Degree Program Degree Requirements Program Duration

Master of Arts in Planning (MA)

Thesis Option

  • five 700-level obligatory one-term courses: 700, 701*, 703, 704, and 710, for a total of 2.5 units
  • three 600-level elective one-term courses for a total of 1.5 units
  • two 700-level obligatory studio courses: 720, 721 (2.0 units)
  • work experience required during first spring term
  • thesis (2.0 units)
  • in addition, students must complete two program milestones (satisfied in PLAN 710):
    • project proposal development workshop
    • research plan - oral presentation (April of first year)

* Students without a background in planning are required to take 701. Students not required to take 701 must take an extra elective course.

* 1st year students should not enroll in PLAN 720, this course is a prerequiste for PLAN 721

2 years - 6 terms of full-time enrollment

5 years - 15 terms of part-time enrollment

Master of Arts in Planning (MA)

Research paper option

  • five 700-level obligatory one-term courses: 700, 701*, 703, 704, and 710, for a total of 2.5 units
  • five 600-level elective one-term courses for a total of 2.50 units
  • two 700‐level required studio courses: 720, 721, for a total of 2.0 units
  • work experience required during first spring term
  • research paper (1.0 unit)
  • in addition, students must complete two program milestones (satisfied in PLAN 710):
    • project proposal development workshop
    • research plan - oral presentation (April of first year)

* Students without a background in planning are required to take 701. Students not required to take 701 must take an extra elective course.

* 1st year students should not enroll in PLAN 720, this course is a prerequiste for PLAN 721

2 years - 6 terms of full-time enrollment

5 years - 15 terms of part-time enrollment

Master of Environmental Studies in Planning (MES)

Thesis Option

  • five 700-level obligatory one-term courses: 700, 701*, 703, 704, and 710, for a total of 2.5 units
  • three 600-level elective one-term courses, taken from a list of approved courses, for a total of 1.5 units
  • two 700-level obligatory studio courses: 720, 721 (2.0 units)
  • work experience required during first spring term
  • thesis (2.0 units)
  • in addition, students must complete two program milestones (satisfied in PLAN 710):
    • project proposal development workshop
    • research plan - oral presentation (April of first year)

* Students without a background in planning are required to take 701. Students not required to take 701 must take an extra elective course.

* 1st year students should not enroll in PLAN 720, this course is a prerequiste for PLAN 721.

2 years - 6 terms of full-time enrollment

5 years - 15 terms of part-time enrollment

Master of Environmental Studies in Planning (MES)

Research paper option

  • five 700-level obligatory one-term courses: 700, 701*, 703, 704, and 710, for a total of 2.5 units
  • five 600-level elective one-term courses, taken from a list of approved courses, for a total of 1.5 units
  • two 700-level obligatory studio courses: 720, 721 (2.0 units)
  • work experience required during first spring term
  • research paper (1.0 units)
  • in addition, students must complete two program milestones (satisfied in PLAN 710):
    • project proposal development workshop
    • research plan - oral presentation (April of first year)

* Students without a background in planning are required to take 701. Students not required to take 701 must take an extra elective course.

* 1st year students should not enroll in PLAN 720, this course is a prerequiste for PLAN 721.

2 years - 6 terms of full-time enrollment

5 years - 15 terms of part-time enrollment

Alumni Success

Our MA and MES graduates have gone on to work in a variety of positions, including:

  • GIS System Manager, Planning Department, Government of Bermuda
  • Sales and Technical Representative, Solinst Canada Ltd., Georgtown, ON
  • Senior Research Officer, Marketing Research, Parks Canada, Cornwall, ON
  • Planner, Economic Development and Planning Consulting Services, Edmonton, AB

Recommended program sequence

Term 1 (Fall)

Courses: PLAN 700, 701* (if required), 704
*Students not required to take 701 should enroll in an elective course this term instead

Thesis & Master Research Paper Options:

  • Refine thesis/research paper topic area and explore relevant literature
  • Undertake discussions and draft research question

Term 2 (Winter)

Courses: PLAN 703, 710, 720, and one elective

Thesis & Master Research Paper Options:

  • Through efforts in PLAN 710, establish research question and develop thesis proposal, including a literature review (Research Proposal Plan milestone)

Milestones: The Project Proposal Development Workshop, and Research Proposal Plan milestones will be satisfied in PLAN 710.

Work experience: Develop work experience strategy including resume preparation, potential professional development activities, and begin searching for work placements for spring term (see note).
 

Term 3 (Spring)

Courses: If not doing a work experience, it is advisable to take electives in this term. If doing a work experience, a reading course (PLAN 675) may also be taken as an elective.

