Graduate Department of
Urban and Regional Planning
College of Social Sciences and Public Policy
Chair: Jeff Brown; Professors: Brown, Chapin, Coutts, Doan; Associate Professors: Butler, Duncan; Assistant Professors: Holmes, Jackson, Fang, Kim; Teaching Faculty: Felkner; Planner in Residence: Smith; Professors Emeriti: Cowart, Deyle, Miles, RuBino, Thompson
The Field of Planning
The profession of Urban and Regional Planning encompasses all aspects of the development of human settlements, including the use of land, protection of the environment, economic productivity, and the future allocation of physical and social public resources. Planning's initial concern with the form and structure of cities continues, but it has grown to include all aspects of the formulation and implementation of public policy, at all levels of society. Today, the field is diverse and interdisciplinary, incorporating many issues developed over the past decades and expanding to include new areas of concern. This has resulted in the establishment of new priorities and the emergence of new policy directions, including environmental sustainability, social-ecological resilience, human service delivery systems, affordable housing, attention to job growth, global competitiveness, and access to health services, as well as more traditional activities such as the provision and financing of roads, infrastructure, and public services; urban design; guiding real estate development; and implementing public transportation systems.
As an institutional and professional activity, planning is now practiced in the public sector at all levels of government and in the private sector through firms that service local governments, development interests, and community groups. At each stage in the development of the profession new skills and knowledge have been called for, creating new employment opportunities and an expansion of the backgrounds held by professionals in the field. Today, planners have ties to the various social sciences, natural sciences, law, engineering, business, the design professions, and others. Consequently, majors from throughout the University have been attracted to the field and have thrived in a discipline that welcomes individuals with backgrounds in science, policy, design, and computer applications.
What unites persons from these various backgrounds into the professional field of planning is a commitment to making the world a better place through collaboration, consensus building, and enlightened and informed public policy. While both the problems and the means for dealing with them may differ, all planners are concerned with systematically studying problems and opportunities, assessing probable future directions, and formulating appropriate policies and programs to address them. Moreover, unlike many other problem-oriented professions, planning is distinguished by its concern with coordinated policy responses. Planners have adopted a broad view that focuses on the interrelationships between problems and the necessary interrelatedness of solutions.
Above all, planners are committed to a particular concern: improving the "quality of life" in the places they work. This extends to employment, schools, health, housing, community facilities, transportation systems, commercial and business development, parks and green space – everything to do with physical, social, and natural environments. While any single professional may focus on a narrower range of issues, the field as a whole focuses on the entire set of issues affecting the livability of the built and natural environment. Planners attempt to address these issues in ways that recognize the differing and legitimate concerns of many diverse and partisan interests. Accordingly, planning is a demanding and exciting field. It is beset by challenges that are created by the difficulties in finding solutions to thorny problems and in obtaining a consensus among diverse interests on policies and programs to address these problems. At the same time, it is a rewarding field. Planners know that they can and do make significant contributions to the well-being of their cities, states, and nations.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning was created in 1965 in response to both the growing national demand for persons trained in planning, urban affairs, and policy analysis, and the rapid population and economic growth occurring within the Sunbelt. Florida has been one of the fastest growing states in the nation. This growth has raised important issues about land development, housing, transportation and infrastructure, environmental protection, health care, and others, and the state has adopted a comprehensive series of laws that mandate planning at all levels of government. This has put Florida in the forefront of the national planning movement and has provided the Department with a strong, exciting, and supportive environment within which to offer a professional program.
The Department offers the following degree programs: Master of Science in Planning (MSP), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), joint graduate pathways in planning and law (MSP/JD), planning and international affairs (MSP/MS or MA), planning and public administration (MSP/MPA), planning and demography (MSP/MSD), and planning and public health (MSP/MPH). Because of the breadth and diversity of the field, graduate study is considered essential for assuming professional positions and for advancing within the profession. The standard professional degree is the master's degree, and master's graduates in planning now hold the overwhelming majority of planning positions. The doctoral degree serves as preparation for academic, research, or high-level policy and administrative positions. The Joint Graduate Pathways prepare professionals to work in positions at the nexus of their component professions as they culminate in the acquisition of two degrees.
All of the programs respond to the educational challenge of recognizing the breadth and diversity of the field and, at the same time, providing students with training in the common aspects, concerns, and approaches of the field. They offer the student an opportunity to study the central core of knowledge that is common to all planning activities and to develop specialized knowledge in particular problem and issue areas. Graduates of the programs are equipped to function both in generalist and specialist roles and to adapt to new challenges as the nature of the issues and preferred policy responses change. The master's degree program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.
Located in Florida's state capital, the Department offers students many opportunities to interact with the key executive, legislative, and judicial offices of the state. The Department maintains close ties with state, regional, and local planning agencies, the state legislature, and the governor's office. These agencies provide substantial support services to the Department in the form of internships and field placements, data and research reports, visiting lecturers and adjunct faculty, and permanent employment positions.
Students come from across the nation and from many foreign countries and U.S. territories. Women and persons of color are well represented in the program. Student backgrounds are highly diverse; many come from the social sciences, engineering, architecture and the design arts, social work, or the physical sciences. The program is able to accommodate students from a wide variety of disciplines that are relevant to the issues addressed by the planning field. The total number of graduate students in residence at any time varies between 100 and 120. With eleven permanent faculty, plus adjunct instructors, this produces a favorable faculty–student ratio. At the same time, the Department is sufficiently large to reflect the diversity of the field and to allow students the opportunity to study a number of different problem and policy areas.
