The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

PhD in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design

The doctoral degree in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design helps meet society’s need for researchers, scholars, teachers, and leaders to make our metropolitan areas sustainable and resilient. The role of the degree in the future of the region and the nation is reflected in its title: The planning challenge is to anticipate change and learn how best to manage it; the policy challenge is how to craft and implement policies needed to facilitate desired change; and the design challenge is how to shape the built environment to achieve desired outcomes. The degree is managed by the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning and is designed to facilitate the interdisciplinary culture of the University of Utah.

Depending on the nature of prior graduate work, the doctoral degree will require between 61 and 83 credit hours, or more, and extend a minimum of six full time semesters of course work. The degree includes core, dissertation field, qualifying examination, and dissertation benchmarks. The core is composed of a sequence of semester-long doctoral seminars in metropolitan planning, metropolitan policy, metropolitan design, research design, technical writing, and teaching methods for a total of 21 credits. (Students without an accredited planning master degree will need to take up to 22 credits in core planning courses.) Doctoral students will complete a minimum of 18 credits in a “dissertation” field including courses outside the Department. The qualifying examination will demonstrate the ability of the candidate to undertake independent research through the preparation of a paper sufficient for submission to a scholarly journal; the paper itself will include literature review, theory, research design, research execution, findings, and conclusions. The dissertation will then be proposed, prepared, and defended.

Applicants are normally expected to have a masters degree in planning, policy, design, or related field, though exceptional candidates with bachelors degrees and substantial related professional experience may be admitted to pursue the masters and Ph.D. Programs in planning concurrently. In addition to Graduate School application forms and transcripts, all applicants must submit GRE scores, resume, two letters of reference, writing and/or other portfolio samples, statement of interest, presentation of a dissertation topic, and where feasible campus visits.

View current Catalog Description

View current PhD student bios

The deadline for admissions is January 15 for the following fall. No applications are accepted for January admission

Reid Ewing
Professor, City & Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah
Coordinator of the Doctoral Program, City & Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah
Phone: 801-581-8255