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Sustainable Urban Planning Master of Professional Studies


As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, societies face new and complex challenges arising from intense economic pressure, increased inequality, and environmental degradation. Beyond a traditional role of guiding land use and development projects, contemporary urban planners are responsible for promoting more competitive, inclusive, and ecological cities. Moreover, they are increasingly responsible for addressing the dominant challenge of the 21st Century: anthropogenic climate change.

In our master’s degree in Sustainable Urban Planning, you will study cities through the lens of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. The program’s world-class faculty delivers state of the art courses, personalized mentoring, and firsthand insight on projects they have conducted in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. By working with them and your peers – inside of the classroom, and out – you’ll learn how to leverage knowledge of cities into forward-looking policy and action for advancing the goals of societies across the globe.


Sustainable urban planning


Sustainable urban planning






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Program at a Glance

two years

The 48-credit program can be completed in two years.

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We offer a cross-disciplinary curriculum in urban planning with an emphasis on sustainability and combatting climate change.


Where You'll Study

Where you'll study


graduate education center in Arlington, VA

You’ll take your classes on weekday evenings at the Graduate Education Center in Arlington, Virginia.


What You'll Study

New York City skyline



Our 48 credit master’s program consists of a core curriculum of ten courses and a capstone, plus your choice of five electives. In the program, you will study cities through the lens of economic, social, and environmental sustainability – thereby gaining a skill set for promoting more competitive, inclusive, and ecological cities. The program has a unique focus on anthropogenic climate change, which is addressed throughout the entire curriculum.

If you are interested in a graduate certificate in a related field, our Climate Change Management and Policy, Sustainable Landscapes or Sustainable Urban Planning certificate programs.


These classes are offered each fall semester:

  • PSUS 6201: Principles of Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning
  • PSUS 6202: Urban and Environmental Economics
  • PSUS 6203: Research Methods: Geospatial and Econometric Analysis
  • PSUS 6212: Sustainable Communities I: Housing and Design
  • PSUS 6230: Studio in Sustainable Urban Planning

These classes are offered each spring semester:

  • PSUS 6204: Legal Frameworks: Public Health, Safety, and Welfare
  • PSUS 6210: Transportation Planning in City Systems
  • PSUS 6211: Regional Development and Agricultural Economics
  • PSUS 6220: Planning Resilient and Low-Carbon Cities
  • PSUS 6221: The Scientific Basis of Climate Change

The capstone is offered every semester, and is conducted under the supervision of a faculty mentor:

  • PSUS 6233: Capstone


Choose 15 credits of electives from these courses. All courses are 3 credits. 


PSUS 6213: Advanced Research Methods: Individual Mentoring

PSUS 6214: Food and Cities

PSUS 6215: Urban Health Impact Assessment

PSUS 6216: Megacities

PSUS 6218: Real Estate Economics: Urban Growth and Affordability

PSUS 6222: Sustainable Building, Energy Demand, Efficiency, and Supply

PSUS 6223: Sustainable Communities II: Tools for Assessment and Transformation

PSUS 6224: Sustainable Energy for Cities and the Environment

PSUS 6225: Climate Change Economics

PSUS 6231: Practicum

PSUS 6235: Advanced Topics

PSUS 6236: International Studio



Admissions Information 

To apply to this program you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher

You can apply for admission for both the fall and spring semesters.



Fully completed applications submitted on or before the priority deadline will receive an application fee waiver. An application file is considered “complete” when academic transcripts, recommendations, test scores (if applicable), employment verification (if applicable), and the completed online application (including resume and statement of purpose) are received. Applications received after the priority deadline will continue to be processed, space permitting.


illustration of a leaf Fall Priority Deadline: March 1



illustration of a leaf Fall Final Deadline: May 1



illustration of a flower Spring Priority Deadline: August 1



illustration of a flower Spring Final Deadline: October 1



GW tuition and fees are comparable to the national average for private universities. These costs are set by the GW Board of Trustees and generally increase year to year, variable by program and location. Please use this information as an estimate based on current tuition rates and fee structures. Total tuition and fees will vary according to the courses taken and the timeframe in which you complete your coursework.

Financial Aid Opportunities



Master's Degree

48 credits

(Summer 2017-Spring 2018 Terms):


(48 credits @ $1,035/credit hour) 

Registration fees: $175 
(5 registration sessions @ $35 each -
assuming 5 semesters with
at least 9 credits/semester)
Tuition + fees


Other Costs to Consider:

Application fee: $80
Matriculation fee: (one time) $200
Books: Approximately $100-$150/course







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Information Sessions

We periodically offer online and in-person information sessions about the Sustainable Urban Planning Graduate Certificate. Contact the program representative to learn more about upcoming events.