Program-Related Outcomes

Student Achievement

The MUP program's mission is to educate and train professional planners and researchers dedicated to becoming leaders in identifying community values, providing choices, and creating ethical solutions for a sustainable future. A student who graduates from Texas A&M with an MUP degree will be able to:

  • LEADERSHIP: Employ tools for attention, formation, strategic decision-making, team building, and organizational/community motivation.
  • INQUIRY SKILLS: Analyze local conditions to develop a valid fact basis.
  • PLANNING KNOWLEDGE: Identify, create, and employ theories, concepts, tools, and strategies that lead to a sustainable built, human, and natural environment.
  • PLANNING PROCESS: Employ a transparent, inclusive process, including consideration of issues related to diversity and social justice, to facilitate coordination among government agencies and private sector organizations.
  • PLAN ASSESSMENT: Evaluate the success of plans and programs.
  • COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Communicate and educate through written, visual, and oral channels to achieve these objectives.

How is that demonstrated?

Students demonstrate competence through the completion of a professional master’s project/paper, thesis, and portfolio that shows how each of the above learning outcomes are demonstrated.  These are evaluated by the student’s graduate committee using a rubric that rates the student’s level of achievement.  Students are evaluated along each outcome by their graduate committee, using a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is “work quality unacceptable” and 5 is “mastery demonstrated with excellence, commensurate with a mid-career or senior professional”.  We have set targets that at least 90% of our graduates should graduate with a score of 2.5 or better, while 50% should graduate with a score of 4.0 or better. The table below shows the actual percentages at each level:

Student Learning Outcomes:

Leadership Inquiry
Target: 90% score 2.5+ 100% 90% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Target: 50% score 4+ 72% 72% 64% 72% 72% 90%

Source: MUP Assessment Rubrics 2014-2015

Student Retention and Graduation Rates:

MUP Summary

Application Data 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
# Applications Received 67 70 85 71
# Students Enrolled 28 17 30 30
# Students Graduated 23 28 24 21

How do MUP graduates do on the professional certification exam?

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) provides a certification exam for planners.  While it is not required to practice planning, many professional planners find that it helps them advance professionally and earn a higher salary.  Not all urban planning graduates take the exam. Our graduates who choose to take the exam do quite well.  Of MUP students having graduated since 2005 who took the AICP exam within three years of graduation, 79% passed. Of the two 2012 graduates who have so far taken the exam, one passed and one did not, for a pass rate of 50%.

How does the cost of the MUP program compare to other schools?

The MUP program is very affordable compared to other schools that offer planning degrees.  The University makes is easy to estimate costs, providing a tuition estimator at  For a typical semester of 12 credit hours:

  • resident graduate students will pay $5,663.51 in tuition and required fees
  • non-resident graduate students will pay $10,437.35 in tuition and required fees 

This estimate does NOT include variable fees such as course-related educational enhancement, equipment access, lab, or field trip fees; housing, meal plans, or parking fees; property deposit fees; international student fees, orientation fees; or distance education differential tuition and fees.

Further, and importantly, any student who receives a competitive scholarship of $1,000 or more qualifies for IN-STATE TUITION rates.  This can save out-of-state or international students nearly $10,000 a year.

The MUP program typically is able to fund approximately one-third to one-half of its new students with either a departmental assistantship, which includes tuition remission and a monthly stipend; or a scholarship of $1,000 or more, which will qualify the student for in-state rates.

How do MUP graduates do in the job market?

Students graduating from the MUP program have had very good success in today’s job market. Most of our graduates take positions in city, county, regional (MPOs or COGs), or state government, while others enter the private sector with firms specializing in planning, architecture, engineering, and/or landscape architecture.  A few go into the non-profit sector as advocacy planners or policy analysts, while others go on to each a doctorate in planning or a related field.  Some of the more notable firms that recent graduates have joined include AECOM, Kimley Horn, Uber, The Center for Neighborhood Technology, Jacobs Engineering, and Calthorpe and Associates.   Our placement rates over the past two years are below:

2013 21/24 employed or graduate school 88%
2014 19/24 employed or graduate school 79%
2015 19/21 employed or graduate school 90%

Source: LAUP Alumni Tracking Database