Information for Applicants to the Harvard MUP

General Information about Admissions and the Program

To find out more about the Master in Urban Planning program go to the main MUP web page. For information how to apply look at the GSD admissions site.  To find specific deadlines for the MUP see the main admissions page. Some students may also be interested in other degrees such as the Master in Design Studies–and information is also available at the same places on the web site. Links to information about the program in general are available elsewhere on this site.

The program has also produced three videos on student experiences including an introduction to some MUP students, why they chose the MUP at the GSD, and their experiences with internships and work.

Specific Information about Urban Planning

To find out about planning courses at the GSD  go to the courses page.  Search for different semesters in the menu on the top. You will need to do a lot of scrolling. Click on the name of a course and there is mostly the link to the course description and from there you can access the course web site in the menu on the side. Click on that. Syllabi are typically “world viewable” so you will have access. As we have a department of urban planning and design–with two separate programs, planning and urban design–if you search for UPD courses you will get courses from both programs but look for ones with planning in the title. More specifics about course requirements are on the urban planning site. The urban planning concentration lists include courses from across Harvard.

Other good links include:

Contacting Current Students

The admissions office can connect you with current students via email at any time. We have a committee of students who have agreed to answer questions—in fact they want to get in touch (

Visiting the School

The Admissions Office pages offer advice about  visiting the school and their FAQ is also very helpful. The Admissions Office is well equipped to answer questions and coordinate meetings with faculty and current students. They have regular information sessions several times a week during the academic year and once per week during the summer with online sign up. If sessions are not listed yet please contact the admissions office. Information sessions involve an overview of the school, a meeting with a current student, and a meeting with one or two faculty members (by request).

The school also hosts open houses in the fall (for prospective applicants) and the spring (for admitted students).

Financial Aid

The GSD gives out lots of financial aid to MUPS: the latest information is at on the planning website (scroll down to the “Cost Effectiveness” section). As that page notes, for U.S. students there are two tiers of aid, Submitting information for Tier 2 funding will not adversely affect the amount granted through Tier 1–you cannot get less money and you may get quite a bit more.

In addition MUPs can take advantage of a number of other fellowships, work study allocations, and student assistant jobs both for semester-time and summer activities. In the past this has included multiple recipients of funds from the Presidential Scholars Program for students in public service areas.

International students are eligible for a number of Harvard-specific sources that often require a separate application. Please note that the MUP is one of 200 programs internationally where students from developing countries can study using a World Bank fellowship.

The GSD also provides some up-front funding including work study and offers of jobs on research projects–they come with your offer of admission. For research project jobs you are matched with faculty over the summer after you accept. However, there are many more opportunities available when you get here. These are listed elsewhere on this web site as well as on the GSD general site and Career Services:

Jobs, Internships, and Other Funding

Information about My Work

Harvard students who would like advice about planning programs in general, as well as the Harvard MUP, can sign up for my office hours. However, for Harvard students and others if you are mostly interested in what I’m currently doing, by far the best way to find out is to read my web sites. I update them regularly with information about my research. Key links include:

If I have a major grant that provides funding opportunities for students, such opportunities will be advertised. For other advice see my Planetizen blog at

Advice on Your Application

Finally, many students write to me asking if I could look at their statements and resumes. They would like me to advise them if Harvard is a good place for them to study. I am interested in having all qualified students apply! However, I do not as a policy pre-review materials from students leaving such review to the formal admissions process.

My Planetizen blog, however, includes numerous entries on the general graduate admissions process including: how to decide if planning is for you, whether to get work experience before you go to grad school, find the right program, understand the basic philosophies underlying graduate education in planning, use social media to find out about schools,  applywrite a statement of purposeobtain letters of reference, assess your undergraduate transcriptsvisit successfully, and decide which offer to take up including how to assess the real costs.