More than 1,600 students have graduated from the Department's graduate programs. These graduates are now employed in forty-eight states and territories and twenty-seven foreign nations as professional staff in private consulting firms; for major developers; in law firms, universities, research organizations, business, and industry; and in local, state, regional, and national governments.
The principal aim of the master's program is to train students for professional careers in planning, allowing them to function in both generalist and specialist roles. The program consists of forty-eight credit hours of coursework organized into the following curriculum components:
- Core curriculum: fifteen credit hours
- Methods for policy and planning decisions: six credit hours
- Collaborative and participatory methods: three credit hours
- Elected specialty area: nine credit hours
- Electives: twelve to fifteen credit hours
- Capstone requirement: three to six credit hours
URP 5101 Planning Theory and Practice (3)
URP 5125 Plan Implementation (3)
URP 5211 Planning Statistics (3)
URP 5316 Land-Use Planning (3)
URP 5847 Growth and Development of Cities (3)
URP 5930r Professional Topics in Urban and Regional Planning (0) (2 semesters)
Methods for Policy and Planning
A student must take a minimum of six credit hours of coursework:
URP 5201 Planning Research Methods (3)
URP 5222 Planning Alternatives Evaluation (3)
URP 5261 Forecasting for Plan Development (3)
Collaborative and ParticipatorY Methods
A student must take a minimum of three credit hours of coursework:
URP 5059 Community Involvement and Public Participation (3)
URP 5122 Planning Dispute Resolution (3)
URP 5123 Collaborative Governance: Consensus Building for Planners (3)
The Department currently offers five pre-designed specializations. They are:
- Environmental Planning
- Neighborhood Planning and Community Design
- Planning for Developing Areas
- Real Estate and Economic Development
- Transportation Planning
All specializations are composed of two required courses and one elective chosen from a specified list. Students are encouraged to design and pursue alternative specialization programs that respond to their particular interests and career goals.
In addition, all students have the opportunity to take coursework in computer applications for planning, including geographic information systems (GIS). Both the Geography and Urban and Regional Planning departments offer GIS coursework. GIS is supported in a forty station College of Social Sciences and Public Policy lab. General computer applications (including spreadsheets, statistical software, word processing, and GIS) are supported in a ten station departmental lab, a GIS research lab, the Department's planning studio facility, and College of Social Science computer labs.
Experience in the field is an important aspect of professional education. The Department requires all students to be employed in a planning or planning-related agency for the equivalent of 400 hours. Most students satisfy this requirement with full-time employment during the summer between the two academic years; others work part time during the school year. This requirement can be waived with prior relevant experience.
Students are required to complete a capstone research paper, project, or master's thesis during their second year of study. Under the research paper option, the student prepares a paper on a topic of professional interest, addressing the topic in a professionally competent manner. This option is pursued as three semester hours under URP 5910, Directed Individual Research.
Under the project option, students complete work on a project for a client. They may do so individually or as part of a larger project team. The individual option is completed under URP 5910, Directed Individual Research, for three semester hours. The team option is completed under URP 5342, Advanced Planning Problems, for three semester hours.
The master's thesis option requires the completion of a major paper that is of both professional and academic interest. This option is completed under URP 5971, Thesis, for six semester hours.
Joint Law and Planning Graduate Pathway
In the fields of planning and law, there is a growing need for sophisticated professionals who can understand and tackle the challenges created by an increasingly complex legal context for land use, environment, and urban development. With both degrees in hand (JD/MSP), planners and lawyers will have the ability to navigate this terrain with great agility. Planners often have to develop policy language for comprehensive plans, land use codes, and other regulatory or quasi-regulatory programs and policies. Environmental, land use, and urban justice lawyers greatly benefit from not only understanding the legal terrain of these subareas of law, but also the professional context of planning in these areas to enhance their ability to advocate for their clients' interests and understand procedural and substantive constraints on government and non-governmental planning professionals.
The joint graduate pathway between the FSU College of Law and FSU Department of Urban and Regional Planning provides the opportunity for Interdisciplinary study that will help students develop an intellectual agility that is critical in the changing legal marketplace and dynamic legal environment of urban and regional planning. Earning the degrees together through a joint graduate pathway both saves student resources of time and money while also allowing the student to benefit from the intellectual and pedagogical intertwining of course content and interpersonal networking opportunities.
The Master of Science in Planning (MSP) is a professional master's degree program intended to prepare urban and environmental planners to work in variety of settings in government, private planning firms, and nonprofit advocacy organizations. The MSP program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. The Juris Doctor (JD) program is accredited by the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education. The College of Law provides a sophisticated program of study that prepares students to enter the worlds of law, business, and government at the highest possible level. The Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the College of Law offer a Joint Graduate Pathway that allows students to qualify for both the Master of Science in Planning (MSP) and the Juris Doctor (JD) degrees in substantially less time than would be necessary to achieve each independently. Total semester hours required are one hundred twelve, of which thirty-three are taken in planning and seventy-nine in law.
Joint graduate pathway students need not select a planning specialization (in effect, law becomes their specialization), but they must continue to meet all other requirements for the planning degree, including the internship and the capstone project. The Department of Urban and Regional Planning will award the MSP degree only if the student's cumulative grade point average in MSP degree courses is 3.0 or higher. This requirement is in addition to, and does not replace, any other University or departmental academic standing requirements. A member of the law faculty replaces one member of the urban and regional planning faculty on the advisory committee for the capstone project.
