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Grad Program: Urban, Regional, and Community Planning

Basic Information

Urban planners are responsible for the design, construction and planning of cities and communities all over the world. They have knowledge of a wide range of factors involved in the development and maintenance of urban centers.

Graduate students in Urban Planning learn to understand the interrelationships between social, economic and political systems to transportation and spatial patterns. Students will learn techniques for critically assessing and developing urban areas. They also study developmental policies, problem identification and how to effectively generate and implement building plans. Focus is placed on the planning process along with critical analysis, evaluation, problem solving, development strategies and implementation.

Students may choose a concentration for a more focused study. Concentrations may include economic development and planning, international development and planning, physical planning, urban design, transportation planning, environmental planning and urban geographic information systems.

Degree Information

A Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) or Master of Science in Urban Planning (M.S.) takes from one to three years to complete and usually requires a thesis. Some universities have programs in which students can earn a joint master’s degree in planning and an allied field, such as architecture, with approximately three years of full time study. A Ph.D. in Urban Planning can take from two (if the student already possesses a master’s degree) to five years and normally require a dissertation as well as oral and written exams.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Will the program’s geographic location provide me with access to the kind of environments that interest me?
  • Who are the faculty members and what projects have they worked on?
  • Where do the alumni end up working? Have they stayed local? Do they support the school once they've left?
  • With what other departments does the urban planning department cooperate? Is it independent, or is it housed in the public policy or architecture departments?
  • What kind of field research do the students typically do?
  • What sort of assistantships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities are available?
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