Urban Planning


Why study Urban Planning?

Urban planning and management are key municipal functions in the United States and Western Europe. In the rapidly growing developing world, urban expansion has far outstripped the capacity of city governments to cope with the bewildering array of problems this mass movement and spatial reorganization of the population generates. Huge, difficult-to-manage, multi-centered megacities continue to emerge worldwide, along with the proliferation of thousands of other smaller cities. Nevertheless, the attraction of urban life has never been greater. With more than 50 percent of the world’s population living in cities at the turn of the century, the 21st century will be the world’s first truly urban era.

The challenge this urbanized world poses is the substance of the planning profession. Planners are dedicated to developing innovative approaches to managing cities and planning their development. The constructive management of change is at the heart of the profession. Planners often work in local governments and communities, but their concerns are issues that affect the world — land use, social policy, historic preservation, transportation, housing, economic development, policy planning, environmental protection, urban design and international development. Planners are visionaries working for a better future through improvements in the quality of life in one or more of these areas.

Admission Requirements

The College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati seeks to attract, enroll and graduate academically talented students of varied and diverse backgrounds. Success in our programs is largely dependent upon sound academic preparation. However, in multidisciplinary programs like those in DAAP, students’ insight and perspective are greatly enhanced by exposure to students from different backgrounds, geographies and co-curricular interests. DAAP has designed an admissions review process and a timetable to support these goals.

Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA.

Freshman applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program.

Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following college-preparatory subjects:

  • 4 units of English
  • 4 units of math
  • 3 units of science
  • 5 units of electives*

*Elective units must include one or any combination of foreign language, fine arts, business, career-technical education, family and consumer sciences, technology, agricultural education or additional core courses not otherwise required.

People who are successful in urban planning typically have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning. They possess an interest in design combined with a heightened social consciousness. Urban planners are people-oriented. They possess strong communication skills and are comfortable in meeting with many different types of people, as well as being attentive listeners. Urban planners are interested in multidisciplinary issues and enjoy working collaboratively. Many seek international opportunities.

Urban planners develop solutions for many of society’s most pressing problems, providing a variety of services to cities, towns, states, regions and private clients interested in changing their physical, economic or social structures. A planner may generate plans to house the poor, create jobs, design public parks, preserve historic buildings or resolve traffic congestion and environmental problems.

The future is bright in the field of planning. Graduates go on to both private- and public-sector jobs. Opportunities continue to grow, and salaries remain competitive. Additionally, planning graduates are often given significant professional responsibility and challenges quite early in their careers.

Additional career options are listed on the Center for Exploratory Studies website.

While there is not a minor in urban planning, students may choose to earn a certificate in one of the following programs: urban planning, urban design, or historic preservation. Students interested in applying to a certificate program must submit a completed application to the DAAP Student Affairs Office, 5470 Aronoff.

The certificate in planning gives students skills in the planning way of thinking, essential in business, industry, public service and the arts. Students are given specific skills that are grounded in specific theories. A proficiency in basic statistics is required at the time of admission or shortly thereafter.

The certificate of historic preservation is open to degree candidates in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. This program is designed to develop an appreciation for and a working knowledge of the issues and techniques involved in historic preservation.

All prospective students interested in this program should visit the DAAP website to find more information or contact the DAAP Student Affairs office at 513-556-1376 or daap-admissions@uc.edu. All prospective students are encouraged to visit campus to learn more about their major(s) of interest. To register for a DAAP "College Close-Up" Visit and a "Preview UC" campus tour, please go here.

For more information on DAAP advising, please go here. Current DAAP students can schedule an appointment with their advisors by calling DAAP Student Affairs at 513-556-1376 or by using the Starfish scheduling tool on Blackboard (canopy.uc.edu).

  • The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York City, allowing DAAP students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
  • UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is one of the most comprehensive colleges of its type in the country. A collection of nationally respected design and art programs is housed in a unique and educationally stimulating architectural setting. Architecture students have opportunities to enroll in courses in a range of related disciplines and to participate in interdisciplinary studios or special projects.
  • Students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally.
  • Other educational opportunities include organized travel semesters, foreign study semesters and student exchange programs in England, Germany and Denmark. Many architecture students also pursue joint degrees and certificate programs within the college and the university.
  • The DAAP college library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalogue, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
  • The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Apple computers and peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom. All computing equipment is linked by high-speed Ethernet to facilitate access across the campus.
  • The college supports a Rapid Prototyping Center, which is the home of state-of-the-art equipment that allows students to create communication aids for their design projects. Using CAD (computer-aided design) models, students are able to create physical models using three basic methods: 3-D printing, large format laser-cutting and CNC (computer numeric control) devices, including a Komo CNC Router. This facility is intended for all DAAP students to use in creating large-scale design.
  • The University of Cincinnati's School of Planning is the only urban planning program in the country which requires a cooperative education experience. Urban planning students work for both small and large businesses across the country. Students begin their co-op experiences during their sophomore year, and alternate semesters of full-time work and study on a year-round calendar until the final semester of the fifth year (there is no tuition for the semesters students work). They graduate with five semesters, or a year and a half, of work experience in their field.
  • The School of Planning offers several alternative educational experiences available to its students. One is an exchange program wherein students may enroll for one semester in another academic institution either here or abroad. Formal programs exist in the Netherlands and in Turkey. There is also a "Summer Field School in Sustainable Development" allowing students to spend one semester in a work-study project. Recent projects have been in Greece. Students may also elect to participate in three-week summer studio programs offered in Sardinia, Italy, and Curitiba, Brazil.
  • Computer Requirements: All undergraduate students in this program are required to purchase a personal laptop computer. Each discipline has its own specific requirements for hardware and software. You can find more information about computer requirements here. Please note that these requirements may be slightly altered as equipment evolves. Therefore, students new to DAAP are encouraged to delay their computer purchase until the summer prior to entering to make the most informed computer purchase. Many of our programs have additional technology requirements for students in the later years of study.

Students must complete a total of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students must also complete five semesters (or six quarters) of mandatory professional practice (co-op) and receive a satisfactory (S) for all required work semsters. Students must obtain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 and, in addition, must have at least a 2.0 grade point average for the senior year to be eligible for graduation. In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have earned at least a 3.6 grade point average and 60 semester hours.

Students seeking to transfer from another regionally accredited university or college must have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. The application is available here. Transfer students to urban planning are generally admitted to the first year of the program. More advanced transfer students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC must have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. Transfer students to fine arts are generally admitted to the first year of the program.

Current UC students wishing to transition into a DAAP program should submit an "Application for Change in College and Program" form to the DAAP Student Affairs Office in Room 5470 Aronoff. This form is available here or in the DAAP Student Affairs Office.

Current DAAP students wishing to transition into a different major must submit a "Change of Program" form to the DAAP Student Affairs Office in Room 5470 Aronoff. This form is available here or in the DAAP Student Affairs Office.

Unless an international student meets one of the exemptions listed here, he or she must complete the ACT, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL, or ELS.

Application Deadlines

For prospective and international high school students, admission to the urban planning program is on a rolling (first-come, first-served) basis; once all the available seats are filled, the program is closed. It is recommended that students apply by December 1 at 5:00 pm EST for maximum scholarship consideration.

Students seeking transfer from another college or program at UC or another regionally accredited university or college should submit a complete application for admission by the priority deadline of March 1 for the following academic year. 

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Bachelor of Urban Planning program at the University of Cincinnati is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB).

Contact Information

DAAP Student Affairs
College of DAAP
P.O. Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016

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Program Code: 23BC-URPL-BUP