Bachelor’s in urban and regional planning degree programs focus on topics such as land use, community development, housing, economic development, and historic preservation. Though the degree can qualify graduates for some entry-level positions in these fields, most bachelor of urban and regional planning students will go on to pursue a master’s in the field, as most positions require an advanced degree. When selecting an undergraduate program, it’s important to choose carefully since the quality of the school may affect your ability to get into a good graduate school. Of course, value is always an important consideration as well. In this ranking, we explore the 20 top value urban planning bachelor’s degree programs, including one urban planning degree online.
Ranking Methodology for Best Urban Planning Schools Undergraduate
• Under $30,000 – 1 point
• Under $25,000 – 2 points
• Under $20,000 – 3 points
• Under $15,000 – 4 points
• Under $10,000 – 5 points
Students Receiving Financial Aid:
• 60% – 1 point
• 70% – 2 points
• 80% – 3 points
• 90% – 4 points
• Content Customizations (e.g. Concentrations and Specializations) – 1 Point Per Customization Option
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.) – 1 Point Per Customization Option
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
Best Value Colleges for an Urban Planning Bachelor’s Degree
To compile this ranking, our editors began by searching College Navigator for a list of the schools and universities offering a bachelor’s in urban and regional programs. With this initial pool of 42 schools, we then took note of College Navigator’s information regarding tuition and financial aid, awarding points from the above methodology as appropriate. Finally, we visited the website of each school to gather the necessary information regarding customization options. What resulted is the following ranking of the 20 top value schools for a bachelor of urban and regional planning degree. In cases of a tie, tuition was considered, and the more affordable school received the higher rank.
#20 – University of New Hampshire
Bachelor of Science in Community and Environmental Planning
Durham, New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire’s bachelor’s in regional and urban planning offering features a mostly prescribed curriculum comprised of 18 core courses, including titles such as Applied Community Development, Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives, Fundamentals of Planning, and Resolving Environmental Conflicts. Some elective courses are available such as Race and Ethnic Relations, Leadership for Sustainability, and Green Real Estate, for example. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students must also complete a capstone project prior to graduation.
#19 – SUNY—Albany
Bachelor’s in Urban Studies and Planning
Albany, New York
The bachelor’s in regional and urban planning offering from SUNY—Albany features a well-balanced curriculum that consists of five core course, four elective courses, two cognate courses, and a community engagement work requirement. Specific course titles include The American City, World Cities: Geographies of Globalization, State and Regional Planning, and The City on Computer. Graduates from this bachelor of regional and urban planning are well-prepared for graduate study or entry-level careers in real estate, community development, regional planning, public policy, and landscape architecture, among other related fields.
#18 – Miami University
Bachelor’s in Urban and Regional Planning
Miami University offers a customizable bachelor’s in regional and urban planning through the College of Arts & Science’s Department of Geography. Students will take a required Planning Principles and Issues core, including courses such as Geography of Urban Diversity, Urban and Regional Planning, and Global Forces/Local Diversity. In addition, bachelor of regional and urban planning will also choose electives from one of three available concentrations: Development Issues, Social Issues, and Administration and Politics. A capstone course is also required prior to graduation.
#17 – University of Cincinnati
Bachelor of Urban Planning
The University of Cincinnati offers a professional bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degree program designed to be completed in five years. The curriculum is comprised of course titles such as Social Structure and Change, Economics for Planning, Computer Graphics in Planning, and Site Analysis and Design. A robust cooperative education program is a stand-out feature of this bachelor of regional and urban planning program, allowing students to begin a round of field practicums beginning their second year. A 6-year joint program is also available for those students who wish to graduate with both a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Master of Community Planning.
#16 – Eastern Michigan University
Bachelor’s in Urban Planning
Eastern Michigan University offers a bachelor’s in regional and urban planning program consisting of 30 credit hours in the required core and six credit hours of electives. Core courses include Public Administration, Planning/Preservation Graphics, History of Urban Form and Function, and Methods of Planning Analysis. Elective options include classes such as Transportation Geography and Planning, Spatial Analysis, Zoning and Land Development Regulation, and Historic Preservation. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students will also complete an independent study experience and an internship prior to graduation.
