PhD Programs in Urban Planning

Discover the ins and outs of Urban Planning Ph.D. programs including an overview of these programs, courses you can expect to run into, and admission requirements. Schools offering Land Use Planning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Urban Planning Ph.D. Program Information

Students in Ph.D. programs in urban planning learn about the various practices, techniques, technologies, and philosophical/ethical approaches to urban planning. These programs often involve a heavy focus on research. The length of these programs can vary based not only on differences between programs, but also based on the type of starting degree required for these programs, with advanced standing programs for those with a master's degree taking as few as 32 credit hours, and other programs requiring as many as 84.

Students in these programs study topics in urban planning such as economic development, globalization, sustainability, geographic information systems, and many more through core-content and specialized courses, a sampling of which are described ahead.

Data Analysis for Planning and Management

An introduction to the data analysis methods commonly employed in this field. Students in this course gain skills in quantitative research, data gathering, and statistical interpolation. Students also delve into the computational skills associated with this type of data gathering, analysis, and application in the urban planning field. Students might also study variables, outliers, conditions that might make data limited and conditions that might prevent data from being perfect.

Planning Methods

This course introduces students to the various planning methods used within the field of urban planning. Students study how cities grow, how socioeconomic status impacts city development, and what environmental issues, or other issues, can arise during the planning process. Students might also learn about the potential ethical dilemmas that might arise in this field of work, as well as the practical logistics of working in this field.

Geographic Information Systems

Students in this course study the various geographic information systems as well as their practical use in the field of urban planning and how they can help guide planning policy and help us understand spatial relationships. Students examine topics and functions such as spatial data analysis, utility network analysis, and associated statistical information. Students might also take a look at the various programs and technologies associated with geographic information systems, such as 3D imaging technology and computer-assisted planning and design technologies.

Geospatial Analysis and Visualization

Visualization methods, implementations, and techniques will be discussed in this course, especially as they relate to spatial relationships and planning in the urban environment. Students look closely at web mapping or other geographic information systems techniques in more specific detail and in practical situations to gain a fuller understanding of how these methods of visual representation can assist and inform urban planning. Students also learn about how to most effectively communicate geospatial information through a visual representation of data.

Sustainability

Courses on sustainability instruct students on the practices and policies involved in sustainable planning, as well as what role urban planning has in maintaining the environment and increasing the sustainability of cities, developments, and housing. Students tackle sustainability as both a helpful concept for organizing planning as well as a difficult goal to strive for. Sustainability might also be examined in terms of affordable housing, especially for different demographics and socioeconomic groups.

Ph.D. Programs in Urban Planning Admission Requirements

For these degree programs, students generally need to have completed an undergraduate degree in urban planning or a related field such as architecture, geography, sustainability, or public policy. Some schools limit admissions to those who have completed a master's degree program in these or related fields. Prospective students will also generally need to have maintained a 3.0 or greater GPA during all previous postsecondary schooling.

A statement of purpose is stressed as an important admission requirement for these programs, wherein students can describe in their own words their own objectives, personal history, and motivations within the field of study. Letters of recommendation help to further flesh out an applicant from the perspective of previous educators. Students might need to submit GRE scores and will need to submit official transcripts. International students will also need to demonstrate English proficiency, usually through the submission of TOEFL scores.

In short, Ph.D. programs in urban planning offer a variety of courses to help students learn about the various techniques, technologies, and considerations involved in urban planning. Admissions requirements include the completion of a postsecondary degree, a 3.0 or higher GPA, and a statement of purpose.

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

  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Florida State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Tallahassee
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Chapel Hill
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Champaign
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Campus Locations:

    • Hawaii: Honolulu
  • The University of Texas at Austin

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin
  • Texas Southern University

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Houston
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • Columbia University in the City of New York

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford