)

The Master of Arts is a multidisciplinary degree program oriented toward examining and understanding the broad range of problems and opportunities associated with the nation's urban and regional areas. Students in the MA degree program may prepare themselves for professional careers in local government, or use the MA degree as preparation for Ph.D. study. The program requirements are designed to provide flexibility while ensuring a multidisciplinary, problem-solving perspective.

Required Core (9 credits)

  • URBS 501 – Foundations in Urban Management and Planning (3)
  • URBS 502 – Urban Analysis (3)*
  • URBS 667 – Studio (capstone) (3)

* a previous course in statistics is expected

Graduate Focus (12 credits)

Students will develop a 12-credit concentration in consultation with the advisor.

Elective Concentration (12 credits)

Student chooses 12 elective credits from URSI and other departments, with consent of advisor.

Free Elective (3 credits)

The department recommends URBS 697.

 

Urban Planning MA

(Alternate Plan Paper Option Only - 36 credits)

The Master of Arts in Urban Planning is a 2 year professional program oriented towards a systematic, creative approach to analyzing and planning neighborhoods, small towns, cities, suburbs, metropolitan areas, regions, and states. While most planners work for government at the state and local level, planners work in the non-profit and private consulting areas as well.

Required Core (9 credits)

  • URBS 501 – Foundations in Urban Management & Planning (3)
  • URBS 502 – Urban Analysis*(3)
  • URBS 667 – Studio (capstone) (3)

* a previous course in statistics is expected

Graduate Focus (12 credits)

  • URBS 602Planning Process (3)
  • URBS 604 Zoning (3)
  • URBS 661 Long Range Planning (3)
  • URBS 662 Operational Planning (3)

Elective Concentration (12 credits)

Student chooses 12 elective credits from URSI and other departments, with consent of adviser.

Free Electives (3 credits)

The Department recommends URBS 697 Internship. GEO 673, GIS for Planners, is expected for students with no previous GIS training.

Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management (12 credits)

This is a graduate certificate program which provides the basic concepts, skills, and values for pursuing a career in local government management. The program is designed to meet the basic standards of professional competency specified by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The program is appropriate for students who wish to develop a local government management focus within a graduate degree program, or for students who have already earned their degrees and wish to prepare for a career shift.

  • URBS 512 – Public Information and Involvement (3)
  • URBS 603 – Organization Environment (3)
  • URBS 650 – Administrative Services (3)
  • URBS 651 – Urban Finance System (3)

Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning (12 credits)

This is a graduate certificate program which provides the basic concepts, skills, and values for pursuing a career in local government planning. The program is designed to meet the basic standards of professional competency specified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). The program is appropriate for students who wish to develop a local government planning focus within a graduate degree program, or for students who have already earned their degrees and wish to prepare for a career shift.

  • URBS 602 – Planning Process (3)
  • URBS 604 – Zoning & Legal Issues (3)
  • URBS 661 – Long Range & Strategic Planning (3)
  • URBS 662 – Operational Planning (3)

Course Descriptions

URBS 501 (3) Foundations in Urban Management & Planning

This course is a survey of the local community -- the forces which shape it, the significance of a democratic public, and the professional practice of local government service.

URBS 502 (3) Urban Analysis

This course is designed to develop the skills needded to gather , analyze, and present information for resolving applied problems in local government and community settings. Pre: a previous course in statistics

URBS 511 (3) Urban Policy & Strategic Analysis

Prepares students to analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, and utilize techniques of analysis.

URBS 512 (3) Public Information and Involvement

This course is designed for students preparing for a professinal career in local government or public service, focuses on media relations and building citizen involvement through public awareness projects.

URBS 513 (3) Urban Program Evaluation

Reviews processes and techniques related to evaluation of public programs.

URBS 515 (3) Urban Housing Policy

Public policy and programs and non-profit initiatives that address issues of housing supply, quality, and costs.

URBS 517 (3) Urban Law

An overview of local government law and local governing powers. In addition, public issues in the legal context will be examined from a management and planning perspective.

URBS 531 (3) Urban Design Principles

Basic working knowledge and vocabulary of urban design concepts and techniques in an applied problem-solving context.

URBS 533 (3) Urban Development

Theory and applications of principles of landscape architecture or urban design.

