City and Regional Planning Doctor of Philosophy

About us

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in city and regional planning trains students to undertake interdisciplinary, independent, applied research on urban and regional problems and planning processes. The PhD program divides itself naturally into three stages. First, the student takes courses to master the theory and analytical tools of planning, culminating in the Candidacy Examination. Second, the student formulates a topic for dissertation research, and writes a formal dissertation proposal which must be approved by the dissertation committee. Third, the dissertation research is executed, and the result is written up and defended (presented) in the Final Oral Examination.

The requirements for the doctoral degree fall into two classes: general university requirements and specific city and regional planning requirements. It is important to note that these are minimum requirements. A student’s advisor may insist on more than the minimal coursework, especially if the undergraduate degree or prior graduate work was in a field remote from planning, or from the area in which the dissertation is to be written. For applicants whose native language is not English, additional courses to attain proficiency in English may be required.

Students in the PhD program come from a variety of backgrounds, so the time required to complete the program will vary. Typically, for a student with an undergraduate degree in city and regional planning or a related field, the course work (the first stage) requires a minimum of four full-time academic semesters. Students with a Master’s degree in city and regional planning or a related field will typically require two semesters of additional course work. 

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