Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science
Urban and Regional Planners identify, analyze, and propose solutions to 21st century social and environmental challenges. Planners work with stakeholders and officials to promote development that is economically efficient, socially equitable, and sustainable.
Planning is a way of thinking, but also a way of acting effectively. Urban and Regional Planning majors learn to systematically define urban problems, analyze them using geospatial and other methods, and apply appropriate concepts and techniques to solve them. Students gain skills in critical thinking, research, techniques, and public communications through independent research and team projects. Our graduates are well prepared for public and private opportunities in planning and development.
Urban problems are complex, so planners need broad knowledge and particular skills. In core classes you will learn about the urban process and key planning theories and techniques. Students then explore diverse urban and planning issues: social, economic, political, and environmental.
Our program emphasizes the application of planning theories through practice. Program faculty are active in local planning issues, bringing first-hand insight into the planning process. Students learn and apply analytical and practical techniques to real-world urban and sustainability challenges.
Our students don’t just learn about planning, they do planning. Students use research and analysis skills like Geographical Information Science, supported by cutting-edge computer hardware and software. In advanced courses students learn both independent research skills and how to collaborate in client-based projects, gaining valuable practical experience.
This major is interdisciplinary. Administered by the Department of Geography, it includes courses from across disciplines like architecture, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and statistics, as well as geography. Required courses include the following:
Advisors also work individually with students to tailor the major to advance their career goals.
Our graduates are prepared for diverse opportunities in the public and private sector, as well as graduate school in related fields.
A majority of planners work in city or county government, helping communities plan for the future and implement these visions. They work with elected- and appointed-officials and the public to identify community goals, research existing conditions and best practices, and propose solutions. Planners also help develop and administer the regulations to guide efficient, socially equitable, and sustainable development. Our graduates work with communities across the Midwest and beyond.
Others work in the private sector. These planners work with others—often architects, engineers, finance experts—to assist communities or corporate officials. Graduates have found employment in private consulting firms and divisions of major corporations planning the location of new facilities, applying new technology, and finding solutions for local urban challenges.
Others work in related fields where a broad liberal education and strong technical skills are valuable. Our graduates have used their strong research, critical thinking, and research skills in diverse workplaces (education, community non-profits, sales and marketing, health care administration, etc.). Many apply their skills in Geographical Information Science.
Whatever they do, our graduates bring curiosity, breadth of knowledge, strong skills, and a commitment to finding creative solutions to 21st century urban and environmental challenges.