The Urban Planner

Insights into urban planning and community organization

The Ultimate Guide to Urban Planning Education

by Administrator on Sep 21, 2010

University-level urban planning education is generally provided as an academic degree in urban, city or regional planning and is awarded  either as an Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or Doctorate. As urban planning programs tends to be quite smaller in them, therefore, they are taught as part of different courses in an architecture school, a geography department or at a policy school. This can be understood as this way as planning programs in architecture school with focus on physical planning and design whereas in policy school they focus on policy and administration.

A typical course in urban planning happens to be a broad and interdisciplinary field, which has a typical planning degree program focusing over breadth over depth, as their coursework give backgrounds for all areas of planning. Core courses normally include coursework in history/theory of urban planning, urban design, statistics, land use/planning law, urban economics, and planning practice. Many planning degree programs let a student to “concentrate” over a specific area of interest within planning, like as land use, environmental planning, housing, community development, economic development, historic preservation, international development, urban design, transportation planning, or geographic information systems (GIS). Whereas some programs let students emphasize and focus more on real estate. There are many programs that let a student to concentrate over real estate, and have more focus on real estate programs.

City planning programs are generally have accreditation from one or more planning organizations for establishing standards in planning education, as well as providing  route to certification. Generally degree programs are accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board, which is a professional accreditation board. Schools with planning programs in North America are accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. It provides accreditation generally to two types of programs, one is graduate programs and other is undergraduate programs. For urban planning there around 14 accredited undergraduate programs are run in the United States and one in Canada. For accredited graduate programs there are about 71 graduate programs in the United States, 2 programs in the Canada and 1 in Puerto Rico.

Programs which looks for accreditation from the PAB (Planning Accreditation Board) are needed to meet out the strict guidelines, is needed for candidature. First the program in question must apply to be a candidate that is a multiphase process. The five preconditions for accreditation are:

  • There should be at least 25 students in the program to be accredited.
  • Program’s parent school must be accredited by institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • The title of program and degree should have term “Planning” included in it.
  • Undergraduate programs should offer 4 full time years of study or equivalent, while graduate programs are to be a provider of 2 full time years of study or equivalent.
  • Primary aim of the program should be to educate students so they become a practicing planning professional.
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