Students at the University of Washington have the option to pursue two Master’s degrees concurrently. Students are generally able to complete two degrees in three years, rather than the four it would normally take to earn them separately. This is achieved through a sharing of credits as agreed upon by both programs. Although the degrees are pursued concurrently, they are not one blended program. Each degree program has its own admissions process, advising process, course sequencing, etc. Students work with both program offices to ensure the coordination and completion of the two degrees.
Policy for formal and informal concurrent degrees is taken from the UW Graduate School Policy 1.5 for concurrent degree programs.
How to Apply
An applicant who is not currently a student at the University of Washington must apply to each degree program separately. UW students who are currently enrolled in one of the programs must submit an application for the second program, indicating their intent to complete both degrees concurrently. The MUP program application deadlines for autumn quarter are January 15 and October 15 for both U.S. citizens and International Students. Applicants shall consult with the other degree program to determine their application deadlines, as they may differ.
Sequence & Credit Sharing
Generally, students pursue the coursework as follows:
- Year 1: required coursework for one degree
- Year 2: required coursework for the other degree
- Year 3: remaining required coursework for both degrees, plus thesis
Because each degree program has its own sequence and schedule, it is typically not feasible to “blend” coursework for both programs in the first and second years. Taking one or two courses in the other degree program during the first two years may be possible if sequence and schedules allow. It is anticipated that both degrees will be awarded at the same time, typically soon after completion of the thesis.
For formal degrees (MLA, certain MPH degrees, & MPA), course planning charts are available and students work with both programs to ensure fulfillment of the respective degrees. For informal concurrent degrees (such as Civil and Environmental Engineering, Real Estate, Architecture, etc.), students develop a unique course plan and determine shared credits in consultation with advisors in both programs. For students first enrolling Autumn 2023 or later, if the other degree program requires more than 36 credits, up to 12 of the credits beyond 36 may be ‘shared’ and applied to both sets of degree requirements. The total number of credits must be at least 72 and both programs must approve the shared credits counting toward both degrees. Theses and thesis credits may not be shared.
Students consult with advisors in both programs regarding the fulfillment of the respective degrees and follow the advising practices for each individual program. For example, in the MUP program, students are assigned a faculty advisor and a Professionals Council mentor. The MUP program staff academic advisor is Diana Siembor, email@example.com. Students should consult with the other degree program to learn of their advising practices.
Students enrolled in a concurrent degree in which both programs are tuition-based pay the higher of the two tuition rates.
Students enrolled in a fee-based concurrent degree, such as the MUP/MPH-Community Oriented Public Health Practice Program (COPHP), pay two different tuition rates. Generally speaking, they pay the fee-based tuition when enrolled in COPHP credits and the MUP tuition rate when enrolled in urban planning credits. This can cause complexity with finances and course planning.
Formal vs Informal Concurrent Degrees
Formal Concurrent Degrees are those which have a formal arrangement between the programs regarding required coursework and shared thesis. They have been reviewed and approved by the Graduate School, and students in formal concurrent degree programs are designated by unique program codes.
Informal Concurrent Degrees are two degrees from different departments that a student may pursue simultaneously. These programs have not been approved as formal concurrent programs and do not have unique program codes, but students have flexibility to ‘share’ up to 12 credits of coursework (for students first enrolling Autumn 2023 or later), given the approval of both programs. However, a thesis cannot be shared in an informal concurrent degree.
Concurrent Degree Options
The concurrent degree options listed below are the most commonly pursued by MUP students.
All formal concurrent degrees are listed. One informal concurrent degree program is listed, but other informal concurrent degree options may be possible.
The Departments of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and Planning offer a concurrent degree at the master’s level to candidates accepted to both programs. Graduates with degrees in both landscape architecture and urban planning will increasingly be able to address urgent global and local issues related to the built environment and thus are likely to become leaders in either or both fields. Landscape Architecture students, for example, increasingly encounter issues in land use policy and planning process through their studios and in their thesis research; likewise, Urban Planning students increasingly need to develop greater expertise in ecological knowledge, and the designer’s approach to such rapidly evolving topics as green infrastructure and urban agriculture in order to explore frontiers in climate-responsive development regulation and food systems planning.
