Admissions Criteria

We welcome applications from men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds who have demonstrated potential for extraordinary professional achievement. The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is a highly regarded program in a leading public university. Therefore, admission to DURP and to the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is highly competitive.

DURP considers the following criteria when evaluating applicants for admission to the masters program.

Academic Qualifications

Students seeking a masters in urban planning degree typically come from a wide range of academic backgrounds. While common undergraduate majors include architecture, engineering, sociology, economics, political science, environmental sciences, public administration, urban planning, and public policy, many other fields also serve as excellent foundations for graduate study in planning. The Graduate College considers for admission only those applicants graduated from an accredited college or university who hold (or will be granted by the end of the current academic year) a baccalaureate degree (or its equivalent) comparable in content and in number of credit hours with that granted by the University of Illinois.

Prospective students must have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 computed from the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and any subsequent graduate study. Note that the average GPA of students granted admission to the masters program is higher than 3.0. On rare occasion, DURP may request an exception of the GPA minimum for a student with professional experience, outstanding recommendations, or other extraordinary circumstances.

Test Scores

All applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the tests of verbal, quantitative, and analytical ability. Those seeking admission to the law or business administration dual degree programs must also submit scores for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), respectively. These exams must have been taken within the past five years.

International applicants must meet additional minimum requirements based on their country of origin, including the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). English proficiency scores should qualify for full status admissions to the Graduate College, and the test date must be less than two years prior to the date of program entry.

Professional Experience

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is especially interested in applicants with professional experience, though that experience need not be in planning or related fields. Each fall's entering class is typically comprised of students from a wide range of professional backgrounds from both the private and public sectors, including those making mid-career shifts. Letters of recommendation from professional contacts are strongly encouraged.


DURP is committed to increasing diversity within its student body and to providing a positive environment for the academic and professional development of all students. We seek an applicant pool that represents a mix of racial and ethnic populations, a range of social and economic backgrounds, different philosophies and perspectives, and a variety of life experiences.

Statement of Purpose

DURP's admissions committee places particular emphasis on each applicant's statement of purpose. Applicants should use the statement to convey information about their backgrounds, personal experiences, and intellectual perspectives, in the context of articulating why a masters in urban planning from the University of Illinois will help them achieve their professional goals. The best statements communicate an applicant's career aspirations, not simply his or her technical qualifications.

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