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Graduate Certificate in Healthy Cities

Creating cities to promote public health is an interdisciplinary endeavor. The Graduate Certificate in Healthy Cities provides University of Michigan graduate students with the language, skills, and competencies needed to engage in cross-disciplinary collaborations among public health workers, policy makers, and city planners to promote human health in urban contexts.

Important Dates:

  • Current U-M students: Admissions are accepted on a rolling basis. For a decision by the Fall term, students must apply by March 1, and for admissions in Winter, by December 1. Note that admissions decisions will not be made until final grades are recorded from at least one term of study at UM.

About the Certificate

Today, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. These cities are places of tremendous economic, political, and cultural development, yet they are also spaces of unprecedented public health crises. In Europe and North America, rising rates of cancer, obesity, asthma, and other chronic health concerns are pushing public health workers, policy makers, and city planners to reexamine the relationship between urban space and public health. Similarly, in Asian, African, and South American contexts, the explosive growth of mega-cities has created unparalleled risks from infectious disease, contaminated water, inadequate food, substandard housing, toxic exposure, and natural disaster. These profound humanitarian concerns – and their potentially dire economic and political consequences – are transforming urban health and health equity into key factors driving social activism and policymaking worldwide.

The 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 cities and public health 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.

The overall goals of the Healthy Cities certificate are as follows:

  • Enhance the University of Michigan’s capabilities and reputation for training graduate students to become leaders on healthy cities topics.
  • Educate students about the socioeconomic functioning of neighborhoods, infrastructure, and settlement patterns, as well as the functional interrelationships between the physical form of built environments and the health and wellness of urban inhabitants.
  • Enable students to apply mixed-methods public health tools of design, implementation, and evaluation of urban contexts.
  • Prepare students to use many public policy levers to systematically effect change, including organizing stakeholders, developing agendas, and mobilizing resources relevant to a range of urban health topics.

The Certificate includes five course requirements, for a total of 13 credits. See the requirements page for full information.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Healthy Cities here.


Faculty mentors for the Graduate Certificate in Healthy Cities are housed in the School of Public Health, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Ford School of Public Policy.

Kimberley Kinder
Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Jon Zelner
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health

Paula Lantz
Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Ford School of Public Policy

Roshanak Mehdipanah
Assistant Professor of Health Behavior & Health Education, School of Public Health

Joy Knoblauch
Assistant Professor of Architecture, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

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Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning