Clemson Graduate School

Clemson Graduate School

City & Regional Planning

General Information

Degrees Offered


The City and Regional Planning Program is offered by the School of Planning, Development, Preservation and Landscape Architecture, located in the College of Architecture, Arts & Humanities. This professional masters’ degree program was established in 1968 and has been fully accredited since 1973 with more than 500 graduates. As the only graduate planning program in South Carolina, the program plays a pivotal role in the development of the planning profession in the state and region. Graduate planning students come from a variety of undergraduate majors and professional backgrounds. The MCRP program typically has annual classes of approximately 15-20 students providing the opportunity for extensive faculty involvement in teaching, research, and public service. Students come from many states and several countries.

The MCRP program taps the diverse resources of other planning-related departments in the University such as architecture, landscape architecture, economics, political science, civil engineering, industrial management, sociology, environmental and transportation engineering, and construction science and management. Several studios and courses focus specifically on an interdisciplinary approach to planning and land development with students from several departments and colleges. 

The program emphasizes sustainable land development applying appropriate technology and recognizing the balance of physical, economic, financial, social, and policy dimensions of planning. While the curriculum covers theory and policy issues, the principal focus emphasizes the applied skills that students will need to enter the job market as professional planners and to evolve as leaders in the field. Classes use real-world situations for analysis and for the application of planning skills.

The primary mission of the City and Regional Planning Program is to serve the local, state, regional, national, and global environment by integrating theory and practice in dealing with challenges of community growth and change in an increasingly diverse society by engaging in research and service activities that address critical planning issues.

The program focuses on creating a sustainable built environment by applying policy, appropriate building practice, technology, innovation, and natural, physical, economic, and social dimensions of planning.

About the Program

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Cliff Ellis)

Application Requirements


As an applicant, you must meet the minimal conditional admission requirements established by the University’s Graduate School. The department does not have minimum requirements but has a goal of students achieving a GRE score of at least a 1050 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Meeting these requirements is not a guarantee of admission, as applicants are reviewed by an admissions committee. The department admits students with lower scores when they have demonstrated experience or exceptional performance or capacity for the planning profession. Successful international applicants most often have a TOEFL score of at least 600, complementing their scores on the GRE.

You may apply on the web at Your application should be received no later than five weeks prior to registration. Every required item in support of your application must be on file by that date. However, the University uses a rolling admission procedure that enables applications to be reviewed as soon as they are received, so early applications are encouraged. Priority for fall semester financial aid will be given to applicants accepted by March 1. Spring admission is possible, but highly discouraged.

Full application details are listed on the program web page at

Required Documents

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Cliff Ellis)

Financial Aid

To see the proposed Graduate Tuition Rates for this academic year, click here.

The School or Program offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit. These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must work a minimum of 10 hours a week as a teaching or research assistant or perform other tasks assigned by the School or Program.

As a first-year student, you will most likely work as a department assistant for a professor or in a planning-related entity for two days each week. The program requires a 10-week summer internship with a planning entity anywhere in the world. During your second year, you will likely work two days a week with a public, private or nonprofit entity. This will allow you to gain experience as well as receive significant financial aid. Most positions will require you to have transportation throughout the metro area (up to a 60-mile radius). Tuition reduction may be available as well.

Course of Study

Program of Study

No specific undergraduate discipline is required for admission to this professional program. Students come from a range of disciplines, such as architecture, political science, sociology, civil engineering, urban affairs, economics, geography, English, environmental science, psychology, landscape architecture, business and history.

The two-year program contains a core curriculum, a three-credit summer internship, elective courses, research and a terminal project or thesis. The core courses include planning and substantive theory, analytical methods, implementation techniques and applications. Elective courses will allow you to develop further expertise in a particular area. A summer internship between the first and second years requires 10 weeks of supervised professional employment. If approved, you may take additional course work in place of the internship. An oral examination is required to present and defend the results of your terminal project or thesis.

Current Program


Study space, computer workstations, studios and a lounge area are available to students in the program. Lee Hall houses the School of Design and Building collection in the Emery Gunnin Library, with more than 40,000 books, 10,000 bound journals, a rare book collection and 140,000 slides, video recordings and professional journals and periodicals. Five student computing labs include various software and hardware resources, including ESRI, ERDAS and Trimble GIS and GPS software. The Gunnin Library has a printing output facility with large-format printing and scanning services and a circulating equipment collection that includes digital still and digital video cameras, laptops, LCD projectors, planimeters and more.

You can also perform research at Clemson’s Restoration Institute in Charleston, SC. The institute brings together experts and researchers in design, planning, construction management, real estate, historic preservation, business, tourism management, health, education, materials science, engineering, environmental science, forestry, soils, hydrology, horticulture, wood technology, toxicology and other relevant areas to explore areas of inquiry such as the built environment, the natural environment and the socioeconomic and cultural environment.

You may also work with Clemson’s Center for Community Growth and Change. The center coordinates public service projects within the college from an interdisciplinary perspective and provides assistance to local communities. It also provides a mechanism to conduct research and serves as an applied research laboratory for Clemson students. The center has worked on state, regional and local planning projects such as river corridors, transportation modeling, alternative land use and environmental impacts related to transportation, regional planning and land use regulation procedures. A major focus of the center concerns the issue of urban sprawl, and it works with policymakers and the community to promote policies and best practices toward achieving high-quality urban development in concert with the conservation of environmental quality that promotes a strong economy and community livability.

The center’s primary mission is to encourage efficient and equitable management of growth and change in the natural and built environment. Furthermore, it emphasizes the cultural heritage of communities as a foundation for attaining a high quality of life.

Our Students

Students come from various undergraduate majors and professional backgrounds. Most have degrees in liberal arts, the social sciences, business, management or design. Students come from many states and several countries. The program has approximately 38 students. Thirty-nine percent are women, 97 percent attend on a full-time basis and three percent are international students. To maintain the personal scale of the program, entering classes are kept to fewer than 20 students per year.

The program has an excellent professional reputation, and its graduates are very competitive, especially in the Southeast. Graduates from 1995 through 2002 are located in 22 states, with 35 percent in South Carolina, 40 percent in other Southeastern states and 25 percent elsewhere. One quarter of the program’s graduates are employed by national and regional planning consulting firms. Alumni have responsible careers in the private, public and nonprofit sectors throughout the country, and five recent alumni are pursuing doctorates.

Program Coordinator

Additional Contact

Videos (1)

NewsRSS News Feed

English Language Studies

About ELS

Conditional language admission is offered to graduate candidates who have met all admission requirements except language proficiency. Students may meet language proficiency requirements through completion of ELS Level 112 Intensive Program.

Standardized Exam

The academic program reserves the right to require applicants admitted with conditional letters of admission (CLAs) to post adequate GMAT or GRE scores prior to matriculating into the program.