Combined Degree Programs

Various graduate-to-graduate and undergraduate-to-graduate (U2G) degree options are available allowing students to earn a graduate degree in planning and a second degree in less time than would be required to obtain the two degrees independently. This is because courses for one degree are considered as elective credit for the other degree program. Formalized combined degree options have been established in the following.

Graduate-to-graduate degree options

  • Law (J.D.)
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering (Sustainable Water Development) (M.S.)
  • Social Work (M.S.W.)
  • Occupational and Environmental Health (M.S.)
  • Higher Education and Student Affairs (M.A.)

Undergraduate-to-graduate (U2G) degree options

Open to those in any undergraduate major who meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Completion of 80 hours of undergraduate work
  • Transfer students need to have completed 30 s.h. at the University of Iowa
  • GPA of 3.25

Previously formalized U2G options are available for those in:

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering (B.S.E.)
  • Environmental Policy and Planning (B.S. or B.A.)

Information about all of the programs is available from the Urban and Regional Planning Admissions Coordinator.


While the requirements of each graduate-to-graduate and U2G degree option vary, all have several key features in common. In each case a student must:

  • Complete an approved area of concentration in Planning
    Work in the other academic unit does not, in and of itself, necessarily constitute a valid area of concentration (e.g., "law" is not a concentration, although an environmental law course may be part of an environmental concentration).
  • For graduate-to-graduate degrees, take at least 38 semester hours of planning courses that have been previously approved to count towards the degree, except for Law which requires 35 semester hours. Courses in other programs can sometimes be substituted for planning core courses, however this does not reduce the 38-hour requirement.

    For U2G degrees, take at least 50 semester hours of planning courses that have been previously approved to count towards the master’s degree.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Field Problems is required of students in combined degree programs.
  • Satisfy Planning's final examination requirement

Specific features of the formalized graduate-to-graduate and U2G degree programs are available at the links to the left. The student should verify the most recent degree requirements with the department of interest as courses and requirements in other departments are subject to change with little prior notification.

Graduate-to-graduate options with other disciplines

It is possible to receive a master's degree in Planning in conjunction with a graduate degree in another discipline, even when a formalized graduate-to-graduate degree program does not exist. Examples would be a graduate-to-graduate degree in Journalism or Public Health.

University policy requires that prior administrative approval be granted, and a minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate credit be completed to receive two master's degrees. However, courses taken to satisfy one unit's requirements also may be applied to meet the other unit's requirements. Some credits can be shared when one master’s degree requires, or both master’s degrees require, more than 30 semester hours of graduate credit. (No more than ¼ of the credits necessary for one degree may be composed of coursework taken for the other degree.) In all cases, combined degree programs require at least 60 semester hours of graduate credit and each unit's degree requirements must be met. See the Graduate College Manual, section X. G.


Separate applications for admission to Planning and to the other academic unit are required. When applying to each unit, please indicate on the Graduate College Application that you are applying for a combined degree program with Planning and the other unit.


As a member of a graduate-to-graduate degree program, students may pay the greater of the two programs' tuition costs. U2G students are assessed undergraduate level tuition and fees during their first year of the U2G program (typically students' 4th or senior year), and until the bachelor's degree is conferred. Students are encouraged to consult the Graduate College to determine the tuition amount.