4+1 Master of Urban Planning (MURP) Accelerated Program2018-07-13T15:41:06+00:00

      SPIA

           4+1 MASTER OF URBAN PLANNING ACCELERATED
4+1 Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) Accelerated Program
The Urban Affairs and Planning Program (UAP) and School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) offers an accelerated program that enables students to earn credit toward a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degree while they are completing the requirements for their Bachelor of Arts in Public and Urban Affairs with a major in Smart and Sustainable Cities (SSC) and/or Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP). This 4+1 five-year program provides qualified students with a unique opportunity to advance in the field of urban and regional planning.

During their senior year, admitted students will take up to 18 credit hours of graduate coursework in the MURP Program. The 18 credit hours of graduate coursework will fulfill both graduate and undergraduate requirements. At the end of their fourth year, students should have completed all undergraduate requirements to receive their bachelor’s degree.

In the summer after graduating with their bachelor’s degree, students will participate in either a 6 credit hour professional internship experience with a public agency, non-profit organization or private firm working on planning issues, or an approved 6 credit hour study abroad program, or participate in a 6 credit hour planning studio course offered by MURP.

During their fifth year, students complete 24 credit hours graduate coursework required for the MURP program and earn a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree.

Criteria for Admission

  • Application: VT Graduate School application submitted by end of junior year
  • Minimum GPA: 3.5 cumulative
  • Test score requirements: None

Please contact Chris LaPlante for more information.

SPIA Experiential Learning: D.C. Semester
SPIA offers students a unique set of experiential learning opportunities that integrate with the SSC major.

Students will have an opportunity to study in the National Capital Region through the new Washington, D.C. Semester in Global Engagement or the well-established Washington, D.C. Semester in Leadership through Policy and Governance.

Washington, D.C. is at the center of global affairs. It is home to government agencies, many of the world’s leading think-tanks, numerous international organizations and a range of non-governmental organizations. Here, the most significant policy decisions are debated and made, holding both domestic and international importance.

The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is a unique 15 credit program open to all Virginia Tech majors. The Washington Semester consists of a combination of courses on global affairs, internships opportunities, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities with DC professionals and policy makers. It offers students the opportunity to experience policy-making firsthand, and explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in Washington D.C area.

The Washington Semester, Leadership through Policy and Governance extended summer session program offers a unique 11-week immersion into work experience within the nation’s capital. Students will learn about and work on challenging public policy issues that shape communities locally and nationally while obtaining academic credit. Washington Semester Fellows will also attend seminars that enable them to understand their internship from a range of analytical perspectives.

Eligibility

The Washington Semester is a competitive program open to all undergraduate students, regardless of major, who have earned a minimum of 60 credits and are in good academic standing.

Study Abroad
SPIA offers study abroad courses in Switzerland, Malawi, and China (forthcoming), with new opportunities under development.
Sustainable Policy Making & Planning in Europe
Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to explore planning and policy-making in contemporary Europe. We will meet policy-makers and other stakeholders, examine some of Europe’s most pressing challenges and innovative solutions, and see a variety of cities through the eyes of locals.

This three or six credit study abroad program has three components:

      • Fundamentals of sustainability and environmental policy-making in modern Europe (online prior to trip and at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France)
      • Addressing Europe’s wicked sustainability challenges and the roles for civil society (Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic)
      • Making urban transport sustainable, with a focus on how European cities promote walking, cycling, and public transport (Germany and Switzerland)

The trip will afford multiple opportunities to explore how the unique histories, urban forms, and contemporary nature of European cities shape human behavior, and advance and challenge long-term sustainability.

