Missouri State University
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Department of Geography, Geology and Planning  

For More Information

Planning Program Director

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5800
Fax: 417-836-6006
Email: Geography@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

Planning is a problem-solving profession concerned with the forces that influence the quality of life in the neighborhood, city, region, state or even nation. Planners address diverse public issues affecting where people live, work and play; where they shop and receive health care; how they get from place to place; and what peoples’ communities look like. Planners evaluate and resolve opposing demands, offer alternative uses and resources and develop positive, constructive suggestions for improvement. 

Graduates in planning are prepared to work in local, state and federal planning organizations; real estate marketing and development; state and federal governmental agencies; and planning consulting firms. Graduates of the Missouri State Planning program are well prepared for graduate studies in planning, public administration, urban affairs or tourism studies. The Missouri State Planning program is one of only 14 undergraduate planning programs in the United States with full accreditation from the Planning Accreditation Board.

Academic Program

The University recommends a college preparatory curriculum in high school for students who wish to work toward degrees in Planning. Coursework in earth science, geography, political science or government, mathematics and statistics provides a broad background applicable to this degree program. Good organizational ability and communication skills are essential.

The interdisciplinary program of studies in Planning at Missouri State leads to a comprehensive Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with two program options, Community and Regional Planning or Tourism Planning and Development. A minor is not required. The major is designed to meet the requirements of the professional planner with a strong emphasis on the actual practice of planning. Multi-disciplinary instruction allows students to acquire skills in the following areas: land use planning, neighborhood planning and site development; natural resource planning and management; real estate development, including the formulation of comprehensive feasibility reports; resort design and development; tourism planning; strategy and tactics in municipal zoning, grant writing and social and economic needs assessment; and environmental assessment and impact statements. Students often are placed in internships in planning offices or agencies where they can complete research tasks that are suitable as pre-professional experience in planning and resource allocation. Students also may receive pre-professional practical training by working for the Missouri State Center for Resource Planning and Management. The center engages in broadly based urban and regional planning and management in Missouri and surrounding states, including preparation of comprehensive development plans, mapping and cartographic services and assistance with data gathering and analysis for various governmental agencies and community groups.


Please consult the Missouri State University Undergraduate Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific course information.

Required Courses for all Planning Majors

  • PLN 100: Understanding Cities or GRY 100: World Regional Geography or GRY 108: Principles of Sustainability
  • PLN 367: Research Methods in Geography & Planning
  • PLN 371: History and Introduction to Planning
  • PLN 372: Community Development 
  • PLN 400: Communication Techniques in Planning
  • PLN 570: Planning Law 
  • PLN 571: Land Use Planning
  • PLN 576: Site Planning Studio
  • PLN 599: Internship in Community & Regional Planning
  • GRY 142: Introductory Physical Geography or GLG 110: Principles of Geology
  • GRY 321: Economic Geography
  • GRY 322: Urban Geography
  • GRY 363: Intro to Geographic Information Science
  • ECO 155: Principles of Macroeconomics
  • SOC 150: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 302: Statistics for Social Research

Additional Courses Required for Community and Regional Planning Option

  • PLN 572: Community Planning Practicum
  • PLS 351: Municipal Government and Administration
  • SOC 305: Population Analysis
  • An additional nine hours (at least five from GRY/GEO/PLN courses)

Additional Courses Required for Tourism Planning and Development Option

  • PLN 572: Community Planning Practicum
  • GRY 310: Fundamentals of Tourism
  • GRY 410: The Geotourism Industry
  • GRY 510: Applications in Sustainable Geotourism
  • HRA 340: Destination Development
  • An additional three hours from GRY/GEO/PLN/REC/HRA/ECO/HST courses

Minor in Community and Regional Planning 

The Department of Geography, Geology and Planning also offers a minor in Community and Regional Planning. Required courses for the minor are as follows:

  • PLN 371: History and Introduction to Planning
  • PLN 367: Research Methods in Geography and Planning
  • PLN 372: Community Development
  • PLN 570: Planning Law
  • PLN 571: Land Use Planning
  • PLN 572: Community Planning Practicum
  • GRY 322: Urban Geography

Planning Certificate Program

A Certificate Program for Planning and Development is offered by the Department. This 13-credit hour program is aimed at Missouri State students and others in the broader community who wish to obtain a basic background in planning and development studies.


The Department of Geography, Geology and Planning is staffed by 23 full-time faculty members, five of whom teach planning courses. Professional planners from local planning agencies are employed as adjunct faculty to teach courses in key specialties within the curriculum.


The department possesses excellent research and teaching facilities and equipment. Most of these materials are housed in Temple Hall and include a map library, computer laboratories, seminar rooms and an exceptionally good line of scientific equipment. The department also houses large and well-equipped laboratories for cartography, photogrammetry and aerial photography. These facilities give students access to microcomputers, photogrammetric mapping equipment and digital mapping and land use analysis equipment using ARC-INFO geographic information systems software. The university also has an on-line capability with advanced computer-based land resource analysis systems.

Special Opportunities & Services

Students majoring in Planning have opportunities for learning and social activities through membership in the Missouri Association of Planning Students (MAPS), the only student planning organization in Missouri.  The Center for Resource Planning and Management provide opportunities for direct observation and on-the-job learning. A senior seminar provides assistance in preparing for graduate studies and guidance for the job search.

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

Freshman Year

First Semester Courses Hours
GEP 101 First Year Foundations 2
ENG 110 or COM 115: Writing I or Public Speaking 3
CSC 101 or CIS 101: Intro. to Computing 2
HST 121 or 122: U.S. History 3
PLN 100 Understanding Cities 3
General Education -- Self Understanding 3
Total Hours 16
Second Semester Courses Hours
COM 115 or ENG 110: Public Speaking or Writing I 3
KIN 100 Fitness for Living 2
MTH 135 College Algebra 3
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship 3
GRY 142 Introductory Physical Geography 4
Total Hours 15

Sophomore Year

First Semester Courses Hours
SOC 150 Introduction to Society 3
ECO 155 Principles of Macroeconomics 3
PLN 371 History and Introduction to Planning 3
Gen. Ed. -- Natural World other than GRY/GLG 4
General Education -- Self Understanding 3
Total Hours 16
Second Semester Courses Hours
Writing II 3
SOC 302 Statistics for Social Research 3
PLN 372 Planning Theory and Ethics 3
GRY 321 Economic Geography 3
GRY 363 Introduction to Geographic Information Science 4
Total Hours 16