Urban planning education

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University-level urban planning education is offered as an academic degree in urban, city or regional planning, awarded as either an Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, or Doctorate.

Since planning programs are usually small, they tend not to be housed in distinct "planning schools" but rather, as part of an architecture school, a design school, a geography department, or a public policy school, since these are cognate fields. Generally speaking, planning programs in architecture schools focus primarily on physical planning and design, while those in policy schools tend to focus on policy and administration.

As urban planning is such a broad and interdisciplinary field, a typical planning degree program emphasizes breadth over depth, with core coursework that provides background for all areas of planning. Core courses typically include coursework in history/theory of urban planning, urban design, statistics, land use/planning law, urban economics, and planning practice. Many planning degree programs also allow a student to "concentrate" in a specific area of interest within planning, such as land use, environmental planning, housing, community development, economic development, historic preservation, international development, urban design, transportation planning, or geographic information systems (GIS). Some programs permit a student to concentrate in real estate, however, graduate real estate education has changed giving rise to specialized real estate programs.

Bachelor-degree in urban planning[edit]

Bachelor of Planning (B.Plan) is an undergraduate academic degree designed to judiciously train applicants in various aspects of designing, engineering, managing and resolving challenges related to urban human settlements. It is awarded for a course of study that lasts up to four years and contextual to modern challenges of urbanisation. It goes into the techniques and theories related to settlement design starting at the site planning level of a neighbourhood and moving up to the regional city planning context. Understanding relations between built forms and the citizens in cities and rural areas, and their implications on local environment, supporting utilities, transport networks, and physical infrastructure forms the core of the planning course. With an engineering orientation, the graduates emerging as urban planners are equipped with not only tools for rational comprehensive planning but also participatory and societal development.

The degree may be awarded as a Bachelor of Arts in Geography with an emphasis in urban planning, Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning, or Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning. The distinction reflects university policies, or some universities may have greater course offerings in urban planning, design, sociology, or a related degree.

Master of Urban Planning[edit]

The Master of Urban Planning (MUP) is a two-year academic/professional master's degree that qualifies graduates to work as urban planners. Some schools offer the degree as a Master of City Planning (MCP), Master of Community Planning, Master of Regional Planning (MRP), Master of Town Planning (MTP), Master of Planning (MPlan), Master of Environmental Planning (MEP) or in some combination of the aforementioned (e.g., Master of Urban and Regional Planning), depending on the program's specific focus. Some schools offer a Master of Arts or Master of Science in planning. Regardless of the name, the degree remains generally the same.

A thesis, final project or capstone project is usually required to graduate. Additionally, an internship component is almost always mandatory due to the high value placed on work experience by prospective employers in the field.

Like most professional Master's degree programs, the MUP is a terminal degree. However, some graduates choose to continue on to doctoral studies in urban planning or cognate fields. The PhD is a research degree, as opposed to the professional MUP, and thus focuses on training planners to engage in scholarly activity directed towards providing greater insight into the discipline and underlying issues related to urban development.

Accreditation in North America[edit]

Accreditation is a system for recognizing educational institutions and professional programs affiliated with those institutions for a level of performance, integrity, and quality.[1] The Planning Accreditation Board is the sole accreditor of planning programs in the United States. The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredits graduate and undergraduate planning programs in the United States and Canada.[2]

As of January 1, 2014, PAB accredits 15 undergraduate programs and 73 graduate programs in 77 North America Universities.

The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelors and masters degrees in planning. The accreditation process is based on standards approved by the PAB and its sponsoring organizations: the American Planning Association (APA); the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) (the professional planners’ institute within the American Planning Association); and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).[2]

Graduation from a PAB accredited program allows a graduate to sit for the AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) Certification Exam earlier in their career than a student with a degree from a non-accredited program or school.

Programs that desire accreditation through the PAB must apply for candidacy status. The program seeking candidacy must demonstrate that they meet the five preconditions to accreditation.[3] The five preconditions are:[4]

  • Program graduation of at least 25 students in the degree.
  • Program's parent institution must be accredited by an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • Formal title of program and degree offered must include the term "Planning".
  • Undergraduate programs must offer 4 full-time years of study or equivalent, while graduate programs must be 2 full-time years of study or equivalent.
  • Program's primary goal is to educate students to become practicing planning professionals.