TRIP ITINERARY
Trip Itinerary
After meeting in Prague, the group will travel to the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic to examine a challenging case study that involves environmental, economic and cultural dimensions. The group will then head to Budapest, Hungary and visit a couple of organizations to get a sense of how environmental policy is shaping an expanding Europe, the roles of civil society, and learn about Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. The next stop will be Venice, Italy, with a focus on the multi-billion dollar MOSE project constructed to tackle acute flooding. Virginia Tech’s Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticcino), Switzerland will be the next stop, serving as a base for exploring sustainability in that region. In Strasbourg, France the group will visit the European Parliament and meet with local policy makers to discuss sustainable transport. The last stop will be Freiburg, Germany to examine its state-of-the-art cycling, walking, and public transport infrastructure. The course ends in Freiburg in the morning of 16 June, 2018.
APPLICATIONS
Applications are accepted through the Global Education Office. The application deadline is 1 December 2017. All applications must be submitted through the Virginia Tech Global Education Office’s portal. Go to ‘outgoing students’ and then search for ‘sustainable policy making in Europe.’ Their system manages the initial application process, and the collection of necessary forms and other information if accepted.
FINANCIAL AID
Education abroad financial aid may be available for Virginia Tech students. Contact Virginia Tech’s Global Education Office for more information.
FAQ
Who may apply? How will selection take place?
Who may apply? How will selection take place?
The course is targeted towards undergraduate and graduate students in good standing at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. There are no prerequisites, but the selection process will take academic standing and disciplinary records into account. Depending on interest, there may also be an interview process for applicants. Students from other universities may be able to cross-register but should contact us on an individual basis to discuss.
Will we stay at the Ritz-Carlton? Eat in Michelin-stared restaurants?
Will we stay at the Ritz-Carlton? Eat in Michelin-stared restaurants?
Easy answer – no. However, we work hard to find clean, safe and convenient places to stay in each city, even if not always the fanciest. Expect shared accommodations, ranging from hostels to a couple of nice hotels. Many of our meals will be communal, while we will give you stipends to go off in small groups for others.
When will this trip take place?
When will this trip take place?
After meeting in Prague on May 27th, the group will start in the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic, examining a challenging case study that involves environmental, economic and cultural dimensions. The group will then head to Budapest, Hungary and visit a couple of organizations to get a sense of how environmental policy is shaping an expanding Europe, the roles of civil society, and learn about Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. The next stop will be Venice, Italy, with a focus on the multi-billion dollar MOSE project constructed to tackle acute flooding. We will also talk about the flood of tourist that inundate Venice, and what is being done to maintain a vibrant yet livable city. Virginia Tech’s Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticcino), Switzerland will be the next stop, serving as a base for exploring sustainability in that region. In Strasbourg, France the group will visit the European Parliament and meet with local policymakers to discuss sustainable transport. The last stop will be Freiburg, Germany to examine its state-of-the-art cycling, walking, and public transport infrastructure. The course ends in Freiburg in the morning of 16th of June, 2018.
How many credits will I get?
How many credits will I get?
While subject to change, the current plan is to offer both three and six credit versions of the course to serve both those who would like to save money on tuition and those looking to maximize the credits gained. Six credit students will have some extra assignments; in particular, the final assignment–which may be completed after the trip–is more substantial for six credit students.
Will we spend most of our time in a classroom? Sightseeing?
Will we spend most of our time in a classroom? Sightseeing?
This highly interactive program involves some classroom time, but more experiential learning in the field. For example, we will spend a couple of days in Freiburg, Germany, which is one of that country’s most sustainable cities. We will focus on transport planning and visit sustainable neighborhoods as well as transport planners, transit planners, and bike planners. We will also do a bike tour to both experience the cycling infrastructure and see some of their energy-efficient buildings. So, you will see sights, but the focus is on the content of the course. The same will be true in the other cities we visit. There will certainly be some time for sightseeing but expect a packed agenda. Participants can, of course, travel before and/or after the program as well.
Where will we visit?
Where will we visit?
We are still finalizing the itinerary for this coming summer, but the current plan includes activities in the following cities: Freiburg (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Zurich and Riva San Vitale (Switzerland), Venice (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), and Prague and Ostrava (Czech Republic). We will also spend a few days at Virginia Tech’s beautiful Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticino Canton), Switzerland
What do I have to do pre-departure?
What do I have to do pre-departure?
In addition to making logistical arrangements and packing your bags, we will start the course with an online module before departure. Students are expected to participate in this as an integral part of the course. It will prepare us all for the trip, and provide an initial introduction to sustainable policy-making and planning in Europe. Some course assignments will also be due pre-departure to minimize the amount of homework on the road.
What is expected of students in this course?
What is expected of students in this course?
This is a credit-granting course, and thus involves the same expectations as courses on campus. You are expected to conform to the Code of Conduct and behave in a manner consistent with University (in addition to local) laws, regulations, and expectations. There will be plenty of fun, but students are expected to participate fully and actively in all educational components of the trip and cooperate with each other and the faculty to ensure the program runs smoothly.
When are applications due? When do I have to pay?
When are applications due? When do I have to pay?
Applications are due by December, 1, 2018. A non-refundable deposit of $750 will be due immediately upon acceptance. The balance of the program fee will be due by early April, 2019.
What is the course number/department? Is it a CLE offering? Can it substitute?
What is the course number/department? Is it a CLE offering? Can it substitute?
This course is listed as UAP 3954 for undergraduates and UAP 5954 for graduate students. It is not recognized as a Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) offering, but may be substituted in to meet requirements at your advisor’s discretion. EPP and PUA majors and Minors should see Chris LaPlante for information on which courses this can substitute for. If advisors in other deparments need more information to make decisions on suitable substitutions, they may certainly reach out to us – ralphbu [at] vt [dot] edu and tschenk [at] vt [dot] edu.
For more information, please contact Todd Schenk at tschenk@vt.edu. Or view Professor Hall’s Sustainable Policy Making and Planning in Europe blog. (External link).

