The MS Program: Bioregional Planning and Community Design
The M.S. degree in Bioregional Planning and Community Design draws on the unique program and faculty strengths and the existing outreach infrastructure of the University of Idaho. Employing an interdisciplinary approach to real-world sustainable planning and design challenges, the program includes several specializations including: land use planning; environmental planning; economic development planning; transportation planning; public land planning; and housing, social and community development planning.
View M.S. Degree Requirements Here
The mission of the Bioregional Planning and Community Design program is to prepare future public leaders, create and disseminate new knowledge, and assist communities and organizations in planning for sustainable development, sustainable efficient conservation planning and management, and sustainable human quality-of-life within and across bioregions. The program's faculty, staff, and students work with communities, through Learning and Practice Collaboratives (LPCs), to create community-based plans, programs and policies that sustain and enhance their culture, resource base, built environment and economic vitality.
Program graduates will fill an important niche in the Intermountain West and have skills that enable them to be effective planners in other parts of the world. The initial focus of the program will be on Idaho, but with the expectation that it will be expanded over time to include opportunities nationally and internationally.
The Bioregional Planning and Community Design program is distinguished from other planning programs around North America in two ways: (1) it represents a university-wide, interdisciplinary approach that fully integrates education and research with community engagement; and (2) it supports, promotes and advances bioregional thought and process.
All degrees and certificates for the program will be granted and counted as achievements by participating departments and colleges.
Many undergraduate degrees prepare students well for this graduate program. All entering students should have previously completed a statistics course and undergraduate course work in social sciences (economics, anthropology, sociology, etc.) and ecology or complete these in addition to the degree requirements. Students with significant pre-existing course work or professional planning practice may request credit for this prior work.
Credit Requirements and Program Focus
Forty-four (44) credits are required to complete the degree, including 20 credits in required courses, 12 credits from restricted electives, and 9 or more credits in an area of specialization (curriculum details) and electives. Students may choose to complete a professional project as part of the second studio course or replace this studio with a thesis. Thesis and restricted electives may also count toward a specialization in consultation with one's major professor.
Given the program focus on community outreach and applied skills, students take studios in their second and fourth semesters where skills are practiced in community settings. During the second year, students complete a Planning Theory and Ethics course that provides opportunity for synthesis and professional direction. A graduate student may elect up to 1/3 of their credits from 300 and 400-level courses in participating colleges and departments.