Regional Development Planning Degree Information

Curriculum Overview

To view the curriculum for this program, please click here.

Obtaining a PhD degree at the University of Cincinnati requires 108 semester credit hours beyond bachelor's degree or 60 semester credit hours beyond master's degree. At least 54 credit hours are devoted to course work and 6 credit hours are devoted to dissertation research.

The PhD degree in Urban and Regional Development Planning builds on the strengths of the School of Planning's existing graduate curriculum and the school's interdisciplinary research and graduate faculty. Regional development planning is a complex domain for doctoral study because of its synthesis of theoretical constructs from planning and economics; concepts and approaches from other social sciences; complex social, demographic and racial factors; land use issues; politics and policy formulation for development; and environmental sustainability concerns and protection. Because of this complexity, individual students narrow their program focus by choosing a Major Area of Specialization, which must be a variation of regional development planning. Some examples might be:

  • Metropolitan development planning (including subjects such as the impact of sprawl on central city revitalization);
  • Regional/National Development Planning
  • Regional Development, Planning and Management in Developing Countries

Once a student in the program has chosen an area for his/her dissertation research, the student's doctoral advisor and other members of his/her doctoral committee will assist the student select appropriate courses. In addition, each student in the PhD program selects one minor area of specialization from areas within or related to planning. Faculty from within the School of Planning and from other departments and academic units on campus are identified to represent these minors, depending on the subject matter. A representative list of Minor Areas of Specialization is found below.

In the School of Planning, they might include:

  • Community Development (including Housing and Poverty Studies)
  • Regional Development Methods (including Data Management, and GIS)

Note: This minor could be organized in collaboration with the Departments of Economics, Geography, and Operations Research.

  • Environmental Management

Note: This minor could be organized in collaboration with the Departments of Biology, Geology, Geography, and Civil/Environmental Engineering.

  • Regional Theory (including Regional Science, Regional Economics, 
  • Location Theory and Regional Planning)

Note: This minor could be organized in collaboration with the Department of Geography.

Elsewhere on campus, they could include:

  • Urban and Regional Economics (Department of Economics)
  • Real Estate Development (Program in Real Estate, College of Business Administration)
  • Politics of Development (Department of Political Science)
  • Ethnic and Gender Studies in Development

Note: This minor could be organized in collaboration with the programs in African Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies and Women's Studies, as well as the Department of Sociology.

Program of Study

The program takes four years from first enrollment. The first two are in residence for course work; the third is for conducting field research; and the fourth is for dissertation preparation. Each student in the program develops, in consultation with her/his doctoral advisor and doctoral committee, a study plan. The study plan identifies the student's major area of specialization and minor area of specialization, and it details the course requirements for the individual student, as well as the credit hour requirements associated with the completion of the degree. This includes the following categories:

  • Prerequisite courses
  • Foundation courses
  • Major Area of Specialization courses
  • Minor Area of Specialization courses
  • Methods courses
  • Doctoral colloquiums

It is expected that the study plan for each student will be individualized. Changes in the study plan can be made at any time before the comprehensive exam, with the consent of the student's doctoraladvisor, her/his individual doctoral committee, and the doctoral program committee.

During the comprehensive written and oral examination, students will be examined on theory, the major and minor areas of specialization, and methodology.

The five major areas of specialization courses, all of which are offered in the second year, establish a common research language for all the students. These include:

Theories and Models of Regional Development at the Global Level. Fall semester. Examines theories of regional organization, the relationships among regions at various hierarchical levels, and growth and development as interpreted by several schools of thought. Emphasis is given to the new economics shaped by global forces in the industrialized world through market treaties and in the developing world through information and industrial technology, labor mobility, and outsourcing.

Economy, Environment and Sustainable Development.
Fall semester. Examines the economic development aspects of environmental policies, the literature and politics of cost/benefit and other methods of analysis of environmental implications, the global dimensions of environmental problems, and the economic growth/environmental protection and conservation synergy promoted by the principles and objectives of sustainable development.

Seminar on the Implementation and Management of Regional Development Plans and Programs. Spring semester. Focuses on implementation aspects of regional development plans and programs. Beginning with the examination of regional development policies and their implementation, the seminar proceeds to review the institutional, budgetary, and political sides of the implementation effort at the regional level. Special attention is given to case studies of successful and failing examples of regional governance and metropolitan cooperation efforts.

Metropolitan and Regional Structure and Dynamics. Spring semester. Examines the economic, social, political and environmental factors, which help shape the structure and the spatial configuration of regions. At the metropolitan level, it examines the dynamics of multiple political jurisdictions, the phenomena of suburbanization, sprawl and urban/suburban polarization, and the efforts of metropolitan regions to impose growth management schemes via political or planning devices and tools.

Regional Political Economy. Spring semester. Examines how we talk about public policy, planning, political economy, and development and explores the ways that talk shapes our understandings of the interplay of state, economy, space, and society.

Development Planning

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