PhD Concentration in Urban and Regional Planning

Urban and regional planning graduate student presenting project.The Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in urban and regional planning in SPDC focuses on leadership in analyzing and creating our future built environment. The doctoral program offers strengths in community economic development, environment and sustainability, transportation, health, housing and real estate in a global context.

Graduates of the PhD program will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the effects of plans, regulations, design, materials, project management techniques and construction systems on the economic, environmental and social concerns of stakeholders and society.

Those enrolled in this degree develop an advanced knowledge of the history and theory of planning, analytical methods and dissertation research that exemplifies excellence and leadership in the field.

Doctoral students work with their supervisors and committee members to plan a course of study that builds on current strengths and adds expertise in core areas of urban planning.

What Are Core Areas of Study?

The foundation of the degree is contained in two introductory courses and a program of study designed to provide Ph.D. candidates with the expertise needed to undertake successful and rigorous applied research.

What Focus Areas Are Offered?

Students pursuing the PhD define their focus in consultation with faculty, with common areas of interest, including:

  • Sustainable and resilient cities.
  • Urban transportation planning.
  • Housing and real estate development.
  • Urban health and food security.
  • International development.
  • Environmental science and policy.
  • Community and economic development.
  • Hazard and disaster management, and planning.

What Are Career Opportunities?

  • Academic positions.
  • Planning departments and agencies.
  • State and federal government.
  • Housing and real estate firms.
  • Consulting.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the PhD program with an urban planning focus requires a prior degree in planning or a related field. We encourage students from various backgrounds and different stages in their professional careers to apply.

We take into account a number of factors, including:

  • A personal statement about your interest in the program.
  • Prior degrees and grade point averages.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Professional experience.

Degree Requirements

The PhD Curriculum culminates in a dissertation that represents state-of-the-art analysis combined with practical applications. This is a 45-credit program that can start in fall or spring semesters.

PhD Student Handbook

Download the PhD Student Handbook (2015, 2016, 2017) for more information.

How to Start the Application Process

Contact Mark Wilson, doctorate program director, for academic, research and program-related inquiries.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson

Professor, Urban & Regional Planning; Director, Planning, Design and Construction Doctorate Program
School of Planning, Design and Construction
wilsonmm@msu.edu
517-353-9056

Graduate Secretary

For application, admission and administrative inquiries.

Advisory Faculty for PhD Concentration in Urban and Regional Planning

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