The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Admissions: Ph.D. in Metropolitan Planning, Policy, and Design

The University of Utah utilizes an online admission application system called “Apply Yourself.” The application can be completed online and submitted electronically once all required fields on the application have been completed. As a new user of the application system, you will first need to create a user account. After creating a user account, a unique PIN and password will be issued to you. The PIN and password will enable you to access, input, and save information.

Application Review Process

Admissions decisions for the Ph.D. in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design program are made based on a number of criteria, including but not limited to the applicant’s academic record; their recommendation letters; the quality of their statement of purpose, their writing samples, and the statement of research experience; the fit between the applicant’s proposed research and the department’s mission; availability of a dissertation advisor; and overall strength of the applicant pool.

We recommend that before you apply to the program, you visit the faculty webpage to familiarize yourself with various faculty members and their research. We encourage you to reach out to potential dissertation advisors. Please note that all admissions and funding decisions are made by a committee and not individual faculty members.

Contact Us

Ph.D. Admissions and Program Coordinator:
Dr. Divya Chandrasekhar

CMP Main Office: (801) 581-8255

Additional Information:
Get to know us: Current Ph.D. students, Ph.D. alumni, and faculty
Financial Assistance: Opportunities

To be considered for the Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design Ph.D. Program applicants must have a fully completed application submitted through the online platform by January 10th

Applicants must write two statements:

Statement of Purpose outlines the applicant’s educational experiences and interest in pursuing a Ph.D (approximately 1,500 words)

  1. Why are you pursuing a Ph.D. in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design?
  2. What is your career focus?
  3. Why is the University of Utah the right place for you to pursue a Ph.D.?
  4. Discuss your research interest and potential dissertation topic area.
  5. Which faculty member would you wish to work with for your dissertation and why?

Statement of Research describes the applicant’s research experience, including the following (maximum of 1,500 words):

  1. Research studies you have conducted to date and how (using what methodology).
  2. Contribution to each of the writing samples you have submitted, such for example whether you collected data for that study, analyzed data, and/or which parts of the writing sample you wrote yourself.

If you are applying for a specific fellowship, add a description of the reasons why you would be a good candidate for that fellowship and how your previous research relates to the fellowship (250 words).

We recommend you write the two statements before beginning the online application. Please combine the two statements into one document before uploading it. Applicants are required to submit their statements by the appropriate deadline; paper copies will not be processed.

Two writing samples are required. These writing samples must clearly demonstrate your research skills, which include experience with conducting a literature review, data collection (primary or secondary) and analysis (qualitative or quantitative), and research writing. Reports from action research projects that you have conducted or contributed to may also be included.

Ph.D. applicants are NOT required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

If applicants would like to submit GRE scores, the official scores must be received by the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning before the application deadline. Use the following codes to facilitate efficient reporting of your test scores: University of Utah school code is 4853, Department code is 4402.

Two letters of recommendation are required for all applicants. Recommendation letters play a significant role in our admissions decisions. When you reach out to your recommenders, you should ask them to address the following three questions in the letter. Recommenders may add other information to the letter as they desire.

  1. For how long have they known you, the applicant
  2. In what capacity and setting have they known you? (For example, as a teacher, as a research supervisor, employer, etc.); and
  3. Provide an evaluation of your/the applicant’s academic strengths and weaknesses.

Process to request recommendation letters:

You will be asked as part of your online application to enter the names and contact information (including email addresses) of your two recommenders. An email will be sent automatically to the recommender with an access code and instructions on how to proceed with the online recommendation.

Note that recommendation requests are sent immediately to the recommenders once you save that information, regardless of whether you have completed your application. Please remind recommenders that letters must be completed and submitted by the appropriate deadline.

You are required to upload an unofficial transcript from each institution you have attended. Uploading unofficial transcripts will significantly decrease the amount of time required to process your application. Official transcripts will be required if you are admitted.

The International Student application as well as the Graduate School application called “Apply Yourself” need to be completed as part of the admissions process.

Applicants must meet the minimum English Proficiency score for one of the following proficiency tests:

  • TOEFL (IBT): score of 90 or higher (CBTL: 233 or higher, PBT: 577 or higher)
  • IELTS: score of 7.0 or higher
  • Duolingo: 115 or higher

For more information go to the International Graduate Admissions page.

Send official test scores to:
University of Utah
Office of Admissions
201 South 1460 East Room 250 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Please make sure you meet the minimum qualifications and complete the application correctly.

Minimum requirements:

  • Hold a graduate degree, or complete one prior to beginning Ph.D. studies (applicants without a graduate degree will be considered only in exceptional cases).
  • Have a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.5 or better.

The following information provides tips on how to correctly complete specific sections of the online application. The headings below relate to the major sections in the online form.

Program Information:

  • Intended graduate program and degree: Met Plan/Policy & Design PhD
  • Emphasis area: Not applicable
  • Application Term and Year: Indicate which semester you are interested in applying

Educational History:

Optional: GRE scores and percentiles for each section of the exam-quantitative, verbal, and analytical writing.

Academic Background and Interest:

  • CV/Resume: Required. Please upload a current CV or resume.
  • Statement of Purpose: Required, as outlined in the “Statement” section.
  • Statement of Research Experience section, as outline in the “Statement” section.
  • Writing samples/publication: Required.
  • Financial Support: If you are interested in being considered for financial aid, please apply by the priority deadline. In addition, in the application, indicate whether you are interested in receiving financial support. Support is determined by the department and disbursed only to applicants entering in the Fall semester.
  • Full-time or part-time status: Students may choose their desired level of attendance.

Application Fee:

With the submission of your online graduate admission application, you must pay the application fee. Your application will not be fully submitted or processed until the fee is paid. Failure to submit the fee by our deadline may result in denial of your application.

Begin your Application

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