Aspiring urban planners may choose from bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Programs at all levels are designed to prepare graduates to conduct independent research and to work with professionals from a wide range of disciplines, from architecture to sociology, to address issues of urban development and community relations.
Top 10 Schools with Degrees in Urban Planning
Here is a list of top schools that offer urban planning at various degree levels:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016, In-state)*|
|University of Kansas||Lawrence, KS||4-year, Public||Master's||Undergraduate: $9,029|
|Arizona State University||Tempe, AZ||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $10,158; Graduate: $10,610|
|Cleveland State University||Cleveland, OH||4-year, Public||Master's, Master's/J.D.||Graduate: $9,565|
|New York University||New York, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's/Master's, Master's||Undergraduate: $47,750; Graduate: $38,592|
|Northern Illinois University||Dekalb, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $14,295; Graduate: $8,176|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $8,591; Graduate: $9,143|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $50,277; Graduate: $39,984|
|University of North Texas||Denton, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||Undergraduate: $9,730; Graduate: $5,450|
|University of Illinois - Chicago||Chicago, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||Undergraduate: $13,664; Graduate: $13,447|
|Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Doctoral||Undergraduate: $43,318; Graduate: $33,312|
*Source: National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Since there are many schools that offer programs in urban planning, it is important to consider the following when choosing a program:
- Students may want to consider if there is a particular urban environment they wish to focus on. Urban studies programs may focus on the particular environment within which they are located.
- Students may want to consider the program curriculum. Some programs are interdisciplinary while others might allow students to specialize in a sub-discipline.
- Students may want to research faculty to find out if they are involved with local projects and if they can introduce students to a network of professional contacts.
- Consider programs that are accredited with the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), as employers are more likely to hire individuals who have completed degrees from accredited programs.
Bachelor's Degrees in Urban Studies
These 4-year programs offer general education courses, as well as courses in the different fields encompassed by urban planning. Graduates may find entry-level positions, or they may continue on to graduate school.
Master's Degrees in City Planning
These 2-year programs often include a substantial fieldwork component, and they culminate in either a comprehensive exam or a thesis project. Programs also involve focused study in a specialization, such as design and development, environmental analysis or community economics.
Doctoral Degrees in Urban Planning
Doctoral degree programs may take 4-7 years to complete, depending on dissertation field research.
There are many options for individuals interested in a degree in urban planning. Prospective urban planning students should consider the program's focus, specialization options, accreditation and opportunities for professional contacts.