Skip to main content
Community & Regional Planning

Graduate Degree

Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP)

The MCRP degree prepares graduates to shape community and regional change, and work towards environmental sustainability and social justice for their communities and regions as well as the larger world. The MCRP degree program is the only nationally-accredited planning degree offered in New Mexico. Graduates work in research and professional careers with community-based organizations, nonprofit and international non-governmental organizations, private sector firms, and public agencies at the tribal, local, regional, state and federal government levels.

The MCRP degree emphasizes the intersections and interactions among people and both natural and built environments. We have a community-based approach to address intersecting issues in community and economic development, natural resources and environmental planning, and physical planning and design.We are unique in that we are one of the few planning departments with an emphasis in Indigenous planning. The program is designed to allow students to also pursue a concentration consistent with their professional objectives. There are four MCRP concentrations:

This concentration builds community development knowledge and skills. It focuses on the forces that produce inequality, how people work to create opportunity, and how planners can contribute to promoting a fair distribution of resources. Community development focuses on community-based approaches to effecting change, economic development techniques, and tools that enhance quality of life.

The coursework encompasses the economic, political and social aspects of planning. Students are taught the planning concepts and skills necessary to assist and work with communities. The emphasis integrates key techniques that identify and understand the historical, present and future patterns of individual and organizational action as well as to anticipate and predict the consequences of actions on other communities.

Contact: Associate Professor Claudia Isaac, cisaac@unm.edu

This concentration is built on Indigenous planning as an emerging paradigm that uses a culturally responsive and value-based approach to community development. Community development requires that leadership balance the immediacy of action (short term) with a comprehensive vision (long term). Over millennia, Indigenous societies have evolved unique philosophies, languages and patterns of subsistence that can be described as worldviews. 

The concentration is built around the assumption that the knowledge of the past informs the present and, together, this builds a vision towards the future. This is known as the seven generations model and is the basis for action and community engagement. The coursework emphasizes an interdisciplinary design and planning approach that is inherent in placemaking.

Contact: Professor Ted Jojola, tjojola@unm.edu

This concentration is designed for students who are interested in the relationships between people, the built environment, and their ecological contexts. Students are trained to analyze community planning issues in terms of their implications for the natural systems that support them. Communities are formed for diverse reasons, but successful communities adapt to their natural, ecological surroundings. Consequently, the scale and character of ecological units affecting planning for a given location may vary.

Students gain theoretical knowledge of people’s interactions with natural systems, learn to apply analytical techniques to the assessment of actual problems, and acquire skills for their solution. Particular attention is placed on the sustainable uses of land and water, access to and control of natural resources, and their implications for growth management.

Contact: Professor William Fleming, fleming@unm.edu

This concentration is designed for students who are interested in the built environment, including the design of neighborhoods, cities, regions, and public spaces; land use planning and growth management; the planning of transportation and other infrastructure; and development of housing and other projects. Physical planning strategies are integrated with environmental and economic planning objectives.

The coursework emphasizes an understanding of how the built landscape is shaped by a variety of processes. Classes focus on analyzing local codes and regulations, understanding urban design strategies and traditions, developing written planning documents and graphic materials, and working with a variety of constituencies to fulfill community goals related to physical planning and design.

Contact: Assistant Professor Moises Gonzales, mgonzo1@unm.edu

The MCRP degree requires a minimum of 48 credit hours. Many fulltime students complete the program in 2 years with summer courses. The program can also be completed on a part time basis. Degree requirements and program curriculum can be found here. A Graduate Review is required, typically at the end of the first year in the program. Graduate Review Guidelines are here.

Dual Degree Programs

In addition to its regular degree, the MCRP program offers dual degrees in Latin American Studies, Public Administration, and Water Resources that allow students to expand their education in interdisciplinary ways. Students interested in a dual degree must apply for admission to each program.

The dual degree is designed for students who are interested in the professional practice of planning in a Latin American context. Issues of particular importance to Latin American planners include land development, natural resources management, energy and water issues, economic development, migration, decentralization, regional integration, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots organizing.

The MALAS/MCRP degree is coordinated jointly by the Latin American Studies and the Community & Regional Planning programs. The Latin American Studies program is housed at the Latin American and Iberian Institute.

Prerequisites to the program are competence in either Spanish or Portuguese (400 level or higher) and basic course work in economics (micro and/or macro) and statistics. Deficits may be made up after admission to the program.

Contact: Associate Professor Claudia Isaac, cisaac@unm.edu

This dual degree addresses the needs of students who desire public, private or non-profit careers in leadership positions requiring professional skill in community and regional planning and public administration. The program enables students to develop key knowledge and experience necessary to assess public needs, determine public goals and objectives, develop community-based strategies, and manage and resolve public disputes. Students admitted to the dual degree typically aim to become administrators and managers in public or private planning projects or programs working with local citizens, special districts, and local, state and federal public agencies. Graduates also work in a variety of consulting situations with community-based profit and non-profit clients.

Contact: Professor Renia Ehrenfeucht, rehrenfeucht@unm.edu

The MWR degree is an interdisciplinary professional degree designed to prepare students for careers in water resources. All students take a core curriculum that includes a mix of technical and social sciences classes and select either a hydroscience track or a policy and management track.

A dual degree between the Water Resources Program (WRP) and CRP prepare students to make important contributions in both water resources and planning through a familiarity with the scientific discourse of water resources and the language and methodologies from community-based planning. Diverse groups are brought together to collaborate in the mediation of water disputes, especially in the Southwest where demands on limited water resources are increasing exponentially.

Contact: Professor William Fleming, fleming@unm.edu


Graduate Minor

Graduate students interested in a minor course of study in CRP must apply to the program. Minor application forms are available online or in the CRP office, George Pearl Hall Room 119. Students interested in a Graduate Minor in CRP must complete 12 hours of coursework:

  • Two of the following 4 credit courses: CRP 531 - Foundations of Community Development, CRP 532 - Foundations of Natural Resources, CRP 533 - Foundations of Physical Planning; CRP 534 - Foundations of Indigenous Planning
  • A CRP methods course in community development, natural resources or physical planning chosen in consultation with faculty advisor. (3 credits)
  • An elective in community development, Indigenous planning, natural resources or physical planning selected in consultation with faculty advisor. (3 credits)
  • Substitutions can be approved by the CRP Department Chair