What Can You Do With a Master's in Urban Planning?

Jan 12, 2021

While it is true that a degree in urban planning sets you on the road to become an urban planner, there are other careers you can find. These jobs focus on the same principles of assessing land development projects and considering costs and other concerns.

Careers Related to a Master's in Urban Planning

Careers with a degree in urban planning will be focused in similar areas, such as landscape architecture and surveying. Here are a few jobs you can anticipate finding with this degree.

Job Title Median Wage (2019)* Job Growth (2019-2029)*
Urban and Regional Planner $74,350 11%
Cartographer $65,470 (for cartographers and photogrammetrists) 4% (for cartographers and photogrammetrists)
Civil Engineer $87,060 2%
Landscape Architect $69,360 -2%
Surveyor $63,420 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Paths with a Master's in Urban Planning

With a career in urban planning, you'll be prepared for a career not only in urban planning, but several related fields. Here are some details about the careers you can pursue with a graduate degree in urban planning.

Urban and Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners have a range of duties that require them to not only be technically sound in their field but also capable of dealing with a variety of stakeholders. Planners have to meet with public officials, other developers, and even the public as they plan the development of an area. This role requires that planners create projects that address the needs of a specific community. For this reason, planners have to be analytical and able to conceptualize developments that best address existing needs.


Cartographers must be skilled at collecting geographic data and then translating the data into visual representations, such as maps, that can be used in a variety of fields. The role of a cartographer is that of mapmaker. As such, cartographers draw upon a number of different systems, such as LIDAR, for mapping the topography of Earth. The resulting maps can be used to better understand the environment, adopted by governments, or used as a component of urban and regional planning. The data on these maps can include such characteristics as population density and demographics.

Civil Engineer

A civil engineer can fulfill a number of functions, including analyzing plans and reports, advising on the costs of a project, and fulfilling permit applications required by local and federal agencies. In many cases, civil engineers can be supervisors or administrators who oversee sites and other employees during the development of a project. Other duties these professionals must perform include using software to design transportation systems, overseeing survey operations, and generally maintaining public infrastructure. Civil engineers can work in specialties ranging from construction to transportation.

Landscape Architect

When it comes to designing attractive public spaces, such as parks, playgrounds, or even college campuses, landscape architects are the first to be called upon. These professionals prepare site plans, make cost estimates, and determine the technical specifications of a project. Landscape architects use drafting software to generate graphic representations of the project that are then used for project proposals. A landscape architect is also responsible for choosing appropriate materials for the development.


Surveyors are responsible for measuring the distance between points along Earth's surface and creating land records. The data they compile can be used in preparing plots, maps, and various geographic reports. Following the completion of a survey, the data is usable by both private and government organizations. Surveyors are called upon to establish official boundaries that are necessary to legally mark the edges of different properties.

With your master's in urban planning, you'll be ready for a career in roles such as a landscape architect, surveyor, or cartographer. You'll routinely be called upon to inform land use developments through the collection and analysis of data.

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