Ph.D. in Urban Planning
The Ph.D. in urban and regional planning trains scholars for careers in higher education, research and high-level policy positions. It is a doctoral degree with a flexible, interdisciplinary focus. Graduates work in universities, government, non-profits, and the private sector, in the U.S. and around the world.
The doctoral curriculum integrates analytical methods, research design, a rigorous understanding of urbanization dynamics, and an examination of broader social theories, processes and policies. Students address complex systems that typically encompass an array of spatial, environmental, social, political, technical, and economic factors. The emphasis is on theory, analysis, and action. Each student is also expected to demonstrate an understanding of the literature, theory, and research in a specialization area within the larger discipline of urban and regional planning.
Doctoral students specialize in a wide range of possible topics. Recent students have engaged in subjects as diverse as the political economy of public transit, inner-city revitalization, global city urbanization, information technology and cyberspace, the crisis of modernist urbanism, suburbanization in developing countries, regional planning institutions, the effects of environmental contamination on patterns of urban and regional development, the culture of suburban commuting, the impact of tourism on historical Mediterranean cities, and the application of complex systems analysis to sustainable development.
The highly individualized course of study operates under the premise that concepts and methods from a wide range of professions and academic disciplines are applicable to urban and regional systems. Accordingly, students rely on faculty resources not only from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning but also from other schools, colleges, and institutes of the University of Michigan. Students commonly take courses in the social sciences (such as sociology, anthropology, history, and political science) and in the professional schools (such as architecture, business administration, engineering, natural resources and the environment, public policy, public health, and social work). This emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, and on the links between theory and action, are defining characteristics of the doctoral planning degree at the University of Michigan.
For more information on the application process and online forms, click here.