Experience WASH in Malawi

Instructors: Dr. Ralph P. Hall (VT), and Dr. Emily Van Houweling (University of Denver)
Location: Mzuzu University, Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation
Credits: 3
Duration: 3 weeks, Summer II (tentative dates July 11–29, 2016)
Program Fee: $2,500 (excluding course credit and flights)

This applied and service oriented study abroad experience will provide undergraduate and graduate students with a grounded understanding of WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in Malawi. The first part of the course will take place in the classroom with lectures, discussions, and small group projects led by faculty at Mzuzu University, Dr. Ralph Hall, and Dr. Emily Van Houweling. The course will begin with a general review of the state of water and sanitation services in different parts of the world and will raise the question of what constitutes access to water. We will review important concepts in WASH and provide an overview of the most pressing WASH issues in Malawi. Following this introduction, students will study the design of relevant WASH technologies and educational programs from the perspective of public health, cultural appropriateness, and sustainability. Armed with an understanding of critical WASH issues and technologies, students will then undertake community-based fieldwork on a WASH-related problem in partnership with the Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation.

A unique aspect of the course is that Virginia Tech and University of Denver students will work alongside students from Mzuzu University to explore a wide range of WASH issues both in the classroom and the field. This pairing of students will promote cultural exchange and enable discussions about ethics and power in the field of international development. The joint teaching model, combined student cohort, and experiential approach to learning will provide students from the U.S. and Malawi with a rich educational and cultural experience.

The course is designed for students interested in working in the global WASH sector or pursuing a career in international development.

Visit Professor Hall’s Malawi blog page for more information. (External link).

Useful Links
Course-related:

CLE/Pathways:

Useful Forms:

Student Research and Employment

Social Life

Current Employment & Internships Opportunities

SSC Undergraduate Advisor
Since every student follows their own unique pathway through the program, we recommend you meet with Chris LaPlante at least once a year to review your program of study, learn about the Washington semesters or study abroad offerings, explore internship and/or employment opportunities, and much more. Our mission is to help you succeed, so please let us know how we can help.

Chris LaPlante
209 Architecture Annex | 540-231-3831 | chrisl@vt.edu
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:30-3:00 (during the academic year)

SPIA Contacts

Ralph Hall, Undergraduate Program Director
201 Architecture Annex
540-231-7332 | rphall@vt.edu

Chris LaPlante, Undergraduate Advisor
209 Architecture Annex
(540) 231-3831 | chrisl@vt.edu

Myriam Lechuga, Graduate Student Coordinator
(703) 706-8111 | mlechuga@vt.edu

SPIA Locations

Washington D.C.
1021 Prince Street | Alexandria, VA 22314

Blacksburg
140 Otey St NW | Blacksburg, VA 24061

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