Bachelor’s in Urban and Regional Planning: Top 20 Values 2024

Urban planning

Key Takeaways:

  • Our top two schools are East Carolina State University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
  • The ranking methodology considers factors like tuition, financial aid, customization options, and unique features.

Bachelor’s in urban and regional planning degree programs focus on topics such as:

  • land use
  • community development
  • housing
  • economic development
  • historic preservation

The degree can qualify graduates for some entry-level positions in these fields. However, 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.

Featured Programs

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

Tuition Points:
• 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

Customization Options
• 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

Wow Factor
• 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 an 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

Website
Points: 8
The University of New Hampshire’s bachelor’s in regional and urban planning 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
  • Resolving Environmental Conflicts

Some elective courses are available, such as:

  • Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Leadership for Sustainability
  • Green Real Estate

Bachelor of regional and urban planning students must also complete a capstone project prior to graduation.
Tuition: $16,986

#19 – SUNY—Albany

Bachelor’s in Urban Studies and Planning

Albany, New York

Website
Points: 8
The bachelor’s in regional and urban planning offering from SUNY—Albany features a well-balanced curriculum. It consists of:

  • five core course
  • four elective courses
  • two cognate courses
  • a community engagement work requirement

Specific course titles include:

  • The American City
  • World Cities: Geographies of Globalization
  • State and Regional Planning
  • 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
  • landscape architecture, among other related fields.

  • Tuition: $8,996

#18 – Miami University

Bachelor’s in Urban and Regional Planning

Oxford, Ohio

Website
Points: 9
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
  • Global Forces/Local Diversity

In addition, bachelor of regional and urban planning students will also choose electives from one of three available concentrations:

  • Development Issues
  • Social Issues
  • Administration and Politics.

A capstone course is also required prior to graduation.
Tuition: $14,287

#17 – University of Cincinnati

Bachelor of Urban Planning

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website
Points: 9
The University of Cincinnati offers a professional bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degree program. It’s 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
  • Site Analysis and Design

A robust cooperative education program is a stand-out feature of this bachelor of regional and urban planning program. It allows 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.
Tuition: $11,000

#16 – Eastern Michigan University

Bachelor’s in Urban Planning

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Website
Points: 9
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
  • Methods of Planning Analysis

Elective options include classes such as:

  • Transportation Geography and Planning
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Zoning and Land Development Regulation
  • Historic Preservation

Bachelor of regional and urban planning students will also complete an independent study experience and an internship before graduation.
Tuition: $10,417

#15 – Portland State University

BA/BS in Community Development

Portland, Oregon

Points: 9
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
  • 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
  • Measuring People and Communities in the Urban Context

Elective classes include:

  • Population & Society
  • Poverty in the Urban Community
  • History of American Cities

Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are also required to complete either a field experience or internship before graduation.
Tuition: $8,034

#14 – University of Missouri—Kansas City

Bachelor’s in Urban Planning and Design

Kansas City, Missouri

Website
Points: 9
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
  • Quantitative Methods

Professional electives include titles such as:

  • Historic Preservation
  • Neighborhood and Community Development
  • Digital Planning
  • 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.
Tuition: $7,837

#13 – University of Wisconsin—Osh Kosh

Bachelor’s in Urban Planning

Osh Kosh, Wisconsin

Website
Points: 9
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
  • Land Use Regulation

Students are also required to choose courses from four different areas of planning:

  • Statistics
  • Planning Policy
  • Geography—Human,
  • Geography—Applied Physical

Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are also required to complete a field experience and an internship before graduation.
Tuition: $7,487

#12 – Florida Atlantic University

Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning

Boca Raton, Florida

Website
Points: 9
Florida Atlantic University offers a bachelor’s in regional and urban planning 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
  • a 3-credit hour internship

Core courses include titles such as:

  • Capital Facilities Planning
  • Sustainable Cities
  • City Structure and Change.

Elective options include:

  • Community Service Systems
  • Coastal and Marine Sciences
  • The Urban Community
  • 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.
Tuition: $4,831

#11 – Ohio State University

Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning

Columbus, Ohio

Website
Points: 10
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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Latin America.


Tuition: $10,037

#10 – Eastern Washington University

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning

Spokane, Washington

Website
Points: 10
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
  • location analysis

Bachelor of urban and regional planning students will take courses such as:

  • Planning Implementation
  • Transportation Planning
  • Community Development.


Tuition: $7,866

#9 – University of Southern Maine

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Planning and Policy

Portland, Maine

Website
Points: 10
The bachelor’s in regional and urban planning program at 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
  • Environmental Regulation

There are also concentration-specific classes like:

  • Land Use Planning
  • Site Planning and Assessment
  • Natural Resource Policy


Tuition: $7,796

#8 – California State University—Chico

Bachelor of Human Geography and Planning

Chico, California

Points: 10

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
  • Water Resource Policy and Planning

This bachelor of regional and urban planning program also boasts an impressive study abroad program. It gives students the opportunity to study in 35 different countries around the globe.
Tuition: $7,022

#7 – Arizona State University

Urban Planning Degree Onlineo

Tempe, Arizona

Website
Points: 11
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. This allows 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
  • Statistics for Geographers.


Tuition: $10,158

#6 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning

Indiana, Pennsylvania

Website
Points: 12
Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a bachelor’s in regional and urban planning with two concentrations:

  • Land Use Planning
  • 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
  • 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
  • Transportation Planning.


Tuition: $9,936

#5 – Westfield State University

Bachelor of Science in Regional Planning

Westfield, Massachusetts

Website
Points: 12
Westfield State University’s bachelor’s in regional and urban planning is flexible, allowing students to complete coursework on a part-time or full-time basis. Two concentrations are available:

  • Environmental Planning
  • Urban & Social Justice

Several related minors are also offered, including:

  • the Applied Geography minor
  • the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) minor
  • the Commercial Recreation and Tourism interdisciplinary minor.

Specialty courses in planning include:

  • Urban/Environmental Analysis
  • Green Cities
  • Site Planning

Bachelor of regional and urban planning students are invited to take part in internship opportunities through the university.
Tuition: $8,815

#4 – Frostburg State University

Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning

Frostburg, Maryland

Website
Points: 12
Frostburg State University offers an interdisciplinary bachelor’s in regional and urban planning degree. It integrates topics from several related disciplines including:

  • geography
  • political science
  • communications
  • economics

Required introductory and professional core courses include:

  • Human Geography
  • Principles of Geographic Information Science
  • Public Administration

Students will tailor their curriculum around one of four advanced planning foci:

Community Planning

Tourism Development

Mapping Science

Environmental Planning

This bachelor of regional and urban planning degree program also features a study-abroad option in Newcastle, England.

Tuition: $8,488

#3 – Iowa State University

Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Ames, Iowa

Website
Points: 13
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
  • 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
  • Environmental Planning

Bachelor of regional and urban planning students must submit a portfolio prior to graduation.
Tuition: $7,736

#2– University of Massachusetts–Amherst

Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Community Development

Amherst, Massachusetts

Points: 15
This is one of the most customizable programs in our ranking. The bachelor’s in regional and urban planning program at 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. Or 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
  • built environment


Tuition: $14,171

#1 – East Carolina University

Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning

Greenville, North Carolina

Website
Points: 18
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
  • urban studies

In addition to concentration-specific courses, students will take core classes such as:

  • Introduction to Planning Techniques
  • Urban Form and Design
  • 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.
Tuition: $7,056

Related:

CVO Staff

This concludes our ranking of the 20 top value bachelor’s in urban and regional planning degree programs.