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How to Select an Urban Planning Degree Program

Updated on January 26, 2012

There are hundreds of undergraduate and graduate schools that offer an urban planning degree. However, it is smart to select a program that is accredited for its quality in teaching urban, city, community, and regional planning.

Although there are many jobs in this field (mostly with local governments), it is quite competitive when it comes to getting a job. Despite the 39,000 or so jobs in May of 2010, those entering this field should be thinking of getting at least a master's degree if they expect to have a career in urban planning.

For that reason, there are actually more accredited urban-planning master's degrees than there are bachelor's degrees. In fact, many people do not major in urban and regional planning as undergraduates. Some of them have bachelor's degrees in fields like political science and economics. For natural reasons, geography is also relevant to city planning, and computer science is also becoming more important.

One reason to first get a bachelor's degree in urban planning is that you may get some entry-level jobs in this field. However, because it is best to have a master's degree in the long term, this option of trying to get a job after a bachelor's degree is most suited to those living in a city with many city-planning jobs that also has a university with a master's degree program in urban planning. That way, the urban planner can attend school in his or her spare time to get the important graduate degree.

The Planning Accreditation Board accredits urban planning degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The schools on this list will use different terms, but keep in mind that urban, city, regional, community, and even environmental planning are all lumped together. Some schools may have a concentration in certain aspects of urban planning, but they all fall under the same general occupational field.

Use the link below to access the current list of accredited urban planning schools and degree programs. As of September 2011, there were 12 schools with both an accredited bachelor's and master's degree and 6 with only a bachelor's degree. In all, there were 78 universities on the accreditation list.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: Jobs and Salary for Urban and Regional Planners

Planning Accreditation Board List of Accredited Urban Planning Degree Programs


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