Program details

The Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) degree prepares students with the education and practical skills to be leaders in the practice of planning. The program concentrates on land use and transportation, community design and development, and rural and environmental planning. Students may design their own area of concentration with the assistance of their major professor.


Degree requirements include completion of a two-year, 48-credit program, including a required core (21 credits), electives (21-23 credits) and one of the following: capstone studio (4 credits), professional report (4 credits), or thesis (6 credits).

We are pleased to offer the unique opportunity for you to pursue a double degree between our MCRP and programs within and outside the College of Design. Earn the MCRP and a second degree simultaneously while maintaining the high standards of both programs. In many cases, the time to degree completion is lengthened only by one or two semesters.

The MCRP degree program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), which accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning.

PAB standards are developed with input from the stakeholders in the planning community and sponsoring organizations: the American Planning Association (APA); APA’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP); and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).

This degree program has been officially designated as STEM degree program, which refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM major designation is determined by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and the Iowa Board of Regents.

With this designation, international students are eligible to extend their F-1 visas for up to three years after graduation to work in the United States.

Recent student work

Application requirements

Anyone applying for admission to the Master of Community and Regional Planning program must complete the Iowa State University Graduate College online application. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide:

  • Official academic transcripts indicating a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and a minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals from your educational or professional background who can most directly speak about your ability to complete graduate level course work and teaching duties
    • You will be asked within the application to provide the names and email addresses for your three references; when you submit the application, the three individuals will receive an email notification from ISU Admissions with a link to the recommendation form
  • English Proficiency Exam (international applicants only)
  • Financial statement (international applicants only)

Consideration date

The priority application submission date is February 1, and applications received after the deadline will be reviewed only as program resources permit.

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