Both programs adhere to the university minimum requirements for admission to graduate study. To be considered for the Joint Graduate Pathway, students must be evaluated and admitted by the Admissions Committees of each of the two participating units. In general, students must apply to the Law School and note their interest in the Joint Pathway with planning. Those currently enrolled in either degree program and have not completed twenty-four semester hours of study may apply to the second unit. Admission to that unit shall constitute admission to the Joint Graduate Pathway. Students entering the program for the Joint Pathway must start with a year in Law School before taking coursework in planning.
Joint Planning and Public Administration Graduate Pathway
The professions of planning and public administration are intertwined in numerous ways. Many positions in government can best be filled by persons who possess the knowledge and skills of both administrators and planners. Planners in local governments often aspire to become administrators of governments and planning organizations. Conversely, administrators, especially in rapidly growing governments, may be hampered if they cannot exercise the skills necessary to frame and implement plans.
Very few persons achieve professional competence in both fields; those who do gain substantial career flexibility and attractiveness to prospective employers. The Joint Graduate Pathway at Florida State University is one of only a handful in the nation. It permits the mastery of core knowledge and skills in both areas in three years or less, instead of the four years or more that would otherwise be required. It does so by eliminating duplicative coursework in analytical methods and general electives.
Applicants to the MSP/MPA Joint Graduate Pathway should make formal application through the admissions office of either the Department of Urban and Regional Planning or the School of Public Administration and Policy. To be admitted to the Joint Graduate Pathway, each of the two units must separately admit the applicant to its respective degree program. Those currently enrolled in either degree program, and who have not completed twenty-four semester hours of study, may apply to the second department. Admission to that Department shall constitute admission to the Joint Graduate Pathway.
Total degree hours required for the joint graduate pathway is sixty-six. The student completes the core course requirements of each degree with these exceptions: the student completes either the methods requirements of the MSP program or the MPA program, not both. The student selects and completes both an urban and regional planning specialization and a public administration concentration. A single internship is required and counts for the requirement for both degrees. A single capstone/project or paper meets the requirements of both degree programs and is completed under either URP 5910/5342 or PAD 6908. If completing the paper, the committee shall consist of faculty from each of the units. Students complete the internship and professional paper requirements in the opposite department from which the research sequence is completed.
Each of the two units will award a degree only if the cumulative grade point average for courses with that unit's prefix is 3.0 or higher. This requirement is in addition to, and does not replace, any other University or departmental academic requirements.
It is expected that the student will spend two semesters of full-time study in each department, and then divide remaining coursework between the two departments. Departmental advisors will provide guidance on the proper sequence of courses for each program. Students who attend one semester of summer school and who complete the internship requirement may be able to complete all degree requirements in two and one-half calendar years.
Joint Planning and International Affairs Graduate Pathway
The joint graduate pathway in Urban and Regional Planning and International Affairs enables students with an interest in international planning, particularly in developing areas, to earn credit in both master's programs and obtain a master's degree for both programs. The MSP program currently requires a specialization in one of six areas, including planning for developing areas. The planning curriculum provides practical conceptual and analytical skills in program and policy design, project management, population and policy analysis, and plan-making as well as grounding in urban and planning theories that will enable international affairs students to enhance their skills and capacities in delivering urban services in international contexts, especially in developing countries. The Planning for Developing Areas specialization prepares students for the challenges of guiding economic and social development in the context of increasing globalization, commonly defined as the increasing interconnectedness of people, places, and institutions worldwide.
Development planners work in urban and rural developing areas around the world. Participating in the joint graduate pathway will allow URP students to increase their course content in internationally focused course material and better contextualize their studies in broader international affairs and relations theories. Meanwhile, IA students will benefit by having the option of pursuing a professional, accredited (Planning Accreditation Board) degree that will increase their opportunity to obtain employment in international affairs or planning, including service in Peace Corps. Consequently, the joint pathway will greatly enhance the educational and career benefits enjoyed by students in each of the two master's programs.
Applicants to the MSP/MS or MA in International Affairs should make formal application through the admissions office of either the Department of Urban and Regional Planning or the International Affairs Program. A full copy of all application materials should be sent to the second unit's admissions office simultaneously. To be admitted to the Joint Graduate Pathway, each of the two units must separately admit the applicant to its respective degree program. Those currently enrolled in either degree program and who have not completed twenty-four semester hours of study may apply to the second unit. Admission to that unit shall constitute admission to the Joint Graduate Pathway.
Total degree hours required for the Joint Graduate Pathway is sixty-four and may be slightly more depending on whether the student selects the thesis or non-thesis (international studio) option. Each of the two units will award a degree only if the cumulative grade point average for courses taken to meet the degree requirements of each unit is 3.0 or higher. The student completes the core course requirements of each degree, and then selects an urban and regional planning specialization. All students complete an internship of 400 hours in a planning or international affairs related agency or organization. The internship should have planning or public policy-related content. Students must complete a capstone in each program.
The student will take courses in at least two other departments participating in the International Affairs program.
