Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

The JD/M.Sc. in Community and Regional Planning dual degree program is designed to prepare students for a variety of professional roles in which knowledge of planning methodology and process, coupled with the analytic skills and professional expertise of lawyers, are essential. These may include private practitioners in law and planning; administrators and staff of public agencies and consulting firms in the fields of planning, housing, environmental protection; research analysts; staff members of governmental commissions and agencies; and executive assistants to elected and appointed officials.

The program draws on distinguished faculty at the Law School and Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning to teach in areas of environmental law, property, constitutional law, alternative dispute resolution and other topics relevant to urban and regional policy issues.

After spending the first year at the Law School, students will divide their course load between the two programs to complete the dual degree program requirements within eight semesters.

Program Structure

A student admitted to the dual degree program must begin in the Fall Semester at the Law School and complete the first-year course work during the first year of dual enrollment. This must be done before taking any courses relating to the dual degree program. Both degrees are awarded simultaneously upon completion of all requirements of the dual degree program. Therefore, students should arrange their course schedules so that both degree requirements are completed in the same semester.

A minimum of 116 credit hours must be completed to receive both degrees; 86 credit hours for the JD and at least 30 credit hours completed in Planning. Six of the 86 credit hours for the law degree shall be comprised of community and regional planning courses (beyond the basic 30 Planning credit hours).

In addition to the core course and elective requirements, students must complete a thesis in the final year of study that makes full use of the combined degree education. Ideally, this would culminate in a manuscript suitable for publication in a planning related law review. The thesis must be read and approved by a supervising professor and at least one reader. The supervising professor must be a member of the CRP Graduate Studies Committee and the second reader will be a member of the School of Law faculty. Except as set forth above, all degree requirements applicable to students of the Community and Regional Planning degree program apply to students in the dual degree program.

School of Law

The Law School’s first-year curriculum includes six one-term four-unit substantive law courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts. One of these six courses will include a writing component, which adds a unit of credit to the course. The rest of the first-year curriculum includes Legal Analysis and Communication (3 units) in the fall, Persuasive Writing and Advocacy (2 units) in the spring, and an optional elective course of 2-3 units in the spring term. The first year program in the law school usually totals 30 units of credit.

The upper-class curriculum includes required advanced courses listed on the Degree Requirements page.

While the JD degree normally requires 86 total units, six of the total credit hours required shall be completed in Community and Regional Planning.

Community and Regional Planning

Students must complete all core course requirements with the exception of CRP 381 (Planning Law) for a total of 21 core course credit hours. An additional 3 credit hours of Planning-related electives must be completed either within the graduate Planning curriculum or, if outside of the School of Architecture, with approval from the Dual Degree Program Coordinator and CRP Graduate Advisor. For more information, see the Community and Regional Planning website.

Example Course of Study

First Year:

Law offerings [30 hours, all required 1st year courses]

  • Civil Procedure, one term (4 or 5 hours*)
  • Constitutional Law I, one term (4 or 5 hours*)
  • Contracts, one term (4 or 5 hours*)
  • Criminal Law, one term (4 or 5 hours*)
  • Legal Analysis and Communication (3 hours)
  • Persuasive Writing and Advocacy (2 hours)
  • Property, one term (4 or 5 hours*)
  • Torts, one term (4 or 5 hours*)

*5 hour courses contain a writing component

Second Year:

Planning offerings [9 hours]

  • Planning History, Theory and Ethics, one term (3 hours)
  • Data Sources and Analysis, one term (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Methods I, one term (3 hours)

Law offerings [21 hours]

  • Constitutional Law II, one term (3 hours)
  • Professional Responsibility, one term (3 hours)
  • Electives, including an Experiential Learning course (15 hours)

Third Year:

Planning offerings [15 hours]

  • Quantitative Methods II, one term (3 hours)
  • Financing Public Services, one term (3 hours)
  • Planning Methods, one term (3 hours)
  • Urban and Regional Analysis, one term (3 hours)
  • Elective (3 hours)

Law offerings [15 hours]

  • Writing Seminar, one term (3 hours)
  • Electives (12 hours)

Fourth Year:

Planning offerings [12 hours]

  • Thesis, two terms (3 hours each term)
  • Electives (6 hours)

Law offerings [20 hours]

  • Electives (20 hours)

How to Apply

Students must apply separately to both programs separately and be accepted independently by both.

While applicants are encouraged to apply to both programs simultaneously, applicants may also apply for the other program during the student’s first year at whichever program they begin.


Law School

Associate Dean Eden Harrington

(512) 232-7068

Community and Regional Planning

Jake Wegmann, Associate Professor

Graduate Advisor for Community and Regional Planning