The mission of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) at Jackson State University, "Mississippi's Urban University" and only planning degree granting program in the State, is to specialize and train students to pursue exciting careers in community development and housing, environment and land use, and urban design; to create a diverse learning community in the field of planning; to provide students with the skills and knowledge to lead and contribute to the improvement of urban and regional environments; to prepare students to understand and serve a diverse and multicultural society; and to increase the number of members from under-represented groups in the professional ranks.

Become a planning program of choice that prepares the next generation of urban and regional planners.

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning seeks to produce leaders in the field of city planning.  The Master of Arts and Doctoral Programs provide students with learning opportunities that enable them to develop the intellectual qualities necessary for meeting the broad and varied range of problems and challenges associated with urban growth and development.

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning began in academic year 1998-1999 as the culmination of long-term discussions between the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and stakeholders of Jackson State University. The impetus for the program evolved from the desire to establish a regionally recognized planning program, which became the only planning program in the State.

The program grew out of the settlement of a decade-long suit that challenged the disparity in funding between the State's public majority institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  The settlement created new programs with better funding.  Jackson State University's Urban and Regional Planning Program was one of the settlement's beneficiaries.  The settlement and funding appropriations is named after its principal plaintiff, Mr. Jake Ayers. 

DURP was organizationally located within the College of Liberal Arts from its inception until 2003, when it moved to the School of Policy and Planning in the College of Public Service.  This move was brought on by the University's reorganization in 2003, which placed Urban and Regional Planning along with Public Policy and Administration in the newly created School of Policy and Planning.  During the restructuring, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning also acquired the undergraduate program in Urban Studies, which had formerly been aligned with Sociology/Criminal Justice in the College of Liberal Arts.  The current department-based structure was implemented during the academic year 2014-2015.

As the program continues to grow, greater emphasis has also been placed on the integration of knowledge and skills, so that concepts, theories, and other knowledge acquired in one course strengthens the students' ability to synthesize information and increases their capability in applying such knowledge and skills to various planning scenarios.  

In 2000, the first graduates received the Master of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning and by August 2006, the program graduated its' 26th student. The number of M.A. graduates rose to 69 during the summer of 2013.

The DURP Current Strategic Plan CURRENT STRATEGIC PLAN – VISION 2021