The student must also fulfill the requirement for a focus on developing countries. If the student takes the Planning for Developing Areas specialty, this will fulfill the developing areas focus, but if the student opts for a different specialization in Urban and Regional Planning, s/he will need to take three other International Affairs courses to fulfill this requirement. All students must satisfy the foreign language requirement for a Master of Arts (MA) degree even if they choose a Master of Science (MS) degree. Proficiency may be demonstrated by satisfactory performance on the Graduate School Foreign Language Tests of the ETS, by certification by the language department, by taking twelve hours of language with an average grade of "B", or four years of language in high school. Up to six hours of graduate level courses in a foreign language may be used to fulfill the degree requirements as International Affairs electives.
Joint Planning and Public Health Graduate Pathway
Florida State University is one of only a handful of universities offering a joint graduate pathway in planning and public health.
This joint graduate pathway at Florida State University reflects the recent resurgence of interest in what civic stakeholders, local communities, and global society are doing to ensure that urban and urbanizing landscapes are healthy and desirable places for today's world. There is a rich historical tradition linking public health and urban planning. The emergence of urban planning as a profession and academic discipline had its basis in nineteenth-century public health initiatives, including tenement housing reforms, the construction of urban water supply and sewerage systems, and the design of parks and playgrounds. The work of professionals in these two fields diverged over much of the twentieth century, with public health focusing on the medical model and planning emphasizing land-use and the physical environment. Since the 1970s however, it has been recognized that major improvements in health can result from improving places and the planning processes that shape them, and changing our personal and collective lifestyles, rather than simply investing further in the health (sick) care system. The city and the communities where people live and work provide a useful focus for these concerns because more than half the world's population now lives in urban areas.
Students complete all requirements for the MSP and MPH degrees. The four years it would take to earn these degrees if pursued separately is reduced to three years through the cross-counting of selected courses. The total program of study for joint pathway students to complete both degrees is sixty-six hours.
All students complete a 400 hour internship in a planning or public health related agency or organization. The internship should have planning or public health policy-related content. This may be a paid or unpaid position. The intent of the internship is to give students a unique learning opportunity, allowing them to put many of the concepts and methods learned in the classroom into practice in a realistic professional setting. The internship also serves to help students focus their interest area and coursework for the remainder of their studies, and provides a maturity gained from relevant work experience. Typically, the internship is completed during the summer between the first and second year of study. Many students, however, fulfill this requirement through part-time employment during the school year. Students are not limited to the local area alone for a position. Internships must be approved by the student's advisor and the MSP and MPH program directors.
Students also choose to complete either a research paper, thesis, or studio for MSP capstone credit.
Both programs adhere to the university minimum requirements for admission to graduate study. To be considered for the Joint Graduate Pathway, students must be evaluated and admitted by the Admissions Committees of each of the two participating units. Students apply to one program or the other and note their interest in the Joint Pathway. Those currently enrolled in either degree program and who have not completed twenty-four semester hours of study may apply to the second unit. Admission to that unit shall constitute admission to the Joint Graduate Pathway.
Joint Planning and Demography Graduate Pathway
Demographers study the characteristics and dynamics of human populations. They use tools to collect and analyze data and make forecasts about the size, economic characteristics, and spatial distribution of those populations. Governments, researchers, businesses, and planners are frequent consumers of demographic analysis. Demographic coursework and training is an important complement to graduate education in planning, and planning coursework and training provide important professional opportunities to students in demography. The Joint Graduate Pathway between planning and demography deepens the professional preparation and maximizes the professional prospects for graduate students in both disciplines.
The joint graduate pathway requirements allow students to engage in cross-disciplinary study, emphasizing the overlap between the disciplines. Students complete a minimum of thirty-three credit hours in each program, for a total of sixty-six credit hours. Students complete twenty-four credit hours of planning core classes, nine to twelve credit hours of courses in a planning specialization, twenty-four credit hours of demography core classes, a number of elective classes, and three credit hours of capstone coursework in either discipline. Students also complete a 400 hour planning internship.
Both programs adhere to the university minimum requirements for admission to graduate study. To be considered for the Joint Graduate Pathway, students must be evaluated and admitted by the Admissions Committees of each of the two participating units. Students apply to one program or the other and note their interest in the Joint Pathway. Those currently enrolled in either degree program and who have not completed twenty-four semester hours of study may apply to the second unit. Admission to that unit shall constitute admission to the Joint Graduate Pathway.
International Exchange Programs
Students may also participate in the Department's student exchange programs with the Universiteit van Amsterdam's Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences' Master's in Metropolitan Studies or Aalborg University's Department of Development and Planning Master's Program. These programs feature many courses taught in English by faculty experts in European urbanization and international development studies. Students wishing to pursue the exchange program should communicate with their faculty advisor early in the program so that they can design their program of study to complete all requirements ahead of their exchange experience, which usually takes place in the spring semester of their second year.
In order to encourage high quality master's students to go on for the PhD, the department has created a pre-doctoral program that master's students may apply to, ideally in their first year of study. If accepted into the pre-doctoral program, students may take up to eighteen hours of doctoral-level courses in their second year, which will be counted toward the doctoral degree if they are admitted to the PhD program upon completion of the master's degree. Students electing to pursue this option will therefore be able to complete formal coursework for the PhD with as little as one additional year of courses beyond the master's degree.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in urban and regional planning seeks to educate highly qualified students who wish to pursue careers in research and teaching concerned with urban and regional systems, planned change, and the enhancement of the ability of society to deal effectively with the future. Florida State doctoral students are oriented toward critical evaluation of existing knowledge and the development of new knowledge for public policy purposes. The degree program has four key components: the program statement, three required theory area courses, one required advanced research methods class, coursework in two substantive areas and in additional research methods, the preliminary examination, and the dissertation.
