Frequently Asked Questions

What is Planning?

Planning is a discipline that is broadly defined to include the organization and development of cities and regions in a sustainable way (economically, socially, and environmentally). Planners work on a variety of different types of projects, such as developing urban design guidelines, reviewing development proposals, and developing community grants programs.  Planning as a profession is regulated by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and their provincial affiliates much like engineering and architecture are regulated. Some additional information can be found at the What is Planning? page.

Is Planning right for me?

If you want to help make our communities more sustainable, livable and equitable, you might be interested in exploring more about the profession and our MPlan program. Our MPlan students bring their skill sets from their previous academic backgrounds as well as professional and personal experiences to make our program rich and dynamic. Take the first step to become part of this exciting profession that shapes the future of our cities.

Is the School of Planning MPlan program accredited?

The MPlan is an accredited program through the Professional Standards Board for the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP).

What is the length and general structure of the program?

Our MPlan program consists of two academic years, which includes five terms (Fall and Winter course-based terms in the 1st year, summer co-op work-term, and Fall and Winter course-based terms in the 2nd year).  For more information, please visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies website. 

How many students are typically accepted into the program each year?

The number varies year-to-year, but on the average, we have about 25 students. 

What is the cost of the MPlan for a Canadian Student?

That information can be found in the money matters guide.

What is the cost of the MPlan for an International Student?

That information can be found in the money matters guide.

Please note that international applicants are required to submit an official financial statement that demonstrates their financial capacity to support the students for the duration of their study.  A typical ‘official financial statement’ is a proof from a bank of the students themselves or their sponsor demonstrating sufficient available funds.  The amount of fund should be equivalent to the expenses for at least the first 12 months of study, including tuition, study supplies and living expenses for international students shown on the above website.   

Is the MPlan program thesis-based?

No. We have two Master’s level degree programs: MPlan and MPS.  MPlan is an accredited degree by the Canadian Institute of Planners and considered a professional program, while MPS is thesis-based.

MPlan students conduct an ‘independent project’, which is similar to thesis, but it allows students to conduct research projects that are more practice-oriented. 

MPS is for professional planners or students who have a bachelors degree in planning and want to deepen their understanding of planning practices as well as theories through extensive research.

Do I need a Planning undergraduate degree to qualify for entrance into the MPlan?

No.  Very few of our MPlan students have undergraduate degrees in planning.  We accept four-year bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of disciplines.  We will assess the skillsets and preparedness of applicants not just by the previous degree but also work and other life experiences.  Although typical students have backgrounds more traditionally aligned with planning (e.g., geography, political science, sociology, architecture, public health), some students have backgrounds such as English, Music, and History. 

Are there paid internship opportunities available to me as an MPlan student?

MPlan students are required to complete a co-op term.  It is a paid work-term with minimum of 500 hours during the summer between the first and second school year.  Some students continue working part-time with the co-op employer after the summer.      

Can I start the MPlan in January?

No.  Our curriculum is designed in sequence and students must take the first set of required courses in the Fall of the first school year. 

Can I take the MPlan on a part-time basis?

Our program is intensive, and most students dedicate their full-time to the program of study.  Students who wish to take the program on part-time basis should contact the School to discuss options.

What are the scholarships available to MPlan student who are entering the program each year?

We have a very limited number of departmental scholarships. Some students with high academic achievements prior may be offered a small amount (usually $1000 to $3000) of entrance scholarship by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  The school also employs many graduate students as teaching assistants and research assistants. Please refer to the Dalhousie University Collective Agreement for Teaching and Research Assistants. You may also apply for a federal level graduate scholarship before you are admitted to our program. Students may be eligible for Tri-council scholarship and other scholarships.

Is there a minimum English Language test score that applicants to the MPlan must have to be considered?

For the minimum language test scores required, please refer to the Admission Requirements page. We do not accept any students whose language scores are below the required level (I.e. We do not admit any students conditionally with the premise of meeting the required test scores later). 

Can you help with study permit and visa application?

The School of Planning cannot help with study permit or visa application.  You must contact the Canadian Consulate in your country.  Dalhousie University International Centre is a good resource to get some guidance.  Please review the International Centre website and contact them for further information.

Where can I send the application?

Details of the admission requirement, including what to send to the School of Planning, are described here

Please do not send any money to the School of Planning, including tuition fees. 

Once you are admitted to the program, the admission letter from the Faculty of Graduate Studies will indicate how to register for courses and how to pay the tuition.