Thesis and Master Research Paper Options:

  • Plan and initiate data collection

Milestone: Work experience

Term 4 (Fall)

Courses: PLAN 721, remaining electives (typically two)

Thesis & Master Research Paper Options:

  • Data collection and analysis (complete by November)
  • Begin structuring thesis/research paper document and writing

Term 5 (Winter)

Thesis:

  • Target for completed draft by end of term
    • Submit draft of chapters to supervisor (March-May, terms 5 and 6); supervisor provides timely feedback (turnaround of two weeks should be expected)
    • Work on revisions as required (terms 5 and 6)
    • Draft to committee member in late April (at the latest)

Master’s Research Paper:

  • Target for completed draft by end of term
    • Write a major research paper which contains evidence of research, analysis and synthesis.
    • The research paper should be completed within two terms (terms 5 and 6)
    • Oral defense is not required
    • The research project is narrower in scope and shorter in length than a thesis and entails a lesser time commitment than a thesis
    • Details on the MRP requirements can be found here.

Term 6 (Spring)

Thesis:

  • Final version of thesis approved by supervisor in early June
    • If supervisor approves, send final draft of thesis to committee member for comments (May-June); committee member provides timely feedback (turnaround time of approximately two weeks)
    • Student incorporates committee member's comments, if recommended by the supervisor
  • Student and supervisor establish thesis completion logistics and timeline; identify reader https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-academic-calendar/environment/school-planning/master-arts-ma-planning
  • Supervisor contacts Graduate Program Administrator to initiate defence scheduling process (minimum 3 weeks prior to defence date); May-June defence date recommended
  • Student sends final thesis defence copy and necessary paperwork, including the MA-MES Thesis Completion Form, to Graduate Program Administrator
  • Oral defence completed and revisions as required as part of the defence decision
  • Upload approved thesis and complete formatting revisions (if required)
  • Notify Graduate Program Administrator that thesis is approved and archived; Intention to Graduate will then be submitted
    *For current tuition refund and convocation deadlines, please see the Calendar of Events & Academic Deadlines.

Master's Research Paper:

  • Examined by the supervisor and a reader and is made available for anyone in the University or general public to use
  • It is assessed by the supervisor and a reader, who review the paper independently, and then agree upon a final numerical grade.
  • The supervisor will contact the Graduate Program Administrator to report the final grade
  • The Graduate Program Administrator will fill out a Milestone Completion Form, include your grade and submit it to GSPA with appropriate signatures
  • Intentions to Graduate will then be submitted
    *For current tuition refund and convocation deadlines, please see the
    Calendar of Events & Academic Deadlines.

Elective courses

Students should consult with their supervisor(s) to determine which electives to take.

One of the electives may be a reading course (PLAN 675 - developed in consultation with supervisor/School of Planning faculty member and subject to approval by the Associate Director, Graduate Studies).

MES electives must be selected from a list of environmental/quantitative courses.

However, there are also possible choices of electives in other schools and departments in the Faculty of Environment. For example, the Department of Geography and Environmental Management (GEM), the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED), and the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS) offers courses that are quantitative, science and environmentally focused.

Should you find a course that is of interest to you in another department, and after consultation with your supervisor, a formal request should be submitted to the Graduate Administrator in the School of Planning. Final approval will be determined by the Associate Director, Graduate Studies to determine if the course meets the MES course elective description.You can visit the following links to review the course information. With this information please then visit the Schedule of Graduate Classes to check course availability.

https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-academic-calendar/graduate-course/subject/GEOG

 https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-academic-calendar/graduate-course/subject/GEMCC

 https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-academic-calendar/graduate-course/subject/ERS

 https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies-academic-calendar/graduate-course/subject/SUSM

Work experience

Students without prior work experience in planning are required to complete an experience during term 3 (spring). Students are responsible for locating suitable employment on their own. However, the Partnership Coordinator and the Associate Director, Graduate Studies, will connect with students regularly to help identify opportunities and provide guidance throughout the work experience process.

Other Requirements

Transfer between programs: permission to transfer from the Master of Planning (MPlan) program to the Master of Arts (MA) in Planning or Master of Environmental Studies (MES) in Planning programs, or from the MA or MES programs to the MPlan program, may be granted after the end of the first term of year one by their supervisor and the Associate Director, Graduate Studies (Graduate Officer) providing the student fulfills the requirements of the program they want to transfer to. Students in the thesis option may switch to the master’s research paper option (or vice-versa) by the end of their first academic year upon the approval from their supervisor and the Associate Director, Graduate Studies. A key requirement for MPlan students transferring to the MA or MES program is the written agreement of an appropriate faculty member to advise the students and of another appropriate faculty member to act as a committee member. The transfer does not imply any financial commitment by the School of Planning to support the student after the change in program of studies. However, this does not preclude a faculty member providing research support from grants or contract funds. To transfer programs or to change from the thesis option to the master's research paper option (or vice-versa), students must fill out the program/plan change form and submit it to the graduate administrator for further processing.