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Department of Urban Planning and Policy Program Requirements: PhD
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Urban Data Visualization Laboratory

Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. Program offers advanced study of critical urban development challenges facing cities and metropolitan areas in the 21st century blending urban planning and public policy perspectives. The Program provides a unique and powerful resource for the advanced study of challenging urban problems and their complex remedies. Students participate in an interdisciplinary learning community of faculty and research staff conducting a mix of applied and theoretical studies. Graduates will leave as scholars well prepared for positions as university professors and as professional researchers.

PhD Program Overview

The Ph.D. curriculum combines core requirements in theory and methods with more specialized course work in each areaStudents learn advanced theory, methods and related research literature in one of six areas of specialization:

Students find support and guidance as they learn of specialization and engaged research through various institutes and centers at UIC. Opportunities for advanced research training and faculty supervised research projects are available within the following research centersat CUPPA:

Additionally, the Program builds on the University of Illinois Great Cities Initiative, providing students with a variety of research related training and the opportunity to engage in urban issues in the Chicago metropolitan region, the nation and the world.

PhD Curriculum

A minimum of 96 semester hours of graduate credit is required for the Ph.D. degree beyond the baccalaureate. Since you must have a master’s degree to enter the doctoral program, this means that most students will complete 64 additional hours of credit in the Ph.D. program to fulfill their degree requirements. (Advanced standing for masters degree, 32 credit hours.)

Required Core Coursework
All students must take each of the following core courses and also demonstrate competency in urban theory, policy evaluation, statistics, and economic analysis through previous master’s degree or additional course work. (17 credits +)

UPP 510 – Data Analysis for Planning and Management I (or alternate)
UPP 580 – Dissertation Proposal Workshop. 1 hour
UPP 583 – Advanced Planning Theory
UPP 588 – Research Design and Evaluation
Either UPP 589 – Data Analysis for Planning and Management II or
PA 544 – Qualitative Research Methods in Public Administration


Concentration Coursework
At least 28 hours must be taken in the area of concentration, selected in consultation with a faculty committee. At least 8 hours in advanced research design and methods are required in the area of concentration. Concentrations include Spatial Planning, Urban Transportation, Community Development, Economic Development, Globalization and International Planning, or another faculty-approved concentration such as e.g., Environmental Planning. (Minimum of 28 credits)


Career Training

Students must complete a collaborative faculty/student research project or classroom teaching under faculty supervision. No more than 12 hours of credit for career training can be applied to the degree. (12 credits)


Plan of Study.
Each student must have a written plan of study approved by an advisory committee. (0 credits)


Preliminary Examination.
A written preliminary examine is required. An oral examination may also be required at the discretion of the committee. (0 credits)


Dissertation. The dissertation is required. (Minimum of 12 credits.)

More information about committees, exams, and dissertations is available on the Graduate College website.


The requirements above sum to at least 96 credit hours

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