The typical length of study for students pursuing the concurrent degrees is three years for students with a prior BLA, BArch or equivalent design-related degree, and four years for students without prior design background. Sample sequence forms are provided as a guideline; actual plans may vary depending on the individual student.
- MLA MUP 3 Year Sequence 2023
- MUP MLA 3 Year Checklist 2023
- MLA MUP 4 Year Sequence 2023
- MUP MLA 4 Year Checklist 2023
This is a formal concurrent degree, which has a shared thesis that must include content from both programs. For additional information, please visit the UW Landscape Architecture website.
The MLA degree leads to licensure. For further information refer to the following table.
Students enrolled in a concurrent degree in which both programs are tuition-based pay the higher of the two tuition rates. The MLA and MUP program currently have the same tuition rate.
Modern urban problems include community development, environmental quality, transportation, and growth management. These issues are at the intersection of policy, planning, and management and require leaders with skills in both disciplines.
The Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and the Department of Urban Design and Planning of the College of Built Environments offer this concurrent degree that enables students to earn both the MPA and MUP in approximately three years, rather than the four it would take to earn them separately. By combining the strengths of each school, students receive skills-based training and knowledge in management, policy analysis, and urban planning.
This is a formal concurrent degree, which requires a thesis that must include content from both programs. For additional information, please visit the Concurrent Degrees web page on the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance website.
Students enrolled in a concurrent degree in which both programs are tuition-based pay the higher of the two tuition rates. The MPA program currently has the higher tuition rate, which can be referenced on the UW Tuition Dashboard.
The School of Public Health and the Department of Urban Design and Planning offer a concurrent Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Urban Planning (MUP) degree program, in which students complete all requirements of each degree and write a shared thesis. Although the degrees are pursued concurrently, they are not one blended program.
The built environment, and the policies and design that define our urban landscapes, are crucial determinants of population health. Many issues such as walkability, public transportation, sanitation, and air and water quality are influenced by decisions of planners and affect the health of the public, especially persons living in metropolitan areas. By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities or towns. This rapid pace of global urbanization calls for individuals with training in both the fields of urban planning and public health. Both disciplines are committed to the betterment of human life and the environment through systematic change.
Students in the concurrent MUP/MPH degree program enroll in the MUP degree program and one of the following three MPH programs. These are formal concurrent degrees, which have a shared thesis that must include content from both programs. For additional information, please visit their individual web pages:
- Environmental Health Sciences
- Health Services: General Program
- Health Services: Community-Oriented Public Health Practice
The following checklists are included as a general guide.
Students enrolled in a concurrent degree in which both programs are tuition-based pay the higher of the two tuition rates. The Environmental and Occupational Health and Health Services programs are tuition-based, and their tuition rates can be viewed on the UW Tuition Dashboard.
The COPHP program is fee-based, and the MUP degree is tuition-based. Generally speaking, students pay the fee-based tuition when enrolled in COPHP credits and the MUP tuition rate when enrolled in urban planning courses. This can cause complexity with finances and course planning.
It is strongly recommend that students in the MUP/COPHP degrees follow a sequence of Year 1: MUP, Year 2: COPHP, Year 3: COPHP/MUP Blend. A three year course plan is available for students to follow that maximizes tuition. If students alter the plan there may be additional tuition charges.
Students who seek expanded learning in the field of transportation planning may consider an informal concurrent degree with the MUP and the Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). The CEE master’s program offers two degree options, which can be viewed here. 108 credits minimum are required to earn an informal concurrent degree. From the MUP program perspective, a student must earn the 72 credits required for the MUP degree + 36 credits of the other degree. Up to 12 credits beyond 36 for the other degree can be ‘shared’. In the case of MUP + CEE non-thesis track, which is 42 credits, a maximum of 6 credits can be shared.