Program in Bioregional Planning and Community Design

Jacobus (Jaap) Vos, Program Head (Urban Design Center; phone 208/334-2999;; Faculty: Gary Austin, Steve  Drown, Mike Lowry, Jerrold Long, David Paul, Nick Sanyal, Manoj Shrestha, Philip Watson.

The interdisciplinary program in Bioregional Planning and Community Design is administered by the College of Art and Architecture.

The Master of Science in Bioregional Planning and Community Design (BIOP) is an interdisciplinary, professional degree designed to prepare future leaders for roles in planning within both the public and private sectors and from local to international organizations. The BIOP program is distinguished from other planning programs around North America in three ways: 1) it represents a university-wide, interdisciplinary approach to planning involving eight UI colleges and nine academic departments; 2) it fully integrates education and research with community outreach; and 3) it supports, promotes and advances bioregional approach to planning that focuses on sustainable development, sustainable efficient conservation planning and management, and sustainable human quality-of-life within and across bioregions. Students have a unique opportunity to integrate sustainable approaches to planning in a rapidly developing region of the Intermountain West.

The curriculum includes a common core of required courses that link knowledge with practice, and fundamental theories with skills. Restricted elective requirements build on this core knowledge and skill while providing flexibility for the students to focus on their interest areas. Students also select one of several areas of specialization: 1) Regional Planning and Multi-jurisdictional Governance, 2) Community Design, 3) Community and Economic Development, 4) Transportation and Sustainable Infrastructure, 5) GIS and Spatial Analysis, 6) Natural Hazards and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation or, 7) Student designed option. These specializations provide connections between the BIOP program and the disciplines within the participating colleges and departments.

A 15-credit professional certificate is also available in the BIOP program. The certificate is designed for graduate students enrolled in various professional disciplines (e.g., transportation engineering, environmental and natural resource management, architecture, landscape architecture, public administration) who want some expertise in planning. Students earning the certificate will gain knowledge, skills, and values in bioregional planning and be able to effectively employ planning concepts and principles within their discipline.

Questions regarding the BIOP M.S. programs should be directed to


Admission to the graduate program is based on: ability to complete graduate-level work evidenced by undergraduate transcripts; the applicant's statement of research and career objectives; the compatibility of the student's objectives with program mission; and availability of graduate faculty to act as major advisor for the applicant. The GRE, applicant's statement of objectives, and three letters of recommendation and resume are required.


See course sections in Bioregional Planning and Community Design (BIOP).