PhD in Regional Planning

Requirements Summary

Credit Hours: 64 to 96 hours. The University requires at least 96 hours of graduate credit without a master’s degree. Students with a master’s degree must take at least 64 hours of graduate credit, no more than 32 of which can be thesis or independent study hours. The Plan of Study Committee may require a student to take more than 32 hours of coursework to meet prerequisites or prepare for research. Graduate credit is given only for courses at the 400-level (unless the Catalog or Course Schedule specifies undergraduate credit only) and 500-level.

Planning Theory: 4 to 8 hours. UP 501 Planning History and Theory (4 hours), and UP 580 Advanced Planning Theory (4 hours) are required. UP 501 is a prerequisite to UP 580. Students who have taken a similar course in a Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) approved program can petition for exemption from UP 501. All other students must take UP 501 prior to UP 580.

Research Methods: 12 approved hours of research methods courses that prepare the student for their intended dissertation research and a research career in their proposed areas of specialization.

Research Design: 4 hours. This requirement is typically met by UP 589 Research Design and Methods, but a student may substitute a course from an approved list if the Plan of Study Committee agrees.

Area of Specialization: 8 hours. A minimum of 8 hours at the 500 level defines a specialization (defined by student and approved by Plan of Study Committee).

Other: The student should select courses in theoretical frameworks, complementary fields, planning methods, or other areas as needed to prepare themself for advanced research and teaching.

Plan of Study: A written document that outlines how the student intends to meet doctoral course requirements; describes the expected focus of the dissertation; identifies topics and strategies for writing the two literature synthesis papers; lays out a schedule for the completion of course work, literature synthesis papers, qualifying exam or qualifying paper, and dissertation proposal; and explains how the course work and other elements of doctoral training will support the student’s long-term research and career aspirations.

Synthesis Papers: Two literature review papers that demonstrate the students’ mastery of the existing schools of thought within two distinct areas of planning research. These papers focus on critiquing and synthesizing prior research and identifying gaps and research opportunities.

Qualifying Examination or Qualifying Research Paper: A written and oral examination taken, or a research paper written, after completing the required coursework and synthesis papers, and ideally within three months after the end of the student’s fourth semester. The qualifying exam tests a student’s ability to integrate materials from the courses in planning theory, research methods and design, and the specialization and apply them to advanced research questions. The qualifying paper demonstrates the student’s capacity to design, conduct, and communicate original scholarly research. The exam or the paper assesses whether a student is ready to participate in scholarly discussions, be admitted to candidacy, and be invited to submit a dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Proposal Defense/Preliminary Examination: The oral examination of the written proposal for dissertation research. Students must complete all non-thesis course and examination requirements and remove all excused and deferred grades (other than thesis courses) before the oral examination.

Dissertation Defense/Final Examination: The oral examination of the completed dissertation manuscript. Students must be registered for UP 599 Thesis Research in the semester of the examination and must deposit the final dissertation within the established deadlines.