The doctoral program is a highly individualized program of study, developed under the direction of a faculty supervisory committee, and ordinarily requiring three years of study post-master's degree.
Prerequisites for Doctoral Study
Doctoral students in urban and regional planning must show familiarity with four topical areas covered in courses in the Department's master's core curriculum: URP 5101 Planning Theory and Practice, which is required before taking URP 6102 Seminar in Planning Theory; URP 5211 Planning Statistics, which is required before taking advanced methods courses; URP 5847 Growth and Development of Cities, which is required before taking URP 6846 in Urban and Regional Theory; and URP 5201 Planning Research Methods, which is required before taking URP 6202 Design of Policy-Oriented Research.
Three other options are available for satisfying these prerequisites: 1) completing these courses, 2) evidence of prior coursework that illustrates that the student has mastered the course content, and 3) a formal examination on the course content. The choice among these options lies with the faculty members teaching the courses, although students may insist on a formal examination. When prior coursework is used, a grade of at least "B" (3.0) is required to satisfy the prerequisite. When courses are taken to satisfy a prerequisite, these credits cannot be applied toward the forty-two-credit hour minimum doctoral coursework requirement for the doctoral degree.
The content of each student's program of study is tailored to the objectives and needs of the student and is specified in a program statement that the student prepares in consultation with a major professor and a doctoral committee assembled during the first year of study.
The program statement specifies the academic objectives of the student, the two substantive areas, and the set of methods necessary to achieve those objectives. Because each student's interests are unique, it is unlikely that new doctoral students will follow exactly in the path of earlier doctoral students or each other.
The doctoral program requires a minimum of forty-two semester hours of study including three required courses (nine credit hours):
- URP 6102: Seminar in Planning Theory
- URP 6202: Design of Policy Oriented Research
- URP 6846: Seminar in Urban Theory
The program also requires advanced study in one additional advanced theory course (3 hours), research methods (nine credit hours), and two substantive fields to be defined by the student in consultation with committee members (twelve credit hours in one and nine in the other).
Upon completion of courses and development of an approved graduate course syllabus, the student takes his or her Preliminary Examination. This includes written and oral exams in the areas of planning theory, urban and regional theory, and the substantive areas set forth in the student's program statement.
Upon passage of the Preliminary Examination, the student is advanced to candidacy and prepares a dissertation. The dissertation's scope is laid out in a prospectus, finalized and approved by the student's supervisory committee by the end of the semester in which the student takes the Preliminary Examination. The prospectus may include a statement of the problem that the student is addressing, a discussion of the literature pertaining to that problem, a set of hypotheses that the student intends to test, and a research design for testing the hypotheses. Once the prospectus is approved, the student carries out the research design and completes the dissertation, defending it publicly prior to graduation.
Application for admission is usually made for the Fall term. Because of the sequencing of courses, admission for Fall is preferable, but applications are considered for Spring term admission as well. No students are admitted for first enrollment in the Summer term. The deadline for receipt of all materials for admissions applications is July 1 for Fall admission and November 1 for Spring admission. Earlier deadlines apply for financial aid candidates and for applications from non-U.S. students. Financial aid applicants applying for Fall admission must submit all materials by February 15 (January 15 for University and Presidential Fellowships). The deadlines for non-U.S. students are described below. Persons applying after the appropriate deadline will be considered on a space-available basis only.
Applications for admission to the MSP program are welcomed from persons holding a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States, or the equivalent from an institution abroad. No specific major is required, but persons contemplating planning graduate studies are encouraged to earn their undergraduate degree in the humanities (including English or history), a social science (including economics, geography, political science, or sociology), or a design profession (including architecture or engineering). Other majors may be appropriate for persons who intend to specialize in particular fields, such as natural or physical science (biology, chemistry, or geology) for environmental planning or a business major (real estate or finance) for housing, economic development, or growth management.
Applications for admission to the doctoral program are welcomed from persons holding a graduate degree in planning, urban studies, environmental studies, policy sciences, law, the various social sciences, and related fields. Persons with graduate work outside of these areas will also be considered, but, depending on qualifications and previous preparation, may be required to undertake additional graduate coursework prior to beginning doctoral work. Master's students currently enrolled in the Department may apply for admission to the doctoral program and be admitted after having completed substantially all of the coursework required for the master's core and an elected specialty, but without necessarily having completed the master's degree.
The purpose of the admissions process is to judge the applicant's basic intellectual resources, motivations for seeking the degree, probability of successfully completing the program, and the appropriateness of the department's faculty and course offerings to the student's program and career interests.
A complete admission application consists of a Florida State University application for graduate study, a supplementary questionnaire for applicants to the MSP or PhD program, official transcripts for all previous college or university work, an official transcript of scores on the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and letters of recommendation. Persons unfamiliar with the GRE exam should consult the testing or placement office at a U.S. university, the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey, or a U.S. consulate abroad. Application forms and information materials may be obtained from the department's website: https://coss.fsu.edu/durp/.
Letters of recommendation should be requested from those best able to accurately assess the scholastic abilities and potential accomplishments of the applicant. These letters should speak directly to the applicant's ability to complete graduate study in urban and regional planning. Two letters are required for MSP admissions, three for PhD admissions. We endeavor to keep these letters confidential within the limits of federal and state law. In order to maximize confidentiality, letters may be destroyed after the admissions process is complete.
The admissions committee conducts a thorough review of all available credentials in its deliberations. This review includes examination of work accomplishments, extracurricular and civic activities, and other non-quantifiable information. Effort is made to ensure that our class reflects diversity in background and perspective both because this improves the level of discourse in our classrooms and because women and persons of color have been historically underrepresented in the profession of urban planning. Ultimately, admission is based on the committee's assessment that the applicant is capable of successful graduate work and that the applicant will become a planner who will utilize the degree to contribute meaningfully to the profession and the society.
Non-U.S. Applicants should complete their applications by February 15 for Fall term admission and by September 1 for Spring term admission. These applications must include a confidential financial statement necessary for visa purposes that is normally supplied with the international admissions application forms. Applicants whose native language is not English (and who have not received a degree from a college or university in an English-speaking nation) must submit Official English Language Proficiency results from one of the following testing agencies: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 80 (Internet-based); Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), with a minimum score of 77; International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with a minimum score of 6.5. The test of the English language is required before admission will be considered. Questions concerning certification of financial independence and health status relevant to the issuance of a U.S. immigration form I-20 should be addressed to the Center for Global Engagement, Student Services Coordinator, Florida State University, 945 Learning Way, P.O Box 3064240, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4240 U.S.A.
In addition to the required written application, applicants are encouraged to come to Tallahassee for a personal interview. This permits a clearer exchange of information, provides the department with a firmer sense of the applicant's goals, and allows the applicant to evaluate resources available first hand. The admissions assistant will arrange an interview on request.
Definition of Prefix
URP—Urban and Regional Planning
Planning Theory and Practice
URP 5059. Community Involvement and Public Participation (3). This course develops the skills and perspectives for determining why and how to engage citizens in public decisions moving along the spectrum of participation from informing to consulting, involving, collaborating, and empowering. The course provides practical skill development in community engagement processes, design, and methods.
URP 5101. Planning Theory and Practice (3). This course is a general introduction to the field of planning, examining the intellectual heritage and procedural approaches shared by practitioners working in all areas of contemporary planning practice. The course also introduces students to the general area of planning theory and some of the fundamental political and ethical issues they face in planning practice.
URP 5122. Planning Dispute Resolution (3). This course focuses on how complex regulatory disputes frequently slow public sector decision making and cripple major private sector investments. Parties to disputes such as location of locally unwanted land uses, setting of air and water quality standards, and evaluation of urban and transportation plans frequently fail to cooperate to achieve the best possible outcome. The course examines why this is so and tries to develop the skills necessary for individuals to improve the outcome in contentious decision making.
URP 5123. Collaborative Governance: Consensus Building for Planners (3). This course prepares students to effectively build censuses and to resolve conflicts involving building permits, locally unwanted land uses, environmental regulations, community visions, projects, programs, allocation of public funds and services, intergovernmental battles, and controversial agency rules. The course explores constructive alternatives to unilateral or adversarial methods of decision-making that often drain public and private resources unnecessarily, damage important relationships, and either result in less than ideal solutions or fail to resolve the disputes at all.
URP 5125. Plan Implementation (3). This course explores topics such as the legal aspects of plan making, implementation politics, policy implementation, interorganization cooperation, and public participation, under the general rubric of plan adoption and implementation strategies.
URP 5316. Land-Use Planning (3). Prerequisite: URP 5272. Pre- or corequisite: URP 5312. This course focuses on preparation of the urban land-use plan including data collection; evaluation of location, market, and environmental factors; and balancing of stakeholder interests.
URP 5342. Advanced Planning Problems (3). Pre- or corequisites: URP 5222, URP 5261, and instructor permission. This course involves team study of specialized planning problems. The course also requires teams of students to select problems to which the planning process can be applied and which require the use of methods and techniques learned in the core program and in a student's specialization. The course, along with the thesis (URP 5971r) or research paper (URP 5910) options, serves as the terminal requirement of the program.
URP 5544. Gender and Development (3). This course examines the effects of planned and unplanned development on women. The course also allows students to analyze the strategies pursued to address productive roles of women, not reproductive roles.
URP 5805. Multicultural Urbanism (3). This course deepens students' understanding of the urban cultural, social and economic landscape. Students explore the historical formation of cultural enclaves stemming from immigration, migration, slavery and segregation. The course also explores the formation of spatial organization stemming from policy and social dynamics related to race, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity as well as the present-day implications of multicultural urban spaces.
URP 6102. Seminar in Planning Theory (3). In this course, planning is viewed as the attempt to apply the methods and findings of the sciences to practical questions of public policy. Philosophy of science, ethical theory, and political philosophy are examined for the implications each has for this view.
URP 5201. Planning Research Methods (3). This course focuses on the social-science research process. Topics include the linkage between theory and research, conceptualization and operationalization of the research problem, study designs, sampling, data sources and collection techniques, the logic of data analysis, as well as computer use.
URP 5211. Planning Statistics (3). This course offers an introduction to descriptive and associative statistics as applied to public-policy problems encountered by planners. Topics include basic definitions and descriptive measures, probability theory, sampling, and inference. Elementary multivariate techniques are covered, including those appropriate to the analysis of nominal and interval scales.
