Joint Degree Programs

Various joint 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 joint degree options have been established in

  • Law (J.D.)
  • Social Work (M.S.W.)
  • Occupational and Environmental Health (M.S.)
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering (B.S.)
  • Environmental Policy and Planning (B.S. or B.A.)
  • Higher Education and Student Affairs (M.A.)

Information about all the above programs is available from our Admissions Coordinator.

While the requirements of each joint 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).
  • Take at least 38 hours of planning (URP-prefix) courses, except for Law which requires 35.
    Courses in other programs can sometimes be substituted for planning core courses, however this does not reduce the 38-hour requirement.
  • Satisfy Planning's final examination requirement

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

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 an official joint degree program does not exist. Examples would be a joint degree in Journalism, Public Health or joint M.B.A.

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, joint 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. It should be pointed out that


As a member of a joint degree program, students may pay the greater of the two programs' tuition costs. Students are encouraged to consult the Graduate College to determine the tuition amount.