About the Program

The Master of Arts in Community Planning, Policy, and Design* (CPAD) degree program addresses the many dimensions of community building. It is the only urban design program in the United States that was founded with social justice and equality as core values. Its innovative curriculum is designed to empower graduates to develop “progressive traditional” urban design skills while gaining knowledge of public policy, real estate economics, and practical transportation/land-use planning expressly to. The focus of the program is on the growing intersection of these skills and knowledge in today’s vibrant and increasingly complex development environment. CPAD is jointly housed in the College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities and the Historic Preservation and Community Planning program.

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Program Learning Outcomes: Skills and Knowledge

  1. Through a thoughtfully developed sequence of both theoretical and applied learning experiences, program graduates will be able to identify, classify and define specific architectural and urban design ideas and forms in Charleston, the Lowcountry, the nation, and the globe. 
  2. Graduates will recognize planning policy issues and real estate challenges that are affected by social, economic, environmental, ethical, scientific and political challenges in the 21st Century
  3. Students will develop comprehensive design skills that can be applied to local, regional, national and international urban design issues and challenges. 
  4. Students will be able to analyze urban design challenges in a diverse array of national and international contexts and infer appropriate solutions.
  5. Program graduates will be able to integrate solutions into the urban fabric of cities and effectively communicate Community Planning, Policy, and Design ideas, forms and plans to varied professional and lay audiences utilizing practiced technologies and methodologies in digital media.
  6. Grounded in humanist Community Planning, Policy and Design ideals, students will critically assess urban design challenges and justify solutions to clients, coworkers, politicians and developers that actively conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate urban design theory, concepts and methods in real world scenarios.

Modalities of Instruction


Aspirational Career Sector

  • 54. Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services (Legal, CPA & Taxes, Architect & Landscape, Engineering, Design Services, Computer Systems, Administrative Professional Consulting, Scientific R&D, PR Marketing & Advertising, Photography, Translation & Interpretation Services, Veterinary Services)
  • 61. Education
  • 92. Public Administration, National Security, & Government Services (including cybersecurity)
  • 81. Other Services (except Public Administration);Urban Design;