Urban Planning Degree Programs and Schools

Urban planners contribute to the design and evolution of cities. Find out what undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in this field, and review what you'd study as an urban planning major. Get info on important factors to consider when choosing an urban planning degree program. Schools offering Land Use Planning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need To Know

Urban planners develop plans for the use of land in large cities. This may include both public and private lands. While the job field is expected to increase, there are a limited number of openings. Additionally, a graduate degree is typically required.

Courses Urban history, Public policy, Downtown development, Urban politics, Urban educational challenges, Environmental strategies, Urban communities, Planning sustainable cities
Salary (2014) $66,940 (for urban and regional planners)
Outlook 10% increase for urban and regional planners (2012-2022)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University

What Will I Study in an Undergraduate Urban Planning Program?

Urban planning is an interdisciplinary field. In an undergraduate program, you might take courses in subjects as seemingly unrelated as sociology, history and economics, but each of these will contribute to your overall understanding of the urban environment.

Aside from class work, an important part of an urban planning program is the internship. Schools are striving to turn out graduates with hands-on experience engaging with current-day urban issues, and requiring a certain number of fieldwork hours is one way to make this happen. Through your internship, you can learn more about the day-to-day life of an urban planner and make an educated decision about which specialty of urban life most appeals to you.

What Do Graduate-Level Programs Offer?

Graduate programs in urban planning allow you to choose from a list of sub-disciplines, so that when you graduate, you'll be prepared to enter the job market with considerable specific knowledge and hands-on experience. Some areas of graduate concentration include these:

  • Transportation planning
  • Architecture
  • Water management
  • Community economic development
  • Housing planning
  • Regional policy
  • Environmental policy

How Long Are The Programs?

Urban planning is offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. In a 4-year program, you can earn a bachelor's degree and either enter the workforce in entry-level planning jobs or continue your studies in a graduate program. Master's degree programs in urban planning are usually two years in duration, and Ph.D. programs vary in length, depending on how long it takes to complete your dissertation. The average length of Ph.D. programs is 5-7 years. Once you obtain a doctoral degree in urban planning, you can teach at the university level. Master's degree graduates can teach at community colleges.

How Do I Choose a School?

You'll spend a fair amount of time working in the closest urban community to the school you attend, so the location of the school is an important factor in deciding where to study. If working in the Big Apple appeals to you, you may want to consider urban planning programs in or around New York.

Because urban planning is such a collaborative field and because of the varying needs of schools' locales, schools differ considerably in what types of courses they offer and in how much choice students have in what they take. If you have very specific urban planning career goals - to work for the department of transportation in the city of St. Louis, for instance - your choice of where to study may be connected both to the school's proximity to St. Louis and to the available courses in transportation issues.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools