Regional Development Planning Admission Requirements


Admission to the PhD program is determined by the School Doctoral Program Committee on the basis of an applicant's academic record, commitment to scholarly study, and potential for creative research. Applicants generally hold, or are in the process of completing, a master's degree in planning or a closely related academic discipline. Qualified applicants in other academic areas are also considered for admission to the PhD program, with the understanding that they may have to take a number of courses in order to acquire the necessary background required for the pursuit of doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati.

In truly exceptional cases, involving appropriate combinations of scholarship and experience, students may be accepted into the PhD program with only a bachelor's degree. In such cases, entering students will be required to enroll in and complete the course of study leading towards the professional Master of Community Planning (MCP) program, minus the writing of a master's thesis. While such students may proceed directly to the doctoral program, they will only receive the MCP if they fulfill the internship and thesis requirements of that program.

At a minimum, a successful applicant for admission into the PhD program is expected to have completed a number of other courses in his or her undergraduate and/or graduate preparation totaling:

  • 3 quarter credit hours of calculus
  • 3 quarter credit hours of natural sciences
  • 3 quarter credit hours of environmental studies
  • 20 quarter credit hours of humanities and social sciences (including economics)

Application Requirements

The Graduate School has moved the entire application submission process online so that all materials, except for transcript(s), must be submitted online. A full application must include the supporting documents listed below.

  • Official University of Cincinnati application to the Graduate School and $65 application fee
  • Unofficial transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended. Note: Official transcripts are not required during the admissions process, and only unofficial transcripts are required for the application. Applicants should not send official transcripts until they are offered admission. For complete requirements please visit the Graduate School transcript requirements:  
    • For international students, records of prior academic study must be submitted in English
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (international students only)
  • Three reference letters (to be submitted online)
    • At least two should be academic recommendations
  • Sample of written work (e.g. master's thesis or published article)
    • Select a piece relevant to admission to the program
  • Statement of purpose; should include the following:
    • Summary of your career goals and reasons for pursuing doctoral education
    • Discussion of how your undergraduate/graduate studies have prepared you for doctoral study in regional development
    • Proposed area of concentration (e.g., local/inner city economic development, regional/metropolitan development, international development). What might be the subject of your doctoral research?
    • Potential advisor for doctoral studies. To which School of Planning faculty member's work is your research interests related?

Note:  The school normally expects successful applicants to exceed the median test scores on the GRE.

Admission to the School of Planning is contingent upon receipt of the final official transcript stating the date the degree was conferred. Please send these to the following address:

School of Planning
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
6210 DAAP
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210016-0016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016

Application Deadline

Applications and all supporting materials should be received prior to February 1 to assure first consideration for a graduate award from the School of Planning. Those seeking an Albert C. Yates Scholarship/Fellowship should apply by December 1. Accordingly, the GRE and TOEFL should be taken at an early date to ensure timely receipt of scores.

Additional Information

If you have additional questions about the admissions process, please email or call 513-556-4943.

For any information regarding electronically submitting your application or attaching required materials, please contact the Graduate School Help Desk at 513-556-1496 or email






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