URP 5222. Planning Alternatives Evaluation (3). Prerequisites: URP 5101, URP 5201, or instructor permission; and major status. This course focuses on a systems-analysis approach as a means of analyzing problems and formulating action alternatives. Emphasis is given to techniques of modeling, applied economic analysis, probability and risk, goals achievement, as well as cost benefit and cost effectiveness in the assessment of alternative courses of action.
URP 5261. Forecasting for Plan Development (3). This course deals with the methods used in plan analysis and development. Emphasis is given to demographic analysis and population-projection techniques, to economic-base analysis and economic-projection methods, as well as to methods for preparing a land-use plan. Students are required to use these methods in preparing a demographic, economic, and land-use analysis for a Florida county and subcounty area.
URP 5272. Urban and Regional Information Systems (3). This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how geographic information systems can be applied to planning practice and research. Students are introduced to the basic concepts, structures, and functions of geographic information systems and their applications to planning research and practice as well as to effective communication of planning information through electronic and print media.
URP 5279. Urban and Regional Information Systems Practicum (3). Prerequisite: URP 5272. This is an "enterprise course," reflecting the organization of most urban planning geographic information systems departments within public agencies. Students work with various clients on a variety of requests and serve as urban geographic information systems technicians to these clients.
URP 5885. Graphics Communications for Urban Planning and Design (3). This course offers the basic graphic-representation skills required for communicating solutions to planning and urban-design problems. Topics cover the basic principles of graphic design; manual graphic communication; digital image editing techniques to represent 2-D aerial and plan views of existing or proposed conditions and elevations; as well as the use of visualization software to compose vector-based illustrations of physical-planning solutions to urban design and policy-based questions.
URP 6202. Design of Policy-Oriented Research (3). Prerequisites: URP 5201 and URP 5211. The course discusses the process and design of empirical research used in the analysis of policy and planning problems. Strengths and weaknesses of alternative research designs are considered from an epistemological viewpoint. Strategies for overcoming design limitations imposed by policy contexts are emphasized.
Urban Growth Process
URP 5847. Growth and Development of Cities (3). This course is an introduction to the various economic, social, demographic, technological, political, and environmental factors affecting the location, development, and growth or decline of cities, as well as the distribution of activities (industry, commerce, population, public facilities) within them.
URP 6846. Seminar in Urban Theory (3). Prerequisite: URP 5847. This course concentrates on the urban theory component of urban and regional theory, referring to the patterns and processes of development within cities. An emphasis is placed on the theories of human ecology, economics, and geography, and the translation of these theories into a planning perspective.
Planning for Developing Areas
URP 5610. Introduction to Development Planning (3). This course analyzes the problems of developing countries as integral parts of a more general process of the development of human societies on a global scale. The approach to the issues and problems of development is spatial. Such an approach permits consideration of the economic, social, political, and cultural aspects of the development process within an interdisciplinary framework focusing on urban and regional development as embodiment of concerns with the general quality of human life and the natural environment. The process of development as it goes on in all countries is examined by a focus on the set of conditions leading to problems of development in most societies and on the nature of development paths which have been pursued by other nations as they seek to transform their national spatial structures.
URP 5611. Strategies for Urban and Regional Development in Less Developed Countries (3). This course approaches the question of formulating and implementing effective strategies for development by identifying the obstacles and opportunities for planned change in less developed countries. The course is organized to explore the issue of development strategy at three levels: the international setting, national, and sub-national levels. At each geographic level, the relevant theories and available policy options are presented and evaluated. The need is established for strategy that incorporates a spatial perspective in which the unique characteristics of people and places are recognized.
URP 5616. Project Planning in Developing Countries (3). The course utilizes the project cycle and uses it as a reference point to discuss the following issues: problem identification and basic needs assessment, feasibility studies, selection of most appropriate activities, implementation and evaluation of results. The course also explores the implications for blueprint vs. process oriented approaches to project design and implementations.
URP 5405. River Basin Planning and Management (3). This course introduces river-basin management and planning and takes a systemic approach from biological, hydrological, and geopolitical viewpoints. Special emphasis is placed on the planning and management of transboundary (interstate and international) basins. The course focuses on world river-basin systems as well as on the local Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin. Students are introduced to technical concepts and tools, including negotiation and math simulation tools.
URP 5407. Food Systems Planning (3). This course provides a contextual understanding of food systems in the formations of cities, the impacts of food policy on food systems, and planning responses to the many challenges that arise in relation to the globalized food system.
URP 5421. Introduction to Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management (3). This course provides a general introduction to the related problems of resource management and environmental planning through an overview of problems, potential solutions, and their relation to methodologies, existing institutions, and other public policy areas such as land-use controls and regional development. Students are expected to become familiar with a series of fundamental concepts from environmental science and engineering, environmental economics, and environmental politics that are important to evaluating alternatives courses of action. Students also gain familiarity with the basic analytic approaches to valuing and comparing environmental projects, plans, and policies.
URP 5422. Coastal Planning (3). This course examines the planning and management of coastal environments including coastal geomorphic processes, coastal ecosystems, legal structures, and regulatory strategies. Issues include shoreline protection, critical lands management, provision of public utilities, public access, and sea level rise.
URP 5424. Sustainable Development Planning in the Americas (3). This course examines various dimensions of the "sustainable development" paradigm and its local-global policy implications, issues, and controversies with a focus upon North America and Latin America. Organized in three modules: 1) environmental philosophies that have influenced the movement; 2) North American approaches to planning for sustainable development; and 3) critical issues of sustainable development in Latin America.
