Graduate Bulletin

Community and Regional Planning, M.S.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: July 1

Spring: November 1

Applications are reviewed as they are received up through the deadline.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members, planning professionals, and others in a position to evaluate the applicant's past work and/or ability to do graduate work.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No specific coursework is required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should include the following elements: your reason for pursuing a degree in Community and Regional Planning; your interest in Temple's program in particular; and your future career goals.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE/GMAT is required. Scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE should be a minimum of 500, or the combined score for the two sections should be at least 1000.  GMAT scores should be of an equivalent percentile.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 internet-based.

Transfer Credit:

The Community and Regional Planning Admissions Committee recommends the awarding of transfer credits on a case-by-case basis as applications are reviewed.  The student may not receive transfer credit for coursework taken as part of any other awarded graduate degree.  The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 27

Total Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 36

Required Courses:

C+R PLN 5524

C+R PLN 8013

C+R PLN 8016

C+R PLN 8513

C+R PLN 8889

C+R PLN 9885

C+R PLN 9995

Also, four C+R PLN or related electives chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor.

Internship: An internship is required. Students complete a supervised 180-hour internship (for each 3 s.h.) that emphasizes the acquisition and application of practical skills in planning. Internship placements are made at public agencies, non-profit institutions, and private firms. Each site has a designated supervisor and a Community and Regional Planning faculty and/or Ambler staff coordinator. Internships may require interim reports and must culminate in a written report regarding the experience.

Students may opt to take 3 s.h. of internship and 6 s.h. of project/thesis or 6 s.h. of internship and 3 s.h. of project/thesis.  Students with planning experience may petition to substitute a 3 s.h. C+R PLN elective course for the internship, but are then required to complete 6 s.h. of project/thesis.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Under the guidance and supervision of a faculty advisor and committee, students choose to do either a project or thesis. The master's project/thesis provides the terminal evidence of mastery of the field. The thesis, as opposed to the project, is more appropriate for students who plan to pursue a doctorate.  Students must complete a total of 9 s.h. in a combination of internship in planning (C+R PLN 9885) and project/thesis (C+R PLN 9995).


The master's project is a practice-based model, i.e., a case study of a planning activity or event. Students use one or more research designs in the analysis, present reports on the state of their project, and seek informed criticism and advice.

The student's Master's Committee is responsible for evaluating the project, particularly as regards the student's ability to express verbally her/his question, approach, primary findings, and implications. The Master's Committee votes to pass or fail the project. If the student must make revisions, those changes must be approved as arranged by the Committee.


The master's thesis is substantial in length and follows a knowledge-enhancement model, based on planning theory, methodology, and history. Students participate in a thesis colloquium addressing research design, issues, methods, and writing/presentation concerns. Students present reports on the state of their thesis and seek informed criticism and advice.

A student preparing to defend a thesis should confirm a time and date with the Master's Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary. After the time, date, and room are approved, the Department will post flyers announcing the defense.

The student's Master's Committee is responsible for evaluating the thesis and its defense. No thesis should go to defense unless it is ready for public scrutiny. The Committee evaluates the student's ability to express verbally her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. Its members vote to pass or fail the thesis after the conclusion of the public defense. If the student must make revisions, those changes must be approved as arranged by the Committee.

Program Contact Information:

Department Information:

Dept. of Community and Regional Planning
Ambler College
580 Meetinghouse Road
Ambler, PA 19002

Department Contacts:


Debra Beck

West Hall 200

Program Coordinator:

Deborah Howe, Ph.D.

West Hall 211


Graduate Chairperson:

Deborah Howe, Ph.D.

West Hall 211



Deborah Howe, Ph.D.

West Hall 211


About the Program

The Department of Community and Regional Planning offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree. The primary purpose of the program is to develop skilled practitioners for the dynamic and growing field of community and regional planning in the government, non-profit, and private sectors. Students develop an understanding of the physical and economic issues of planning; sensitivity to the social and environmental impact of planning decisions; and knowledge of governmental structures as they apply to planning. These skills place students on the front lines of efforts to create and maintain sustainable communities. The program builds on the traditions already established in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, which has a long history of involvement with land use issues, and the Ambler College Center for Sustainable Communities. The degree program serves as a national model for conducting applied planning research and developing highly skilled planning professionals.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:

Ambler, Harrisburg

Required and elective courses are offered in the evening at both campuses.  The program may be completed at either site.  Students may choose to take electives, when available, at other Temple campuses.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered after 4:30 p.m.  Students are also able to complete the degree program on a full-time or part-time (8 credit hours or less per semester) basis.

Department Information:

Dept. of Community and Regional Planning
Ambler College
580 Meetinghouse Road
Ambler, PA 19002

Interdisciplinary Study:

Planning is an interdisciplinary inquiry and application.  The curriculum of the program is interdisciplinary in nature.


The Department of Community and Regional Planning is affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Communities in the Ambler College. The Department is also a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) and the American Planning Association (APA).

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


The Community and Regional Planning program began the process seeking accreditation from the Planning Accreditation Board in Spring 2006.  As required by the Board, this can only occur after 25 students have graduated from the program.

Areas of Specialization:

Planners must understand how cities, towns, and regions are structured and how to create and evaluate plans that maintain and improve the quality of life in those communities. The M.S. in Community and Regional Planning addresses problems affecting large portions of the American population. In particular, the Philadelphia suburbs, including those near Ambler in Montgomery County, are experiencing the difficulties associated with population increases: the exponential growth of schools without an adequate tax base; the stress on groundwater and other aspects of the natural environment; the loss of open land to tract housing; the construction of shopping malls and the accompanying decline of small central towns; and the emphasis on the automobile at the expense of public transportation. Community and Regional Planning courses help students develop skills to address these issues by emphasizing the preparation of urban/suburban plans, including data collection; site analysis; and evaluation of location, market, transportation, and environmental factors.

Job Placement:

Graduates of the program possess the requisite theoretical and practical skills to address the physical, economic, and social issues of planning. Private, public, and non-profit employment opportunities in planning are strong for graduate degree holders based on current need and projected growth over the next decade.


The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the professional institute of the American Planning Association (APA). It provides recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners.  To become a certified planner, entitled to use the AICP designation, APA members must meet certain education and experiential requirements and pass a written examination. For details, visit

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students are restricted to taking 5000 or 8000-level Community and Regional Planning courses. A maximum of 9 s.h. can be taken at Temple prior to matriculation.

Financing Opportunities

Research Assistantships and other forms of assistance are available to full-time, matriculated graduate students through the Ambler College Center for Sustainable Communities. Available graduate student support varies each year. Research Assistants receive a stipend, for which service is required, and a tuition scholarship. Each student performs supervised activities for grant, contract, and research initiatives. Assigned activities are relevant to the student's background and interests and are determined through consultation between the student and the Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning. Applications for Research Assistantships must include a statement of previous work and/or research experience, areas of interest, and future goals, as well as a curriculum vitae. Request applications from the Director, Center for Sustainable Communities, Ambler College, 580 Meetinghouse Road, Ambler, PA 19002.

Updated 9.26.07