Once the preconditions have successfully been met by the program, the program must complete and submit a Self-Study Report.[5] Through the Self-Study Report, the program assesses their performance and compliance with PAB's accreditation standards. This report serves as the basis of review for the Planning Accreditation Board, along with a formal meeting with the Program Administrator at the Board meeting. [3]

If candidacy is awarded, the Planning Accreditation Board will send a three member team to visit and formally review the program during a semester. The three member team will meet with faculty, staff, students, and members of the local planning community. The team will then submit a Site Visit Report to the Planning Accreditation Board. During the meeting of the Planning Accreditation Board, the board will review the Self-Study Report, Site Visit Report and other documentation and meet with the Program Administrator. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board decides if the program is awarded accreditation and the length of accreditation.[3]

Accreditation length is dependent on the extent the program complies with requirements of the Planning Accreditation Board, with the maximum length awarded is 7 years.[6] Programs must re-apply for accreditation in the year their accreditation term expires.

Accredited planning programs[edit]

For current information on PAB accredited programs, please visit the Planning Accreditation Board website.

United States of America[edit]

School City State Undergraduate[2] Since[7] Graduate[2] Since[7] Accreditation Through[2]
Alabama A&M University Normal AL Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning 1986 Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1976 December 31, 2015
Auburn University Auburn AL not offered Master of Community Planning 2005 December 31, 2014
Arizona State University Tempe AZ Bachelor of Science in Planning 2002 Master of Urban & Environmental Planning 1992 December 31, 2018
University of Arizona Tucson AZ not offered Master of Science in Planning 1998 December 31, 2014
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo CA Bachelor of Science in City & Regional Planning 1973 Master of City & Regional Planning 1993 December 31, 2017
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Pomona CA Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning 1970 Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1972 December 31, 2015
San Jose State University San Jose CA not offered Master of Urban Planning 1972 December 31, 2016
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley CA not offered Master of City Planning 1960 December 31, 2017
University of California, Irvine Irvine CA not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1998 December 31, 2014
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles CA not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1971 December 31, 2019
University of Southern California Los Angeles CA offered but not accredited Master of Planning 1967 December 31, 2014
University of Colorado, Denver Denver CO not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1975 December 31, 2016
Florida Atlantic University Fort Lauderdale FL offered but not accredited 2011 Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1995 December 31, 2015
Florida State University Tallahassee FL not offered Master of Science in Planning 1965 December 31, 2017
University of Florida Gainesville FL not offered Master of Arts in Urban & Regional Planning 1978 December 31, 2019
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta GA not offered Master of City & Regional Planning 1969 December 31, 2019
University of Hawaii Honolulu HI not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1981 December 31, 2017
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago IL offered but not accredited Master of Urban Planning & Policy 1979 December 31, 2019
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign IL Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning 1953 Master of Urban Planning 1945 December 31, 2016
Ball State University Muncie IN Bachelor of Urban Planning & Development 1995 Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1993 December 31, 2017
Iowa State University Ames IA Bachelor of Science in Community & Regional Planning 1979 Master of Community & Regional Planning 1979 December 31, 2017
University of Iowa Iowa City IA not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1970 December 31, 2020
Kansas State University Manhattan KS not offered Master of Regional & Community Planning 1961 December 31, 2017
University of Kansas Lawrence KS not offered Master of Urban Planning 1983 December 31, 2017
University of Louisville Louisville KY not offered Master of Urban Planning 2010 December 31, 2016
University of New Orleans New Orleans LA offered but not accredited Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1976 December 31, 2018
University of Southern Maine Portland ME not offered Master in Community Planning and Development** December 31, 2014**
Morgan State University Baltimore MD not offered Master of City & Regional Planning 1973 December 31, 2015
University of Maryland at College Park College Park MD not offered Master of Community Planning 1978 December 31, 2020
Harvard University Cambridge MA not offered Master in Urban Planning 1923–1984; 1997 December 31, 2017
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge MA offered but not accredited Master in City Planning 1932 December 31, 2017
Tufts University Medford MA not offered Master of Arts in Urban, Environmental Policy & Planning 2004 December 31, 2018
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst MA not offered Master of Regional Planning 1987 December 31, 2014
Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti MI Bachelor of Science or Arts in Urban & Regional Planning 1998 offered but not accredited December 31, 2020
Michigan State University East Lansing MI Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning 1959 Master in Urban & Regional Planning 1959 December 31, 2014
University of Michigan Ann Arbor MI not offered Master of Urban Planning 1968 December 31, 2015
Wayne State University Detroit MI not offered Master of Urban Planning 1975–1985; 1997 December 31, 2017
University of Minnesota Minneapolis MN offered but not accredited Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1982 December 31, 2015
Jackson State University Jackson MS not offered Master of Arts in Urban & Regional Planning 2010 December 31, 2014
Missouri State University Springfield MO Bachelor of Science in Planning 2004 not offered December 31, 2018
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln NE not offered Master of Community & Regional Planning 1978 December 31, 2016
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick NJ offered but not accredited Master of City & Regional Planning 1968 December 31, 2014
University of New Mexico Albuquerque NM offered but not accredited Master of Community & Regional Planning 1987 December 31, 2014
Columbia University New York NY not offered Master of Science in Urban Planning 1945 December 31, 2014
Cornell University Ithaca NY offered but not accredited Master of Regional Planning 1959 December 31, 2014
Hunter College, City University of New York New York NY not offered Master in Urban Planning 1969 December 31, 2017
New York University New York NY not offered Master of Urban Planning 1961 December 31, 2017
Pratt Institute Brooklyn NY not offered Master of Science in City & Regional Planning 1962 December 31, 2014
University at Albany, State University of New York Albany NY offered but not accredited Master of urban & Regional Planning 2000 December 31, 2016
University at Buffalo, State University of New York Buffalo NY not offered Master of Urban Planning 1988 December 31, 2014
East Carolina University Greenville NC Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning 2003 not offered December 31, 2015
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill NC not offered Master of City & Regional Planning December 31, 2014
Cleveland State University Cleveland OH not offered Master of Urban Planning, Design & Development 1998 December 31, 2014
Ohio State University Columbus OH Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning** Master of City & Regional Planning 1961 December 31, 2018
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati OH Bachelor of Urban Planning 1966 Master of Community Planning 1964 December 31, 2014
University of Oklahoma Norman OK not offered Master of Regional & City Planning 1957–1966; 1992 December 31, 2016
Portland State University Portland OR not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1980 December 31, 2018
University of Oregon Eugene OR not offered Master of Community & Regional Planning 1970 December 31, 2016
Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana PA Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning not offered December 31, 2016
Temple University Ambler PA Bachelor of Science in Community & Regional Planning Master of Community & Regional Planning December 31, 2015
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia PA not offered Master of City Planning 1969 December 31, 2014
Clemson University Clemson SC not offered Master of City & Regional Planning 1972 December 31, 2014
University of Memphis Memphis TN not offered Master of City & Regional Planning 1981 December 31, 2018
Texas A&M University College Station TX not offered Master of Urban Planning 1968 December 31, 2018
Texas Southern University Houston TX not offered Master of Urban Planning & Environmental Policy 2009 December 31, 2018
The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington TX not offered Master of City & Regional Planning 1978 December 31, 2015
The University of Texas at Austin Austin TX not offered Master of Science in Community & Regional Planning 1969 December 31, 2017
University of Utah Salt Lake City UT offered but not accredited Master of City & Metropolitan Planning 2011 December 31, 2014
University of Virginia Charlottesville VA Bachelor of Urban & Environmental Planning 1963 Master of Urban & Environmental Planning 1968 December 31, 2020
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond VA not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1977 December 31, 2014
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Blacksburg VA not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1961 December 31, 2014
Eastern Washington University Cheney WA Bachelor of Arts in Urban & Regional Planning 1983 Master of Urban & Regional Planning 1983 December 31, 2014
University of Washington Seattle WA offered but not accredited Master of Urban Planning 1941 December 31, 2015
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison WI not offered Master of Science in Urban & Regional Planning 1962 December 31, 2016
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Milwaukee WI not offered Master of Urban Planning 1974 December 31, 2018

Canada and Puerto Rico[edit]

School City Province/Territory Undergraduate[2] Since[7] Graduate[2] Since[7] Accreditation Through[2]
Université de Montréal Montréal QC Baccalauréat Spécialisé en Urbanisme 1982 Maîtrise en Urbanisme 1965 December 31, 2013
University of British Columbia Vancouver BC not offered Master of Arts/Science (Planning) 1970 December 31, 2016
Universidad de Puerto Rico San Juan Puerto Rico offered but not accredited 1977 Maestría en Planificación Urbana y Territorial April 17, 1997 December 31, 2017

(** candidate for accreditation)

Accreditation in the Republic of India[edit]

