The University of Massachusetts, Amherst also offers a dual degree program that can be completed in 2 years including summers and gives aspiring professionals the opportunity to earn a Master of Regional Planning (MRP) and Master of Science in Sustainability Science (MS3).
The professions of planning and sustainability science are intertwined in numerous ways. Competitive positions in government and in the private and nonprofit sectors can best be filled by individuals with technical knowledge and skills of systems analysts, consultants and planners. For example, sustainability planners in local governments often aspire to be researchers/analysts within government agencies and organizations. Conversely, sustainability analysts, especially in rapidly growing enterprises or organizations, are better positioned for success with the skills to formulate and implement plans in a municipal or regional context.
This natural connection between the two masters programs is already reflected in the fact that there is a high level of crossover between MS3 students in the Urban Sustainability concentration taking courses in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning (LARP) as well as MRP students in the Environmental concentration taking courses in the Department of Environmental Conservation (ECo).
The MS3 core curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong analytical foundation, applicable to a range of sustainability issues. Core teachings are focused on ecological systems, urban and social systems, and policy and economics. There is an additional emphasis on specializations. The MRP core focuses on combining theoretical, historical, social, political, and technical dimensions of planning practice with strong emphasis on practice through studio and service to area communities. This two+ year dual degree program offers a rich educational experience in many areas of science, management and planning, including systems analysis and implementation, ecological science, policy and planning, information technology, infrastructural development, and sustainability tools and techniques.
Taken separately, the conventional MRP and MS3 degrees would require 48 credits and 33 credits respectively, Because of the natural synergies between the two programs, dual degree candidates are required to fulfill the coursework equivalent of 36 credits in the MRP program and 30 credits in the MS3 program, 66 total. Students will be required to complete the full core curricula of both programs. MS3 core and program elective courses will be considered as an equivalent substitute for the nine concentration credits required by the MRP program. Likewise, MRP core and elective planning courses will be accepted as fulfilling MS3 general concentration electives. Students will also fulfill the joint requirements for the MS3 practicum and MRP Thesis, Project, or 3-Course Option on a topic of relevance to both programs.
For more information about the Master's of Regional Planning program or the dual degree, please click the appropriate links.