Students looking for online certificates in city planning can usually find them at four-year universities or colleges. These programs are often designed for experienced planners looking to advance their skills in the field, but some are available to students who are seeking foundational knowledge in city planning as well. In the latter case, a practicum or internship might be required to give those new to the field some real-world experience. Relevant programs may lead to certificates in urban, community or regional planning. They usually take around a year to earn.
Information and Requirements
Distance learners taking online city planning courses can typically access course materials any time through a virtual classroom website. Lectures, instructional aids and assignments are available there, along with discussion boards or class chat rooms to foster interaction. Some courses may use conferencing technology to hold live Web meetings. Although many schools offer online classes in this field, some do require on-campus coursework or practicums in approved settings.
Undergraduate City Planning Certificate
Certificate programs in urban planning and development are available to undergraduates, with some courses available online. A representative program includes 28-32 credits involving both required and elective courses. Within that framework, students may study the following areas:
- Development processes and financing
- Environmental planning
- Site analysis
- Historic preservation
- Water supply and land use management
- Geographic information systems/mapping
- Urban design
- Legal issues
Graduate City Planning Certificate
Graduate certificate programs in city or urban planning typically require around 15 credits and are intended for those with bachelor's degrees who have some relevant experience in the field. In addition to having to possibly complete a practicum, distance learners could take courses in the following topics:
- Land use law
- Geographic information systems
- Urban planning history
- Regional development theories
Professional Certification & Training
Members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) meet rigorous standards of education and experience which they are required to continually pursue in order to maintain the AICP certified planner status. AICP members may pursue specialty city planner designations, such as Certified Transportation Planner and Certified Environmental Planner.
AICP sponsors interactive Web and audio conferences with expert panels and that contain supplemental readings and assignments. Web conference participation helps professional planners earn their CM requirements. Sample topics include corridor retrofitting, hazard mitigation and transportation planning.
Continuing Education Information
Some universities offer continuing education certificate programs in city or community planning that include online or hybrid courses. These may not award college credits, but could still require students to have a bachelor's degree and a certain amount of related work experience. Online classes may cover subjects such as the following:
- Sustainable planning
- Community planning practices
- Redevelopment and revitalization
- Mobility planning
- Urban design
Because there are many issues to consider in city planning, from history to geography to municipal law, online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are highly interdisciplinary. Not only do students in these programs gain familiarity with these issues through lectures and assignments, but they also have the chance to discuss them with classmates and instructors through virtual platforms.