Though Planning as a Profession is not a recognized profession under Indian law, the profession was started long back with School of Planning and Architecture in 1941 as a Department of Architecture of Delhi Polytechnic. It was later integrated with the School of Town and Country Planning which was established in 1955 by the Government of India to provide facilities for rural, urban and regional planning. On integration, the School was renamed as school of planning and architecture in 1959. Today it is one of the premier schools of pursuing planning studies at bachelor, masters and post doctorate levels. The Institute of Town Planners, India set up on the lines of the [Royal Town Planning Institute, London] is the body representing planning professionals in India. A small group formed itself into an Indian Board of Town Planners which after three years of continuous work formed the Institute of Town Planners, India. The Institute which was established in July 1951, Today, has a membership of over 2,800, apart from a sizable number of student members, many of whom have qualified Assocaiteship Examination (AITP) conducted by ITPI. Institutes under ITPI offers a 4 year undergraduate degree in Planning.

School Location Undergraduate Graduate
School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi New Delhi Bachelor of Planning Master of Planning
School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada Vijayawada, AP Bachelor of Planning Master of Planning
School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal Bhopal, MP Bachelor of Planning Master of Planning
School of Planning, Bhaikaka Centre for Human Settlements,APIED Vallabh Vidhyanagar,Anand,Gujrat not offered Master of Urban Planning
Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal Bhopal, MP Bachelor of Planning Master of Urban Development & Planning
Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Surat Surat, Gujarat not offered Master of Technology in Urban Planning
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur Kharagpur, WB not offered Master of Planning
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee Roorkee, UK not offered Master of Planning
Pune Institute of Engineering & Technology Pune, MH not offered Master of Planning
College of Engineering, Pune Shivaji Nagar, Pune, MH B.Tech (Planning) Master of Urban & Regional Planning
Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology Ahmadabad, GJ Bachelor of Planning Master of Planning
Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar, PB Bachelor of Technology (Planning) Master of Urban Planning
Anna University Chennai, TN not offered Master of Planning
University of Mysore Mysore, KN not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning
Bengal Engineering and Science University Howrah, WB not offered Master of Urban & Regional Planning
Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur (Rajasthan) not offered Master of Planning
College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) not offered M. Plan (Housing)
Birla Institute of Technology Ranchi (MESRA), Jharkhand not offered Master of Urban Planning (Town Planning)
Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University Hyderabad, AP Bachelor of Planning Master of Planning

Rankings[edit]

United States of America[edit]

While there is no official ranking of the graduate programs for planning, planning-community site Planetizen and college guide Best Colleges publish periodic lists of the Top US planning graduate programs, and the AICP provides a listing of currently- and formerly-accredited programs sorted by proportion of recent graduates passing its certification exam. The Best Colleges and Planetizen top-ranked schools aren't all at the top of the exam pass-rate rankings, but the two guides broadly agree on which schools are best.

University
(in alphabetical order)
Best Colleges Rank
(2013)[8]
Planetizen Rank
(2012)[9]
Planetizen Rank
(2009)[10]
AICP Pass Rate[11]
Cornell University
Master of Regional Planning
7 2 6 82% (58/71)
Georgia Institute of Technology
Master of City and Regional Planning
NR 8 NR 84% (132/157)
Harvard University
Master in Urban Planning
4 NR 7 79% (44/56)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Master in City Planning
8 1 1 87% (65/75)
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Master of City and Regional Planning
6 3 4 76% (102/135)
University of California, Berkeley
Master of City Planning
9 4 2 90% (62/69)
University of California, Los Angeles
Master of Urban and Regional Planning
2 9 8 84% (57/68)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Master of Urban Planning
5 5 5 88% (75/85)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Master of City and Regional Planning
10 6 3 93% (95/102)
University of Pennsylvania
Master of City Planning
3 10 10 89% (151/169)
University of Southern California
Master of Planning
1 7 9 69% (68/99)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Planning Accreditation Board
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Accredited Planning Programs". Planning Accreditation Board. 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Candidacy Information". Planning Accreditation Board. 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Application for Candidacy Status
  5. ^ Self-Study Report Manual
  6. ^ The Accreditation Document, Pg. 38
  7. ^ a b c d "History of Accredited Programs". Planning Accreditation Board. 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "2013 Top Urban Planning Schools". Best Colleges. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "2012 Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs". Planetizen Press. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "2009 Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs". Planetizen Press. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "AICP Exam Pass Rates". American Planning Association. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 

External links[edit]