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Department of Urban Planning and Policy Programs/Degrees: PhD
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Ph.D. Program in Urban Planning & Policy

The aim of the Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy is to train students for advanced research and faculty positions within institutions of higher education.  It is intended to serve full-time students.

The Ph.D. 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 or conducting advanced research.

Financing your studies
There are various options for financing your studies. Students are encouraged to explore both the CUPPA Distinguished Graduate Scholar (DGS) Award and the UPP Departmental Scholar Award, both of which provide four years of support. Please review details about the DGS Award and the Departmental Scholar Award and contact Hazel Brown with questions. Students may also be supported by individual faculty on research grants.

Academic program
A minimum of 96 semester hours of graduate credit is required for the Ph.D. degree, beyond the baccalaureate. Up to a maximum of 32 credits toward the degree requirements may be granted for prior graduate work -- 24 credits can be awarded for a relevant previously-completed master’s degree and, subject to faculty approval, students may transfer up to an additional eight credits for appropriate graduate work completed elsewhere that was not credited toward an earned degree.  Since students must have a master’s degree to enter the doctoral program, most will complete 72 additional hours of credit in the Ph.D. program to fulfill their degree requirements.

The doctoral program is divided into four segments: core, major coursework, career training, and dissertation. Students are expected to complete the core course requirements and most major course work by the beginning of the third year.  Students are expected to take the prelim examination during the summer that follows their second full year of matriculation.  

For detailed information about program requirements, visit the PhD Section of the Current Students page.

Research training opportunities
Opportunities for advanced research training and faculty supervised research projects are available within the following research centers on campus:

The program also 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.

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