Apr 22, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Planning and Development Studies (MPDS)

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The Master of Planning and Development Studies degree is designed for mid-career professionals in planning, development or related disciplines who desire to update and/or redirect their professional skills and careers. The program is very flexible, allowing students to pursue areas of expertise that they find valuable in their present or future careers. Entering students must have a minimum of five years of planning, development or related professional work experience.

Curriculum Requirements

The Master of Planning and Development Studies program requires completion of 28 units. Basic degree requirements consist of two core courses; 16 units in a concentration area approved by an adviser; and an integrative seminar course during which the student completes a written and oral comprehensive examination.

Required Courses

Concentration Area(s)

Students elect a concentration area from one of three already defined or, with prior approval by an adviser, design a concentration from Price School of Public Policy courses and USC graduate courses. A minimum of eight units must be Price School of Public Policy courses. The three defined concentration areas are:

Integrative Seminar and Comprehensive Examination

Successful completion of a comprehensive examination is required of all students seeking the Master of Planning and Development Studies degree. The integrative seminar course (PPD 638 ) and comprehensive exam should be taken during the semester of intended graduation. During the seminar class, students identify a practice-oriented problem covering the core courses and concentration area, which ideally is sponsored by a planning and/or development office or firm. The student will: (1) prepare a professional-quality document; (2) present the solution to a faculty committee with invited sponsor guests; and (3) have an oral defense. Students who fail the examination may take it again within one year, but it may only be repeated once.

General Requirements

Residence and Course Load

The Master of Planning and Development Studies may be completed in one academic year of 12 units in the fall and spring semesters and the four-unit integrative seminar/comprehensive examination the following summer semester.

At least 18 units of graduate study must be done in residence at the University Park Campus, the USC State Capital Center or at an approved off-campus study center.

Time Limit

Students in the program must complete all requirements for the Master of Planning and Development Studies within five calendar years from the beginning of the semester in which the student was admitted to the program.

Grade Point Average Requirement

While enrolled in the program, a student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) for all courses taken toward the degree.

Probation and Disqualification

Any student with a cumulative grade point average below 3.0 for all courses taken in the program will be placed on academic probation. A student whose semester grade point average is below 3.0, but whose cumulative grade point average is 3.0 or higher, will be placed on warning.

A student may be disqualified to continue toward a graduate degree if the student has been on academic probation for two consecutive semesters. Whether or not on academic probation or warning, a student may be disqualified at any time from continuing in the program if the dean of the school, after consultation with the faculty, determines the student is deficient in any degree requirement.

Course Exemption and Transfer of Credits

Credit for graduate work may be transferred from approved graduate schools as determined by the USC Degree Progress Department in the Office of Academic Records and Register on recommendation of the dean of the school. Not more than four units of graduate work, with grades of B or better, can be transferred for credit toward the Master of Planning and Development Studies degree.

The following courses, or their equivalents, may not normally be transferred for unit credit from other institutions: PPD 611 , PPD 612  and PPD 638 . Undergraduate work may not be transferred into the degree program for unit credit.

Some applicants for admission to the school will have been engaged in work in planning, development or closely related activities. Although this experience should be beneficial to the students involved, it may not be considered equivalent to academic education.

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