Studio project courses

The School seeks team-based projects that could meet your needs for applied research on subjects such as planning for healthy communities, transportation, heritage, housing, land use, environment, demographics, economic development, and urban design.

Examples of projects could include preparation of an urban design guide/manual; an issue analysis and recommendation report; an inventory and analysis study; an economic development strategy; a public participation strategy; fiscal impact analysis for a land development plan; or an environmental assessment for a project, among many other possibilities.

Our project courses

Our student project teams are drawn from two MA/MES (Planning) courses: PLAN 720 (Introductory Planning Project Studio) and 721 (Advanced Planning Project Studio), and from our senior undergraduate capstone course PLAN 405 (Integrated Planning Project). Samples of past project work are available for viewing.

PLAN 405 – Integrated Planning Project

This senior level course provides an opportunity for students to integrate their planning skills and knowledge in an applied context. Working under the supervision of Planning faculty, student groups will tackle case studies based on local real-world examples. The projects will require an integrative approach with required design, analytic, and theoretical elements. Students will develop, implement, and present their term projects in a professional setting.

PLAN 720 – Introductory Planning Project Studio

This studio course introduces students to the process of collaborative problem solving central in Planning practice. Students work in teams, led by faculty facilitators, in applying theory and knowledge from Planning and related disciplines to problems drawn from the local community planning context. The emphasis is on the development of student skills including design, plan making, teamwork, creativity, negotiation, management, and policy application and creation. Problem based learning, reflection on process and communications are central in this course.

Dr. Khirfan and students in the studio

PLAN 721 – Advanced Planning Project Studio

This student-centered studio course involves partnering with a local community, providing student led groups on opportunity to emulate professional practice under the guidance of an assigned faculty member. Skills and knowledge developed in the introductory studio course are enhanced and important community engagement skills are emphasized in the chosen project. Reflective learning is central as students are expected to assess the process, the outcome, and the interrelationship between them. Community presentation of the problem solution is required.

Guaranteed value

By working with our students, you will be provided with their creativity, expertise, and knowledge that is guided by experienced instructors from our faculty. By meeting your needs for applied research on various subjects related to planning, our project courses provide value to you as a client, while also providing our students with the opportunity to enrich their educational experience.

What to expect as a client

As a client, you can expect our students to provide you with quality research and work. There are no costs associated with our project courses, and no direct role of student supervision as clients. Regularly scheduled meetings are recommended as you work with our students over the term, to provide them with a clear sense of what is expected and track the progress of the project. As a client, you will have ownership of the final product developed by our students and the ability to use their work to your preference.


Winter term: January - April

If you are interested, or would like additional information about this initiative, please contact:

Dr. Mark Seasons, FCIP, RPP
School of Planning
University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Tel: 519-888-4567, ext. 45922