A Degree in Urban Studies and Planning

Students earning a degree in urban studies possess a robust skillset for entry level positions in a wide variety of fields, including business, non-profit and governmental sectors. Community development, research, analysis and writing about urban areas are among the many skills accorded to degree holders in urban studies. In addition, students are well-prepared to further their career goals by attending graduate education in law, planning, business, economics, or other urban-related fields.


Transferable Skills

An urban studies and planning degree offers:

  • Oral and written advocacy
  • Training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Critical thinking
  • Policy analysis
  • Paid and for-credit urban service opportunities


Some Careers in Urban Studies and Planning

CareerMedian SalaryMarket Growth
City and Regional Planning Aides*$30,480 – 39,460 5% – 8%
Transportation Managers*$85,400 – 87,3402% – 4%
Fundraising$52,430 – 55,0909% – 13%
Construction Management$82,610 – 85,6305% – 8%
Geographic Information Systems Technicians*$70,350 – 83,4102% – 4%

Other areas of reported job titles:
City Planner, Community Development Director, Community Development Planner, Housing Development Specialist, Housing Grant Analyst, Neighborhood Planner, Planner, Planning Director, Regional Planner, Urban Design Consultant

*Advanced degree necessary for median salaries

Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

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Graduate Study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Law School
  • Business (MBA)
  • Master and Ph.D programs in Sociology, Political Science, Economics etc.

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Notable People With an Urban Studies and Planning Major

  • Gabrielle Giffords (Congresswoman-State of Arizona, Urban Planner)
  • Jane Jacobs (Journalist, Author, Writer, Philosopher, Urban Scholar)
  • Norman Krumholz (City Planner and City Commissioner, City of Cleveland, OH)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (Architect)
  • Daniel Hudson Burnham (Architect, Urban Planner)

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Additional Information

The Urban Studies degree prepares students for advanced academic training in traditional social science fields; professional training in fields such as urban planning, public administration, and law, and vocational opportunities with an urban focus, such as community organizing, political action, social services, and spatial analysis.

Individuals who complete the Economic Development Certificate pursue economic development positions in state, regional and local governments; non-profit and community organizations, private associations such as chambers of commerce, and private businesses and civic institutions engaged in economic development.

The masters of urban planning degree prepares students to analyze and plan for the physical make-up of a city through particular areas of focus. These foci may be housing and community development, economic development, transportation planning, regional planning, municipal land use planning, food systems or a myriad other topics. Careers in the field of urban planning may be with private firms, not-for-profit organizations, or government agencies.

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