URP 5425. Methods of Environmental Analysis (3). Prerequisite: URP 5421, URP 5427, or instructor permission. This course examines available methods of environmental impact analysis and control. Primary emphasis is placed on water quality, wastewater treatment, and air pollution control, although topics such as noise and solid waste pollution are also considered.
URP 5427. Environmental Legislation and Policy (3). This course introduces legal concepts and doctrines relevant to pollution controls and the assessment of environmental impacts. The roles of courts, legislatures, and administrative agencies, in responding to the problems and formulating control strategies, are examined.
URP 5429r. Special Topics in Environmental Planning and Resource Management (3). This course is an advanced seminar in selected special topics relating to environmental policy and resource management issues. Content varies. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
URP 5445. Climate Change and Community Resilience (3). This course introduces students to key themes, concepts, and debates that shape the intersections of climate change vulnerability, disaster risk, and adaptive community resilience. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
Real Estate and Economic Development Planning
URP 5312. Perspectives and Issues of Comprehensive Planning and Growth Management (3). This course is an introduction to the problems and needs for growth management and comprehensive planning in U.S. cities, covering public and private perspectives on development and growth management, state and national institutions involved in development, and planning approaches available for meeting the growth management problem.
URP 5350. Pedestrian-oriented Communities (3). Prerequisite: URP 5312 or URP 5711. This course consists of examination and application of proposals for the New Urbanism, including prospects for increasing transit use and pedestrian access through land development code changes and multi-use district designations.
URP 5355. International Transportation Planning (3). This course provides an overview of the broad area of international transportation planning. The course features analyses of a number of specific case studies of transportation planning from around the world, including from Europe, Canada, China, India, Russia, Africa and the developing world, and includes analytical exercises that are relevant to growing international transportation planning challenges.
URP 5711. The Transportation Planning Process (3). This course is an introduction to various aspects of contemporary U.S. transportation problems, sources of funding, and legislation. The course also presents the theory and methods employed by planners in the process of resolving transportation problems through investment decision plans.
URP 5716. Transportation and Land Use (3). This course addresses the land use implications of transportation investments and explores strategies for transportation and land use planning that are environmentally sound, socially efficient, and equitable.
URP 5717. Methods of Transportation Planning (3). This course provides students with a basic hands-on exposure to the principal tools of transportation demand forecasting, including both elasticity-based analyses and the more elaborate techniques incorporated into the urban transportation modeling system (UTMS, also known as the four-step model).
Neighborhood Planning and Community Design
URP 5445. Climate Change and Community Resilience (3). This course introduces students to key themes, concepts, and debates that shape the intersections of climate change vulnerability, disaster risk, and adaptive community resilience.
URP 5540. State and Local Economic Development (3). This course analyzes strategies and tools for developing employment and investment in state and local economies. Considers programs targeted to depressed urban neighborhoods, rural communities, downtown commercial areas and specific business sectors.
URP 5615. Infrastructure and Housing in Less Developed Countries (3). This course examines infrastructure and housing issues in developing countries, including relationship between infrastructure and development, demand and supply of new facilities, financing alternatives, squatter housing, and self-help strategies.
URP 5742. Problems and Issues in Housing and Community Development (3). This course introduces housing and community development issues, problems, and policy. Attention is focused on the operation of the housing market, historical development of housing and community development problems, and the evaluation of public and private sector responses to these problems.
URP 5743. Neighborhood Planning (3). This course focuses on ways in which planning can enable neighborhood residents to enhance the attractiveness of their neighborhood. The course is for planners who work with neighborhood groups or who are employed by neighborhood organizations or community development corporations.
URP 5749r. Special Topics in Housing and Community Development (3). This course is an advanced seminar in selected housing and community development issues and problems. Content varies. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
Other Graduate Courses
URP 5905r. Directed Individual Study (1–3). (S/U grade only). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
URP 5910r. Directed Individual Research (1–3). (S/U grade only). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
URP 5930r. Professional Topics in Urban and Regional Planning (0). (S/U grade only). This course is offered at zero credit hours as an administrative mechanism for insuring that students in the master's program complete a series of professionally oriented field trips, visiting lectures, and workshops. These events are offered throughout the semester. Master's students are required to attend these events over two of the semesters in which they are enrolled in the program. Offered for majors only.
URP 5939r. Special Topics in Urban and Regional Planning (0–3). This course is a selected topics seminar for the examination of topical issues not fully covered in other courses of the program. Content varies. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
URP 5971r. Thesis (2–6). (S/U grade only). Thesis must be completed for a total of either three or six credits. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
URP 6938. Doctoral Research Colloquium (0). (S/U grade only).
URP 6980r. Dissertation (1–12). (S/U grade only).
URP 6981r. Supervised Teaching (1–3). (S/U grade only). May be repeated to a maximum of three semester hours.
URP 8960r. Preliminary Examination Preparation (0–12). (S/U grade only). Prerequisites: URP 6102, URP 6846, and URP 6938. This course is preparation for the doctoral preliminary examination. May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours. May be repeated in the same semester.
URP 8969r. Preliminary Doctoral Examination (0). (P/F grade only.)
URP 8976r. Master's Thesis Defense (0). (P/F grade only.)
URP 8985r. Dissertation Defense (0). (P/F grade only.)
see Teacher Education