#15 – Portland State University
BA/BS in Community Development
Portland State University offers two bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degrees through its Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning: a BA in Community Development and a BS in Community Development. The curriculum is comprised of a required core that includes courses such as Theory and Philosophy of Community Development, Urban Housing and Development, and Measuring People and Communities in the Urban Context, as well as elective classes like Population & Society, Poverty in the Urban Community, and History of American Cities. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are also required to complete either a field experience or internship prior to graduation.
#14 – University of Missouri—Kansas City
Bachelor’s in Urban Planning and Design
Kansas City, Missouri
The University of Missouri—Kansas City offers a hands-on bachelor’s in regional and urban planning that emphasizes physical planning and community-based projects. Students will take a planning core with required courses such as Planning History, Planning Theory, Land Use, and Quantitative Methods. Professional electives include titles such as Historic Preservation, Neighborhood and Community Development, Digital Planning, and Urban Redevelopment. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are also required to complete a 240-hour internship and submit a portfolio prior to graduation.
#13 – University of Wisconsin—Osh Kosh
Bachelor’s in Urban Planning
Osh Kosh, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin—Osh Kosh offers a bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degree through its Department of Geography & Urban Planning. The program’s core includes course titles such as Comprehensive Planning, Computer Uses in Urban Analysis, and Land Use Regulation. Students are also required to choose courses from four different areas of planning: Statistics, Planning Policy, Geography—Human, and Geography—Applied Physical. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are also required to complete a field experience and an internship prior to graduation.
#12 – Florida Atlantic University
Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning
Boca Raton, Florida
Florida Atlantic University offers a bachelor’s in regional and urban planning designed to prepare graduates for planning careers in the public and private sector. The curriculum is comprised of a 39-credit hour core, 6 credit hours of upper division electives, 15 credit hours of free electives, and a 3-credit hour internship. Core courses include titles such as Capital Facilities Planning, Sustainable Cities, and City Structure and Change. Elective options include Community Service Systems, Coastal and Marine Sciences, The Urban Community, and American Environmental History. The internship component for this bachelor of regional and urban planning degree requires a minimum of 160 hours of work in a planning facility.
#11 – Ohio State University
Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning
Ohio State University’s bachelor’s in regional and urban planning program features experiential learning opportunities with real-world clients in actual planning scenarios. Course titles comprising this hands-on degree program include Creating Innovative Cities, Planning Resilient Environments, Analyzing the City, and Professional Planning Skills. A long list of elective titles are available, including standout titles such as Global Climate Change: Causes and Consequences, Outlines of the Built Environment, Social Groups in Developing Societies, and The Socially Just City. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students have many different study abroad options to choose from, including travel programs in Ghana, Taiwan, Europe, and Latin America.
#10 – Eastern Washington University
Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning
Eastern Washington University’s bachelor’s in urban and regional planning program is the only one of its kind in the Northwest to hold the coveted accreditation by the Planning Accreditation Board. The curriculum balances meaningful coursework with applied planning field projects that allow students to practice what they’ve learned in real-world settings. The university is active in matching graduates with employers after graduation in fields such as land use regulation, transportation systems management, land development, and location analysis. Bachelor of urban and regional planning students will take courses such as Planning Implementation, Transportation Planning, and Community Development.
#9 – University of Southern Maine
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Planning and Policy
The bachelor’s in regional and urban planning program from the University of Southern Maine prepares students for graduate study or immediate entry into positions in urban renewal, landscape design, regulatory compliance, community planning, and related areas. In addition to general education requirements, bachelor of regional and urban planning students will earn a minimum of 66 credit hours, taking required courses such as Environmental Communication, Research and Analytical Methods, and Environmental Regulation, as well as concentration-specific classes like Land Use Planning, Site Planning and Assessment, and Natural Resource Policy.
