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Passing Professional Assessment Being a Precondition for Institutions to Authorize the Master of Urban Planning Degree
The office of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council released an announcement on Mar. 10 to clarify the quality requirements for the institutions applying for the right to authorize the Master of Urban Planning degree.

According to the announcement, all the institutions newly applying for the right to authorize the Master of Urban Planning degree have to pass the professional assessment of the Higher Education Evaluation Committee of the Major of Urban Planning (briefed as Evaluation Committee), which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development, and submit their applications within the validity period of the assessment. For those institutions who have already been approved for authorizing the Master of Urban Planning degree, the authorization right is only valid during the period that the assessment is qualified; and for those, to whom the Evaluation Committee decides terminating their qualifications, the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council will correspondingly terminate their degree authorization right temporarily or permanently. And for those institutions who intend to continue their degree authorization after their qualifications expire, they need to apply for a re-assessment to the Evaluation Committee. The Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council will determine whether these institutions could continue their degree authorization or not based on the assessment conclusion from the Evaluation Committee. Meanwhile, the announcement also requires that the urban planning and design institutions that have passed the assessment for authorizing the Master of Engineering degree before the release of the announcement (the assessment is still valid), have to get the permission from the Evaluation Committee before they apply for the right to authorize the Master of Urban Planning degree. And the specific review procedure and requirements for them should be determined by the Evaluation Committee.

Professional degrees are established to fulfill the demands of specific occupations in society, by training high-level application-oriented specialized talents who are capable of working in a creative way and have strong specialized capacity and professional attainment. The basic requirements for establishing a professional degree for a occupational field include: there is explicit occupational orientations, and a complete and systematic knowledge system has already been set up in the occupational field; the independent occupational technical standards, as well as the mature occupational norms and the specific occupational competence standards have been formed; there is a great demand for the talents of the corresponding occupational field. China began its pilot scheme to establish and conduct the education for professional degrees from 1990. Currently, the State Council has approved 39 professional degrees in China. Now the professional degree of urban planning is only conducted in master degree education.

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