Connection to the profession of city planning
The M.C.R.P. program maintains a strong relationship with the D.C. Office of Planning (D.C.O.P.) and the local chapter of the American Planning Association (A.P.A.). Students have the opportunity to work directly with D.C.O.P. through classes and potential internships to gain valuable professional experience. The Executive Committee of the National Capital Chapter (N.C.A.C.-A.P.A.) of the A.P.A. includes a faculty and student representative from each of the planner schools in the area. Each of these relationships provides an invaluable resource for the students. Planners at D.C.O.P. and members of A.P.A., as well as other planners in the region, have served as guest lecturers and as critics for studio projects and thesis reviews. Similarly, they have opened their offices for students to observe the working environment of the professional planner. The M.C.R.P. program has hosted the annual conference of the N.C.A.C.-A.P.A. and the A.I.C.P. Examination Preparation Workshop as well as other chapter events further connecting the students with practitioners.
Extended classroom experiences
The Catholic University of America is favorably positioned within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region as well as along the I-95 corridor. This offers unique opportunities to extend the student’s experience beyond the classroom. This proximity enables field trips to places such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, as well as locations closer to campus like Mount Rainier and Hyattsville, Columbia Heights, and the Southeast Waterfront. This setting offers opportunities to investigate real planning challenges while engaging local communities.
Study Abroad Programs
The multitude of study abroad programs offered at the School of Architecture and Planning are available to M.C.R.P. students. The semester-long programs in Paris and Rome provide the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most dynamic cities, with a wealth of historic, cultural, and architectural sites. However, other opportunities are often available for travel without a full semester commitment. M.C.R.P. students have traveled to Vienna, Austria, Barcelona, Spain, Turkey, Bangledesh, and India. For semester-long programs, the coursework can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of the M.C.R.P. program.
The M.C.R.P.-M.S.S.D. Lab is a shared lab that provides a digital platform and software for city planning and sustainable design. The computers in this lab are equipped with ArcMAP (GIS), SPSS (a statistical software package), as well as the Adobe Master Design Collection, SketchUp, Autodesk 3D Max, AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, and other general productivity applications. The computers in this lab are also loaded with specific energy modeling software used by the M.S.S.D. program including Ecotect, Energy Plus, and Vasari.
George Marcou Memorial Lecture
The George Marcou Memorial Lecture is presented to honor George T. Marcou, professor emeritus of urban planning at Catholic University, who passed away in 2011. The lecture was initiated by the faculty of the School of Architecture and Planning to honor their colleague, George Marcou, and his work in the development of the school’s first planning program in the 1960s. His professional planning career spanned 40 years and he contributed widely to the university from 1962-2002. The series features notable practitioners who are exemplary in the planning field. Past keynote speakers include Adele Santos (2011), Michael Arad (2012), and Craig Dykers (2013). The 2015 Marcou Lecture was a well-received conversation with Father Michael J. Kelley, pastor of St. Martin’s Catholic Church on North Capitol Street, who provided fascinating insights into the development of the Bloomingdale neighborhood of D.C. over the past thirty years.
Research opportunities for M.C.R.P. students include working on existing faculty projects, and/or developing their own research program through independent study and thesis work. An approved Independent Study Proposal may be counted towards an M.C.R.P. Elective.
M.C.R.P. Financial Assistantships
In August 2014, the tuition rate for the M.C.R.P. program was reduced to $1,000.00 per credit hour. Qualified M.C.R.P. students are eligible to apply for semester-long research and teaching assistantships which further reduce the cost of the program. These assistantships usually involve 10 hours per week of work. These appointments are awarded on a competitive and merit basis. Students must complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) to receive any form of financial aid from the University. Future students need to apply during the admission process whereas students in the program may approach the faculty directly.
M.C.R.P. Travel Award
Each year students can apply to receive a travel award to attend the national conference of the American Planning Association (A.P.A.). The A.P.A. conference is an excellent opportunity to hear about current planning activities in other areas, network with potential employers, and meet students in other programs. Past Travel Award recipients have come back from the conference with jobs and/or internships lined up in addition to enlightenment about the profession. Since 2009, 21 students have received the award to travel to A.P.A. conferences in Minneapolis, New Orleans, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta.
Acknowledgement of high performance in the program
Since 2011, seven graduates of the M.C.R.P. program have received an award for Outstanding Work in the program at graduation. The award recognizes academic performance in the program and is given to the student who has maintained the highest grade point average (GPA) as well as demonstrated potential for professional excellence. M.C.R.P. students are also eligible for induction into the Tau Sigma Delta honor society. Fourteen M.C.R.P. or M.C.R.P. + M.Arch. students have been inducted into Tau Sigma Delta since 2010. M.C.R.P. students are also eligible to compete in the Awards Jury, which celebrates the accomplishment of thesis students during the academic year. In 2012 and 2015, a student in the M.C.R.P. and M.C.R.P. + M.Arch. programs, respectively, were the recipient of the Best of Thesis prize. In subsequent years, M.C.R.P. standalone or M.C.R.P. + M.Arch. students have been advanced to finalists of this unique honor.