#8 – California State University—Chico
Bachelor of Human Geography and Planning
The bachelor’s in regional and urban planning offering from California State University—Chico is technically a BA in Geography—Option in Human Geography and Planning. The curriculum is comprised of a required geography core as well as courses specific to planning such as Global Economic Geography, Advanced Cartography and Geovisualization, Remote Sensing of Environment, and Water Resource Policy and Planning. This bachelor of regional and urban planning program also boasts an impressive study abroad program, giving students the opportunity to study in 35 different countries around the globe.
#7 – Arizona State University
Urban Planning Degree Onlineo
Arizona State University offers a flexible bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degree program through its College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Students have the option of completing their coursework on campus or entirely online. An accelerated BSP/MUEP program is also available, allowing bachelor of regional and urban planning students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s in urban planning degrees in just five years. Specific course titles include Sustainable Cities, History of Planning, Planning Methods, and Statistics for Geographers.
#6 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning
Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a bachelor’s in regional and urban planning with two available concentrations: Land Use Planning and GIS and Environmental Planning. The university also offers a minor in regional planning and a regional planning honors track. Required courses in planning include Community Participation and Civic Engagement, Land Use Law, and Cartography I. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students will also take concentration courses such as Geography of Fresh Water Resources, Energy Development and Compliance, Map and Photograph Interpretation, and Transportation Planning.
#5 – Westfield State University
Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning
Westfield State University’s bachelor’s in regional and urban planning offering is a flexible one, allowing students to complete coursework on a part-time or full-time basis. Two concentrations are available—Environmental Planning and Urban & Social Justice. Several related minors are also offered, including the Applied Geography minor, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) minor, and the Commercial Recreation and Tourism interdisciplinary minor. Specialty courses in planning include Urban/Environmental Analysis, Green Cities, and Site Planning. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are invited to take part in internship opportunities through the university.
#4 – Frostburg State University
Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning
Frostburg State University offers an interdisciplinary bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degree that integrates topics from several related disciplines including geography, political science, communications, and economics. In addition to taking required introductory and professional core courses such as Human Geography, Principles of Geographic Information Science, and Public Administration, students will tailor their curriculum around one of four advanced planning foci—Community Planning, Tourism Development, Mapping Science, and Environmental Planning. This bachelor of regional and urban planning degree program also features a study-abroad option in Newcastle, England.
#3 – Iowa State University
Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning
Iowa State University’s bachelor’s in urban and regional planning degree features five optional focus areas: Community Development and Social Policy, Ecological and Environmental Planning, Regional and International Planning, Physical Planning and Urban Design, and Transportation and Land Use. Student who do not choose a focus area will take a generalist track. Core required course titles include The American Metropolis, Theory of the Planning Process, Community Planning Studio, and Environmental Planning. Bachelor of regional and urban planning students must submit a portfolio prior to graduation.
#2– University of Massachusetts–Amherst
Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Community Development
As one of the most customizable programs in our ranking, the bachelor’s in regional and urban planning program from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst offers several options for students in terms of course schedules and curriculum. For instance, students can choose to complete their bachelor’s degrees in three or four years; alternatively, they can opt for the accelerated master’s program, earning their bachelor’s and master’s in regional planning in just five years. Content customization options for the bachelor of regional and urban planning include concentrations in urban studies, landscape studies, horticulture studies, and built environment.
#1 – East Carolina University
Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning
Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University offers a bachelor’s in urban and regional planning with nine available concentration areas: coastal resources, community health, environmental resources, geographic information, international development, recreation, rural development, public administration, and urban studies. In addition to concentration-specific courses, students will take core classes such as Introduction to Planning Techniques, Urban Form and Design, and Planning Legislation and Administration. Bachelor of urban and regional planning students are encouraged to join the Student Planner’s Action Network (SPAN). An internship is recommended, but not required.