PhD in Regional Planning

Program Overview


The Ph.D. Program in Regional Planning educates scholars for positions in leading universities and research institutions. It builds a strong foundation of planning and social science theories, advanced research methods and design, and expertise in a chosen specialization. Our goal is for students to complete their Ph.D. degrees within four years, if not three. The first two years are devoted to coursework, a qualifying examination to demonstrate readiness for doctoral research, and preparation to defend a dissertation proposal. The third and possible fourth years are dedicated to the dissertation and journal publication. Most students need a fourth year because of the wish to build skills that require more coursework, the complexity of the dissertation research, an uncertain path to the dissertation topic, or an irresistible opportunity to teach a course or continue a productive research project.

Diverse interests draw us into Regional Planning, but we share the quest for knowledge that creates better places—better neighborhoods, communities, cities, and regions. Most of us fit under one or more of the program’s historical research umbrellas: environment and land use, community development, and regional development. Our research modes and theoretical frameworks vary. For example, some of us use theories from economics and the latest spatial econometric techniques, while others use recent advances in social network theory and ethnographic research methods. We learn from our diversity, cross disciplinary boundaries together, and help each other do more profound research. Recent dissertation titles and job placement of our graduates illustrate the intellectual breadth and multi-disciplinary strength of Regional Planning at Illinois.

You can find inforamtion about the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, admissions criteria, how to apply, admission FAQs, financial support, and campus visit on our website. You can also learn about our Doctoral Students in Urban Planning (DSUP), their activities and profile of current students on their website.

Doctoral students work very closely with their advisors and other faculty members. The Ph.D. Program Director provides administrative oversight and intellectual leadership. With questions about program policies and procedures, please contact:

Professor Faranak Miraftab
Ph.D. Program Director
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
111 Temple Buell Hall
611 Taft Drive, Champaign, IL 61820
Voice: 217-265-8238
Fax: 217-244-1717
E-mail: faranak@illinois.edu