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4 + 1 Master of Urban and Regional Planning 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 six (6) credit hour professional internship experience with a public agency, non-profit organization or private firm working on planning issues, or an approved six (6) credit hour study abroad program, or 6 credit hours of graduate level work approved by the 4+1 MURP Program Director.

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.

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 in 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.


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.

SPIA offers study abroad courses in Switzerland and China (forthcoming), with new opportunities under development.

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, which can substitute other courses in the major/minor, explores the following themes:

  • Multimodal Transport
  • Environmental Policy in the European Union
  • Urban form & design
  • Non-governmental organizations and civil society
  • European solutions to wicked problems

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.

For more information and to apply, please visit the program website:

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
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (during the academic year)




Dr. Ralph Hall
Undergraduate Director

Chris LaPlante
Undergraduate Advisor
Read more about Chris LaPlante


Program Location

140 Otey St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061