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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Urban Planning

Majors Overview April 18, 2014

Students will be prepared for careers as urban planners in public and private sectors, with a bachelor’s degree program in Urban Planning. Upon completion of the program, graduates may qualify for certification offered by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), as well as find entry-level jobs.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Urban Planning

Students enrolled in the Urban Planning undergraduate degree program are offered practical applications and research in appropriate modes aimed at addressing urban development and related problems. It typically takes four years to complete these programs that may include a work co-op or internship.

Educational Requirements

Incoming students at many schools offering the Urban Planning major are required to complete general education and pre-professional courses. Limited availability may be offered by some programs that could consider academic performance before allowing a prospective student to gain admission.


Coursework in the majority of Urban Planning bachelor’s degree programs includes subject areas such as ethics, social sciences, urban affairs and politics. Economic issues and sustainability, residential and commercial zoning restrictions, and policy procedures are covered, in addition to specific topic areas such as:

•Public affairs
•Analysis of urban policies
•Legal responsibilities
•Urban and regional restructuring
•Analysis of urban policies
•Community outreach projects
•Budgeting for urban growth
•Land-use and development
•Environmental considerations

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 16% has been projected for regional and urban planners during the decade between 2010 and 2020 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In 2012, urban and regional planners earned an average annual wage of almost $65,230 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

A bachelor’s degree is accepted in some cities, counties and states for entry-level occupations, such as administrative support or civil engineer; though a master’s degree is required for career advancement. A few states also regulate the profession and require registration or licensure. Earning a professional AICP certification may open up other modes of career advancement. To earn this credential, interested individuals have to be AICP members and satisfy a specific combination of experience and education requirements.

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