Urban Planning & Environmental Policy



The mission of our program is to train policy-oriented planners and environmental policy analysts for leadership positions in planning and environmental policy-related organizations, with special emphasis on issues of significance to the communities and regions of the Southwest. The goal of the program is to equip future professionals with analytical and policy formulation skills that will enable them to address with vision and foresight, the current and future environmental problems caused by our impact on the environment. Students will be prepared to be professional planners, environmental policy and community development specialists prepared to help solve the pressing urban and environmental problems of our city, the region, the nation, and the world.Our MUPEP program is the only accredited planning program in the Greater Houston region and the fourth accredited planning program in the State of Texas. It was first accredited in 2009. Recently it was awarded a seven year re-accreditation to December 31, 2018 (the longest period allowable) by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB).

The objectives of the Department of Urban Planning & Environmental Policy are:

  • Train students for professional careers in planning and equip them to function in generalist and specialist roles
  • Provide students with an understanding of the history and theory of cities and urban regions and the environmental influences on city and regional planning
  • Prepare students with life-long analytical, research and communication skills
  • Provide students with the specific knowledge and skills needed to become successful, practicing planners in a wide range of planning areas
  • Educate students about the relationship between the developed environment and the natural environment
  • Provide students with scientific and technical skills that can be applied professionally to solve environment problems

Student Achievements

Our students often distinguish themselves in local, regional and international forums. The following are some of our recent accomplishments:
  • Nekya Young, PhD student from UPEP is invited to join the plenary session “Celebrating Student Success” at the 2013 Esri Education GIS Conference . (05/16/2013)
  • Krislynn Thompson, an MUPEP student, won the Student Presentation Competition at the 2012 Texas APA Conference, October 3-6, 2012, at Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Kimberly Adams, a UPEP PhD student, won the 2012 POCIG (The Planners of Color Interest Group) Travel Award to the 53rdACSP Conference at Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Zhonghua (Tony) Jin,a UPEP PhD student, was selected as an Executive Fellow in the 2013 IRF Road Scholar Program for international students.
  • Jamaal Schoby, a UPEP PhD student, is the 2012 recipient of the Dr. George M. Smerk Scholarship award sponsored by Houston METRO.
  • Jamaal Schoby, a UPEP PhD student, is a 2012 Dwight D. Eisenhower HBCU Fellow.
  • Zhonghua (Tony) Jin, a UPEP PhD student, was honored to represent TSU attending a summer school at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), China, August 2-16, 2012

For more student accomplishments, click here

Student Achievement Measures

Student Achievement Measures

Public Information

The Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy is located in Houston, TX, the 4th most populous city in the U.S., and in Harris County TX, the fastest growing county in all of United States as of 2013. We are also located in the Houston Galveston Area Council Metropolitan Planning Region which consists of 13 counties all together. This region has maintained its vibrancy throughout the economic downturn and has many opportunities for Master’s student employment within the varied institutional sectors, public, private, and non-profit. The issues that face our region are matched by the training provided to our graduates. Additionally, our graduates have been successful in gaining employment out of state and entry to higher degree programs.

The Urban Planning and Environmental Policy Program offers a great value to all attending and graduating students both full-time and part-time. A full-time Master’s student most often completes their studies in four full semesters and two summer sessions (an average of less than 3 years). Our MUPEP Program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. For detailed information about the outcomes of our MUPEP Program, including tuition, graduation rates and employment rate, click to view the UPEP 2016 Public Information.  For older data on the program, click here.

Our full-time PhD students usually complete their program of study within 5-6 years. For information about tuition, enrollment and graduation rates in our PhD Program, click here The employment rate of full-time graduates from our program approximates 80%.

UPEP Graduation Data, 2010-2014

Click the image to enlarge


Students will develop the understanding, sensitivity, and skills necessary to pursue professional careers in a variety of public, private, and nonprofit roles. The Department values environments where cities have vital centers and efficient means of movement, and where neighborhoods offer opportunities for all to live affordably and safely. Our curriculum introduces students to the theories of planning, methods of analysis, effective means of communication, a range of planning processes, and creative strategies for implementation. U.S. News has rated planning as one of the top 50 best careers of 2011.

Department of Urban Planning & Environmental Policy Strategic Plan

Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs Strategic Plan

Texas Southern University Strategic Plan