Student Employment, Internships, and Scholarships

The MURP program understands the importance of providing opportunities that not only deliver valuable planning-related experience and guidance, but also help students to pay for their graduate education. Below are several avenues, both paid and unpaid, in which CU Denver provides extended learning and employment for its students:

Student Employment

Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistants help professors prepare and manage course materials, grade student work, and lead discussion sessions. Teaching assistants typically work 10 hours per week. To be qualified as a teaching assistant, the student needs to have taken the course, mastered the material, and have skill and enthusiasm for training fellow students. Students who are interested in a teaching assistant position should express their interest directly to the course instructor or discuss opportunities with the Department Chair.

Research Assistants

Research assistants help professors with research, and the specific activities can include data collection and entry, reviewing literature, conducting analysis and fieldwork, statistical programming, writing and editing manuscripts, and presenting research findings. The appointments carry a workload from about five to twenty hours per week. Qualifications for research assistant positions include academic merit, interest and enthusiasm for doing research, and any specific skill sets required for the project. Students who are interested in a research assistant position should discuss opportunities with their advisor, a research faculty member, and/or the Department Chair. The availability and nature of research assistant positions depends on current faculty work and interests.

General/Departmental Assistants

General or departmental assistants help professors and university staff with a variety of tasks including event planning, communications and marketing, website maintenance and content creation, social media management, alumni and/or student outreach, graphic design, database management, or other duties as required by the specific position. The appointments carry a workload from about five to twenty hours per week and are flexible depending on the student's schedule. Qualifications for general or departmental assistant positions include academic merit, interest and enthusiasm for the position, past experience, and any specific skill sets required for the position. These positions are based on current department needs and are generally advertised to the student body as they become available. 

Current RA's

Andrea Vaughn

Andrea Vaughn

I am currently working with Dr. Carrie Makarewicz on researching issues surrounding housing in Denver, including the need and interest in a regional coalition to address homelessness within the DRCOG region as well as an ongoing project to develop a regional hub for accessory dwelling units (ADUs). This work has entailed researching homeless services within the seven counties, as well as conducting interviews with stakeholders. 

Alex Sterling

Alex Sterling

I am currently conducting an analysis of inclusive growth in the Denver metro region as part of the larger Imagine a Great Region project, a collaboration between the CU Denver City Center, the College of Architecture and Planning, and Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) This has involved detailed discovery and analysis of demographic data, synthesis of related data sets, comparisons with peer metros, visualization of key data points, and the summary of data into key observations.

Kellsie Forfar Jones

Kellsie Forfar-Jones

I'm working for Dr. Carrie Makarewicz on her research regarding Meow Wolf and their attempt to integrate themselves, as a fairly young B Corp, into the Sun Valley neighborhood. I do research on their community outreach, attend Community Advisory Committee meetings, and research broader topics like the current Denver Housing Authority redevelopment in Sun Valley.


Internships are an important way the MURP program helps students achieve hands-on, experiential learning. The difference between an internship and a part-time job is that an internship is specifically intended to be a learning experience. While getting academic credit for an internship is not required, it is highly recommended. Students earn three elective credits for enrolling in URPL 6805 – Planning Internship but, more importantly, the coursework will enable students to maximize the personal and professional development their internship provides.

The MURP faculty will announce internship opportunities as they are received from employers in the area through our MURP email listserv and through our online MURP Jobs Portal. Students are encouraged, however, not to rely solely on the MURP listserv or the Jobs Portal for planning internship leads, but to pursue internship opportunities on their own through networking with planning professionals and reaching out directly to planning-related organizations.


Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, academic achievement, financial need, or a combination of the three. Financial need is rarely the primary factor considered, but it is often used to make a decision among equally qualified finalists. The criteria of each scholarship depend on the values or goals of the group offering the scholarship, however, you must meet all criteria in order to be eligible.

Adrienne Balsover Sustainability Scholarship

This scholarship was created in 2013 to provide scholarships for students seeking a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning with the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. The $1000 award is given to incoming students with a demonstrated interest in sustainability and is intended to recruit students of diverse backgrounds to the Planning profession. This endowed scholarship fund was made possible by the gifts of numerous donors, including significant contributions by The Golden Rule Foundation.

Incoming MURP students may apply for this application using the online College of Architecture and Planning Departmental Award Application available online. 

MURP Diversity Scholarship

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning program is committed to fostering and supporting a diverse student body. We believe that through embracing shared and divergent perspectives we enrich our students’ classroom work and professional careers, and prepare students for leadership in our diverse society. Our Diversity Scholarships award up to $5,000 to qualified entering students and are one way we seek to engage excellent students from a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate planning education.

For more information about the MURP Diversity Scholarship and to download the application, please click here

Other University and College Scholarships

For more information regarding university and college scholarships, please visit the official College of Architecture and Planning Scholarships webpage, which provides links to the most recent CAP Scholarship Packet, Application Forms, Request for Recommendation Forms, and additional information about the scholarship application process. 

MURP Student Organization Scholarships

APA and WTS both provide scholarship opportunities for MURP students.

The APA Colorado Scholarship awards up to $1500 for  students in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program in the College of Architecture and Planning who are active members in the American Planning Association Colorado Student organization (APAS). Students can apply for this scholarship through their UCDAccess Portal. The deadline is typically in March of each year. 

WTS Colorado offers two scholarships for women pursuing graduate-level education in a transportation-related field, the Maggie Walsh Leadership Legacy Scholarship and the Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship, both of which award recipients with $5,000 to put towards their graduate studies. Applicants must be members of WTS Colorado. The WTS Colorado Students Chapter disseminates information about these scholarships their their email list and Facebook group. These scholarship applications are typically available in the fall, with winners being announced in January.  


The APAS chapter at CU Denver maintains a Student Mentorship Program. Due to the structure of the MURP program, interaction between new first-year students and those further along into the program can be limited. The purpose of the APAS Mentoring Program is to facilitate an informal means of communication among MURP students to help answer questions or just to talk about shared interests. Students are assigned a mentor based on interests, skills, and professional goals.

Job Shadowing

Both the APAS chapter at CU Denver and the WTS Colorado Student Chapter offer a Job Shadowing program for planning students in the CU Denver MURP program.

The APAS chapter at CU Denver partners with the APA Colorado chapter, to offer their Colorado Job Shadowing Program, which gives students the opportunity to shadow professionals in planning-related positions of interest to them. The program is simple: each semester, hosts volunteer to have students shadow them for a day and students apply to shadow with the planners or organizations that interest them most. Students then spend anywhere from one to three days with their planner learning about their day-to-day activities, active projects, and the ins and outs of planning. Information about the APAS/APA Colorado Job Shadowing Program is typically shared during APAS meetings, and via APAS's email listserv. 

The WTS Colorado Student Chapter offers a Job Shadowing program specifically geared for students interested in pursuing careers in the transportation field. WTS typically offers at least one Job Shadowing opportunity per semester. These events involve multiple students and ideally give these students exposure to a range of positions at the company. These events may range from a few hours to a full day and may include additional site visits if available. Information about upcoming WTS Job Shadowing Events are typically shared during WTS meetings, via WTS's listserv, or through their Facebook page