Urban and Regional Planning Programs

planning can change the world

Through place-based and interdisciplinary approaches, good planning promotes a just and sustainable future. Planners create lively, attractive neighborhoods and commercial areas; to foster sustainable development; to improve alternatives to sprawling, auto-dependent areas; to revitalize downtowns and inner-city neighborhoods; and to develop cities and towns in a manner that protects the environment.

Participatory planning students pose for a group picture on a trip to Brazil.

Degrees Offered

Taubman College offers three degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning.

/ Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology combines cities, technology, and design. 

This transdisciplinary program will prepare you to understand and analyze cities as complex systems; play an active role in shaping urban environments; and envision new products, services, projects, and initiatives that improve urban life.

As part of one of the world’s largest and most prominent public universities, working toward the common good lies at the heart of who we are. You will graduate with an understanding of how urban systems function today, as well as the ambition and ability to shape how they should function in the future in order to better meet the needs of all.

A group of students walks through a downtown corridor of buildings and greenery.

/ Real Estate Development Minor

A 15-credit real estate development minor equips students with the basic understanding of real estate development principles, history, finance, and how development intersects and impacts the arts, sciences, and social areas. The minor is offered by Taubman College and is open to students enrolled in Taubman College, Ross School of Business, and the School of Kinesiology.

/ Master of Urban and Regional Planning

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P.) degree offers professional education in the planning field. Graduates may eventually apply their professional skills in various government agencies, private enterprises, or non-profit organizations within a variety of subject areas.

Students choose to focus their studies in such areas as:

  • Land Use and Environmental Planning
  • Social Justice and Urban Development
  • Sustainability, Resilience, Adaptation, and Climate Change
  • Applied Planning Skills
  • Community and Economic Development
  • Housing and Equitable Development
  • Global and Comparative Planning
  • Physical Planning and Design
  • Transportation Planning

/ Ph.D. in Urban and Regional 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. 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.

Rackham Graduate School

The Rackham Graduate School awards the Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning degree. Applicants are required to complete the online Rackham Graduate School admissions application.

The urban planning profession is concerned with the human and physical environments of cities and regions. A primary goal of the profession is to improve the quality of life in places—whether neighborhoods, cities, metropolitan regions, rural settlements, or larger regions—anywhere in the world.

In pursuing this goal, graduate students acquire knowledge in these areas:

  1. An understanding of cities and regions, including the interrelationship between their social, economic, and political systems and their spatial patterns.
  2. An awareness of the techniques for analyzing cities and regions and for developing plans and programs for their future.
  3. The formulation of future development policies, especially as the process involves identifying problems, establishing objectives, generating and evaluating alternative plans, and implementing them.

/ Dual Degrees

Dual degree programs enable students to earn two degrees in considerably less time than if each degree were earned separately.

Formal Dual Degree Programs

Students can also pursue student-initiated dual degrees with a wide range of other programs. Requests are approved on an individual basis.

Common Student-Initiated Dual Degrees

Self-initiated dual degree programs can be developed when that is the most appropriate way to prepare a student for his/her career. In recent years, students have initiated their own dual degree programs in the following fields:

/ Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development

The Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development offers graduate students in many fields the opportunity to supplement their major areas of study with broad knowledge about making substantially better metropolitan developments.

The program is also a stand-alone certificate for those full-time and part-time students who want to focus only on real estate development. The Michigan real estate development program teaches students about building sustainable places that minimize the ecological footprint of the built environment.

/ Graduate Certificate in Healthy Cities

The Graduate Certificate in Healthy Cities provides University of Michigan graduate students with a mechanism to study the interdisciplinary relationships linking policy making, health science, and spatial planning in a systematic, focused manner.

Although several degree programs at the university offer courses related to healthy cities themes, no single program contains the full breadth of knowledge and skillsets students will need to meet the future health challenges of global urbanism. The Certificate program in Healthy Cities offers students a roadmap for integrating discussions of the social, physical, and political determinants of urban public health.

/ Graduate Certificate in Urban Informatics

Urban informatics is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice that uses information technology for the analysis, management, planning, inhabitation, and usability in cities.

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Informatics introduces students to this field, and includes not only technical skills for technology development and data analysis, but also opportunities to explore the ethical, legal, and policy questions created by new urban technologies.

/ Urban and Regional Planning Strategic Plan

The Urban and Regional Planning Program Strategic Plan sets a series of well-defined, measurable goals that are aligned with the greatest needs of our university, our state, and broader national and global communities. The current strategic plan for 2019-2026 can be found below.

Strategic Plan as of 2019-2026 (PDF)

/ Pathways Program

The Taubman College Pathways program seeks to create avenues to diversify the Taubman College community and the fields of architecture and urban planning. Geared toward those exploring graduate education, the program provides an opportunity for career exploration and learning more about Taubman College’s academic offerings in an intimate setting.