Environmental Planning - MS

College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

About This Degree

Environmental planning is focused on how the biophysical attributes of a region influence the human dimensions of culture and settlement, and also how human settlement and building affect the environment of the geographic area in which the community is situated.

The environmental planning degree prepares graduates to assist communities with growth and development. Additionally, graduates will be able to produce and evaluate alternative futures to help communities make decisions about future building and growth. This program is unique in that it focuses on large-scale planning; environmental planners deal with entire geographic regions, yet they are also qualified for smaller city planning as well.

What You Will Learn

The program has an interdisciplinary core of courses that provides the background for addressing complex issues in the areas of environmental analysis, planning, and policy.

The program emphasizes group projects and interactions in a studio setting, individual research, field trips to study areas, and department seminars, along with traditional- and workshop-style coursework.

An important aspect of the program is learning to use spatial visualization techniques to help multiple audiences understand alternative future development and conservation scenarios. These techniques can be anything from “then-and-now” photographs to detailed maps created using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software.

Employment is available in both the private and public sectors, wherever there is emphasis on large-scale landscape planning, policy and management, as well as traditional planning positions, such as municipal planners.

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Graduates are qualified for careers as bioregional planners for local, state, and national agencies. Planners work in the following areas:

  • Large-scale planning of broad geographic areas
  • Municipal planning
  • Zoning administration
  • Planning policy and management
  • Consultation
  • Planning for government entities

Job Outlook


Request Information Environmental Planning
Description Environmental Planning

I am not a current USU student

I have not applied or been admitted, even if I've taken a USU Concurrent Enrollment course

I am a current USU student

I have been admitted and plan to attend, or continue attending USU

USU Locations



Admission Requirements

Applicants from various undergraduate backgrounds may be considered. Depending on the student’s desired area of research, certain prerequisite courses may be required.

To be accepted to the program, it is recommended that applicants first contact a specific faculty member with whom they are interested in working. If the faculty member is accepting graduate students and agrees to work with the student, the student can then apply by completing the following application requirements:

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on in the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.


The department has the following deadline:

  • Fall semester – February 15
  • The department will continue to review applications submitted after these dates, but chances of acceptance and financial assistance are better for students who apply earlier.

Program Requirements

Students have a 10-credit studio course requirement lasting two semesters in which they participate in hands-on bioregional analysis for a government or non-government entity to help make decisions about future planning.

Plan Options

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Aid

The Department of Environment and Society provides funding for all of its graduate students through research assistantships, available through professors having contracts, grants, or other awards.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Take The Next Step

You May Also Be Interested In

Environment and Society

Learn how human activities affect the natural environment and help make changes in policy, land management, and human behavior to reduce society’s impact on the natural world.


Earn a degree in geography as you study a wide range of issues like land use, rural development, map making, the social aspects of natural resource management, and more.

Landscape Architecture

Learn traditional and large-scale planning, design, and analysis in a program ranked in the top 15 of its kind in the nation.

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

This interdisciplinary program in Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning prepares leaders and future faculty in landscape architecture.