Community and Regional Planning, MCRP

School of Architecture and Planning

Program Description:

The Master of Community and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.) is a professional degree program in the field of planning. The program examines global trends influencing community and regional change, and emphasizes culturally responsive planning. The program focuses on both rural and urban areas and their interconnectedness. Formal dual degrees are available with the Latin American Studies program, the School of Public Administration, and the Water Resources program. M.C.R.P. graduates also have developed individual dual degrees with Architecture and Public Health. Students are encouraged to engage in fieldwork and professional internships.  

The M.C.R.P. degree is nationally accredited by The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). The program provides grounding in planning skills, methods and theory, an appreciation of the Southwest as a region, and, through the lens of the Southwest, an understanding of the intersections of global, national and regional forces in arid regions.

The mission of the CRP department is to plan with communities for their sustainable futures in the Southwest region through education, service and research. The M.C.R.P. degree’s purpose is to provide future planners and professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support planning that is responsive to people and places. Students work with communities, including their own, to create community- based plans, programs and policies that sustain and enhance their culture, resource base, built environment and economic vitality.

The M.C.R.P. curriculum is based on the concept of problem-solving as a skill and as a context for broader understanding. Planning and related work involves solving complex social, physical, and resource allocation or conservation problems. The ability to analyze problems is central to the educational process. Necessary assets and skills include: 1) critical thinking; 2) visionary (futuristic or alternative) thinking; 3) graphic, written, and verbal communication; 4) the ability to analyze and resolve community and environmental conflicts; and 5) the ability to develop, facilitate and implement community-based planning and social change strategies. Students in the M.C.R.P. degree must select one or more concentrations in Community Development, Indigenous Planning, Natural Resources and Environmental Planning, or Physical Planning and Design.

Admission Requirements:


The application deadline for Fall admission is January 15. All materials must be received by 5:00 PM on that date. Applications received after January 15 and before April 1 are considered in a second round of admissions held before April 15, on a space available basis. Spring admissions are considered for special circumstances only (contact graduate advisor). Applications are not considered for the summer term.

The UNM online graduate admissions application allows applicants to upload all of the necessary documents for application to the program of interest. Within the application, click the Application Instructions link to see program specific requirements. To apply to the M.C.R.P. program, the applicant must do the following:

For the UNM Graduate Admissions Application, submit:

For the M.C.R.P. program specific application, upload:
  • Letter of Intent
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic source, i.e. professor or advisor)
  • Curriculum Vitae (Resume)
  • Copies of unofficial transcripts from all higher education institutions attended.

International Students also need to submit the following:
  • An attested copy of diploma;

  • Official TOEFL scores that must meet the University of New Mexico minimum of 79 on the IBT TOEFL, or official IELTS minimum score of 6.5.

Admissions Criteria

The Admissions Committee is composed of CRP faculty members and student representative. All files are evaluated on the basis of:

  • The persuasiveness of the letter of intent, which should be a statement of professional goals, personal accomplishments, and academic motivation. The Admissions Committee looks for a letter that expresses a commitment to planning practice and assesses the applicant's goals and philosophy in the context of the M.C.R.P. program. Applicants should identify any special attributes that may add to the multicultural and affirmative action goals of the program and why the program can help them to accomplish their goals.

  • The strength of the three letters of recommendation. These should be letters from people who are aware of the applicant's academic and professional accomplishments. The letters should demonstrate the applicant’s seriousness and capability as a student and as a future professional.

  • The demonstrated capacity to perform high-quality graduate study, based upon academic transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses taken by the applicant. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the last two years of an applicant’s undergraduate study.

  • The relevance of the applicant’s experience and background, most commonly based upon a clear curriculum vitae. A CV helps show the applicant's career path, especially with experience in some aspect of community-based or regional planning through employed or volunteer job experience, publications, community service, and other outstanding achievements.

  • The fit with the CRP program in terms of its community-based planning philosophy and focus, the natural resources, indigenous planning, community development, and physical planning concentrations, and the program's concern with issues of equity and social justice.

  • Recent and potential personal growth, a more subjective criterion, is based on the program's desire to admit students who are committed and motivated, who have already begun their intellectual development, and who have potential to continue that development in the program and as planning professionals.

Admissions Decisions

The Admissions Committee reviews all applications. Applicants are notified whether they are 1) admitted; 2) conditionally admitted pending receipt of formal contents of the application; 3) placed on the waiting list for admission should a space open up; or 4) not admitted. Those who do not gain admission are encouraged to contact the department chair to discuss the feasibility of a successful reapplication.

Career Opportunities:

Planners develop long- and short-term plans to use land for the growth and revitalization of urban, suburban, and rural communities, while helping local officials make decisions concerning social, economic, and environmental problems. In large organizations, planners usually specialize in a single area, such as transportation, demography, housing, historic preservation, urban design, environmental and regulatory issues, or economic development. In small organizations, planners do various kinds of planning. (UNM CRP website). 

Contact Information:

Miquela Ortiz Upston:

School of Architecture and Planning Graduate Advisor