Areas of Concentration

Each student, in consultation with their advisor, must identify an individualized area of planning where they develop in-depth skills and knowledge. The area of concentration is commonly used by graduates of the UW-Madison program to communicate areas of special expertise to potential employers and allows the student to concentrate on planning issues of most importance to them. The area of concentration often draws on courses taught by the Department, but often also draws on courses taught in other leading departments available to students at the UW-Madison.


One unique thing about URPL is that each student and their advisor develop areas of concentration individually.  Although it is up to the student to choose an appropriate area of concentration based on their interests, often areas of interest fall into broader categories, including:


  • Community Development
  • Disaster Planning
  • Downtown Revitalization
  • Ecological Planning
  • Economic Development Planning
  • Energy Planning
  • Environment & Transportation
  • Environmental & Energy Planning
  • Environmental & Open Space Planning
  • Environmental Policy
  • GIS Applications and Utilization
  • Historic Preservation
  • Housing
  • International Planning
  • International Sustainable Community & Economic Development
  • Land Use Planning
  • Markets and Food Systems
  • Natural Resource Development and Planning
  • Parks and Open Space Planning
  • Social Justice and Environmental Equity
  • Sustainable and Smart Growth Planning
  • Transportation Planning and Policy
  • Urban Land Use Development & Law


Each student consults with their advisor in identification of their chosen area of concentration and in selecting the courses that will be used to fulfill the Area of Concentration requirement. This process normally starts during the first semester of study and must be completed by the last semester of study.