URBS 535 (3) Downtown Revitalization

Examines the problem of central business district deterioration and explores the changing patterns of economic and social mobility with primary focus upon the trends of downtown revitalization currently being employed by the public and private sectors.

URBS 537 (3) Urban Heritage Preservation

Preservation techniques, principles of structural evaluation, adaptive use potentials and options, economic consideration in preservation, and the role of legislation.

URBS 551 (3) Nonprofit Sector

Nature of the Third Sector, from a variety of perspectives, and implications for managing both internal and external relations of nonprofit organizations.

URBS 553 (3) Grants Administration

Raising resources for public and nonprofit organizations from needs assessment through obtaining funding to managing the grant after it is awarded.

URBS 555 (3) Regional & County Development

Regional and county planning content and procedures, including basic research, land use planning, and implementation of regulations.

URBS 557 (3) Economic Development

A survey course covering the concepts, processes, tools, and strategies of economic development in local communities. Emphasis is on the "why" and "how" of economic development.

URBS 561 (3) Environmental Planning

Examines and applies the fundamental concepts, techniques and mechanisms for environmental planning at the city, county, and sub-state regional levels.

URBS 571 (3) Urban Transportation

Examines transportation problems of, and solutions for, large and medium sized cities. Special emphasis on reducing traffic congestion, improving management of transit systems, and linking transportation and land-use planning.

URBS 580 (1-3) Colloquium

Presentations of research and major trends in urban professions. Prerequisite: permission of instructor

URBS 581 (1-3) Selected Topics:

Varying topics dealing with emerging trends and contemporary needs of students resulting from professional changes.

URBS 583 (1-6) Workshop

Varying topics dealing with emerging trends and contemporary needs of students resulting from professional changes.

URBS 585 (1-6) Community-Based Problem Solving

Problem solving in communities and direct involvement into specific areas of study of student interest.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

URBS 601 (3) Urban Management Process

Survey course which examines the professions and processes of urban management, including community leadership, organizing, and delivering community services.

URBS 602 (3) Planning Process

Survey of the history, concepts, values, and ethics of public-sector planning. Emphasis on practical and comprehensive approach to developing and implementing plans.

URBS 603 (3) Organization Environment

Changing nature of management of urban and human behavior in the municipal organization. Emphasis on the development of decision-making and communication skills.

URBS 604 (3) Zoning & Legal Issues

Zoning theory, concepts, and techniques, with emphasis on administration of zoning in a planning office.

URBS 615 (3) Urban Professional Seminar

Reading and research class with emphasis on student projects, analysis of contemporary urban problems, and major skills and concepts of urban professions.

Prerequisite: URBS 601 or 602 or permission of instructor

URBS 650 (3) Urban Administrative Services

Provides an overview of urban administrative services with an emphasis on urban finance systems and human resource management. Examines the economic and human resource environment for local government managers' decision-making.

URBS 651 (3) Urban Finance Systems

Course examines financial management utilizing accurate forecasting, fund accounting and fiscal reporting. Covers budget cycle including legal limitations on local taxation, expenditures, and debt financing.

URBS 653 (3) Urban Mgmt Seminar

Discussion, research, presentation, and critique of standard and emerging concepts of urban management.

URBS 661 (3) Long Range & Strategic Planning

Comprehensive planning process in urban areas, including basic studies, capital improvement programming, and exercises.

URBS 662 (3) Operational Planning

Current planning, including zoning, subdivision regulations, annexations, and special projects.

URBS 665 (3) Advanced Planning Seminar

Discussion, research, presentation, and critique of standard and emerging concepts of urban and regional planning.

Prerequisite: URBS 661 or 604

URBS 667 (3) Urban Studies Studio

An advanced learning experience working in small group settings on applied projects and problem solving. The team project produced in the studio meets graduate student's capstone project requirement.

Prerequisite: 18 graduate credits, or permission of instructor

URBS 689 (1-4) Individual Study

Individual learning experiences arranged with faculty on a learning contract basis.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

URBS 694 (1-2) Alternate Plan Paper

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

URBS 697 (1-6) Internship

Scheduled work assignments varying in length and content under the supervision of selected professional sponsors.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

URBS 699 (1-3) Thesis

The collection and dissemination of original research in compliance with accepted research standards.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor