Urban and Regional Planning Program Performance Indicators

The Planning Accreditation Board requires this information be posted for the University of Colorado Denver Master of Urban and Regional Planning program.

Student Achievement

A key element of the mission of the MURP program is to “teach our students the knowledge, skills and values they need to be confident, principled, and visionary planners, using Colorado as our classroom to engage students in real-world, experiential learning.”

In the semester before graduation, MURP students complete a Capstone project—a professional project for a real client. This project, conducted about a topic and for a client of the student’s own choosing, represents the culmination of our students’ academic careers and highlights their unique areas of interest and the skill set they gained through their self-directed elective curriculum.  Evaluation by the clients, and by the students themselves, demonstrates the degree to which we have successfully achieved our mission.

Client assessment of students’ professional skills and values:

Learning Outcome% Clients Who Rated Their Capstone Student as “Outstanding” or “Above Average”
Written Communication81%
Graphic Communication81%
Quantitative and Qualitative Methods92%
Plan Creation and Implementation85%
Planning Process Methods89%
Professional Ethics and Responsibility79%
Governance and Participation100%
Growth and Development89%
Sustainability and Environmental Quality100%


Student responses to the question: In what ways did completing your Capstone project allow you to pursue the aspects of planning about which you’re most passionate?

  • The capstone project allowed me to dig deep into my topic of interest and into its connection to planning. In my case, it allowed me to see, and better understand the connection between, big-picture planning and small-scale detail, and the relationship between planning, architecture and urban design.
  • In my graduate school career, I have been interested in environmental planning issues, water issues in the west, and rural planning. My Capstone allowed me to encompass all of these in a real-world planning project that made a difference. 
  • I was able to have a real-life, real-time community engagement experience for an existing organization.
  • I was able to work on an adaptive reuse project in a small rural town, which challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and educate myself on the ins and outs of the real estate development process, historic preservation, and building relationships with local stakeholders.
  • ​I am interested in social justice issues and this project allowed me to explore how land use policies and programs both produce and can help remedy environmental injustices. 
  • The capstone project was a great way for me to incorporate my background before I came into the program. I was able make incredible contacts in a small niche within the planning world and dive right into the type of planning that I would like to do.
  • My passions in planning are urban design and active transportation. My capstone project looked specifically at correlates to walking and lingering along some of Denver’s most important downtown streets. It was intriguing and interesting to not only learn about the most effective types of programming and design, but to see it in action. This capstone broadened my understanding of city space quality and the inherent complexity of trying to study it.  
  • I am most interested in the nexus where planning meets development. My project was to put together a feasibility analysis for a redevelopment project, so I was able to apply many of the tools I learned in various courses in the program to one project. 
  • I was able to work on a multimodal project that explored the interactions of various roadway users. Up until this point, I had mostly looked at individual modes in a bubble without looking at their relationship to the whole system.
  • The Capstone project was an opportunity for me to work with a commercial real estate development firm and experience the day-to-day workings of the firm.
  • My capstone really allowed me to explore both community and economic development and ways in which a city can help stimulate those things through the built environment and innovative policy solutions.
  • I’m passionate about working as a small-town planner. Given that my capstone project site was a town of 1,500 people, the project allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the intricacies and politics of small town government.
  • The Capstone project allowed me to make a contribution to the community I live in and helped me learn how to craft policies and guidelines that can protect a neighborhood from gentrification. 
  • I was able to incorporate GIS and modern technology because of the flexibility for choosing projects that relate to my interests.

2020 - 21 Tuition and Fees

  • In State Residents, per full-time academic year (27 credits)                         $ 14,846
  • Out of State Residents, per full-time academic year (27 credits)                  $ 36,281

We keep costs down.

Our flexible schedule and self-directed curriculum allow our students to work part-time in professional jobs or internships during the academic year. Additionally, non-resident students are eligible for residency after one year of living in Colorado (see our Colorado Residency page for more information.)

​We are a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education's Western Regional Graduate Program (WICHE-WRGP), which allows any student who is a resident of one of the 15 western member states to qualify for Colorado resident tuition for their entire time in the MURP program. For more information, see the official WICHE-WRGP webpage

Student Retention Rate

Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2019 and continued into fall 2020:   90%

Student Graduation Rate

Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2016:       91%

Number of Degrees Awarded

Number of degrees awarded for the 2019 - 2020 Academic Year: 40

AICP Certification

Percentage of master’s graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2015:    72%

Since 2015, 83% of all MURP graduates who have taken the exam have passed.

We have one of the highest AICP exam pass rates in the country.

Our graduates perform extremely well on the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) licensing exam. From 2004-14 (the most current data available), MURP program graduates:

  • Had an exam pass rate of 84%, which is 8% higher than the national average
  • Ranked third out of all 96 accredited programs in total number of alumni who have passed the exam

[Source: www.planning.org/certification/passrates​ (accessed February 1, 2021)]


Percentage of full-time graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2019:           98%

The MURP Program Strategic Plan 

In 2012, the MURP Program developed a new vision and Strategic Plan.  Please review the plan found here, but note that specific references to courses, programs, policies, centers, and other elements found in the Strategic Plan may no longer be current as their names or descriptions may have changed in our ongoing process of implementing the plan’s goals and objectives. The program is updating its strategic plan during the 2020-21 academic year.

Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) Learning Outcomes

Planners integrate knowledge, skills, and values to anticipate the future and improve the quality of decision-making affecting people and places. They understand the dynamics of cities, suburbs, regions, and the theory and practice of planning. They attend to the diversity of individual and community values. They develop and implement ethical plans, policies, and processes. The minimum curriculum criteria below reflect these educational goals. Programs are expected to be innovative and to experiment in developing curricular approaches that achieve the objectives of this standard.

The curriculum should demonstrate consistency and coherence in meeting the Program’s mission, goals, and objectives. While an accredited degree program must meet basic minimal performance criteria, PAB recognizes that programs may have different profiles with varying emphases. The Program being reviewed must demonstrate how its curricular content matches the profile emphasized in its overall mission. For example, a program emphasizing urban design would meet a different test than one emphasizing small town and rural planning.

The curriculum must include an instruction to prepare students to practice planning in communities with diverse populations and to develop skills necessary to create equitable and inclusive planning processes. Consistent with the Program’s mission and strategic plan, course content and co-curricular activities should seek to broaden understanding of historical and contemporary factors across the full range of practice settings in which program graduates work, including national, demographic, and political variation, and to promote awareness and respect for differing beliefs, values and expectations of populations served by the profession.

The Program shall provide a curriculum and offer instruction to best assure achievement of the knowledge, skills, and values that qualify graduates of accredited degree programs to enter professional planning practice. While programs may adopt such established and familiar learning activities as courses and internships, PAB is also receptive to program innovations that prove effective in meeting the criteria.

An accredited degree program must ensure that each graduate demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for competent professional planning in diverse occupational and institutional settings. The criteria below provide a framework for judging the scope and quality of minimum educational outcomes.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Values of the Profession

The Program shall offer a curriculum that teaches students the essential knowledge, skills, and values central to the planning profession. These required components will be taught in such a manner that it is possible to demonstrate that every graduate has studied them. Ordinarily, this means that they are included in courses required of all students, although other approaches are possible.