PhD in Regional Planning

The internationally recognized PhD program in Regional Planning prepares scholars for leadership positions at universities and research institutions in the US and around the world as faculty and policy makers. It builds a strong foundation of planning and social science theories and hones skills in advanced research methods for students to develop expertise in a chosen specialization.

Chicago street from high rise balcony

PhD students in Regional Planning at DURP strive for and achieve excellence. Recent awards and achievements include:

  • Steve Sherman (2020): ACSP Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for Best Dissertation in Planning
  • Shurti Syal (2019): ACSP GPEIG Gill-Chin Lim Award for the Best Dissertation on International Planning
  • Max Eisenburger (current Ph.D. candidate): ACSP-Ewing Marion Kauffman 2019 Best Paper Award
  • Efadul Huq (current Ph.D. candidate): co-author of the most read/downloaded articles in 2018-19 issues of City & Community a leading journal in urban and regional planning.

Independent of our specialization DURP faculty have a strong social justice commitment, whereby two consecutive competitive cycles 2015 and 2017 our faculty Marc Doussard and Faranak Miraftab won the ACSP's Davidoff book award recognizing planning books on social justice and place-based inequities.

Professor Faranak Miraftab

From the program director, Professor Faranak Miraftab

Welcome to our community!

Diverse interests draw us into the Regional Planning field. But we share the same quest for knowledge that creates better neighborhoods, communities, and cities. Our research methods and theoretical frameworks vary. But, much of our work fits under one of the field’s traditional umbrellas: environment and land use, transportation, community development, and economic development. For example, some of us use theories from economics and the latest spatial econometric techniques. Others use recent advances in social network theory and ethnographic research methods. Together, we make a community of change-makers.

As a department, we learn from each other and from interdisciplinary collaborations. We encourage and support each other to push the limits of profound research. Our diverse faculty—respected leaders in their fields—actively collaborates with and mentors PhD students. Our work illustrates the intellectual breadth and multidisciplinary strength of Regional Planning at Illinois.

We educate for leadership positions in academia and research. No PhD program is an easy path. But the job placement of our graduates speaks for itself. Our program typically takes 4 years. It entails 2 years of coursework, followed by exams. Students dedicate the 3rd and 4th years to their dissertation and journal article publication. Most students receive funding through the department, frequently through teaching or research assistantships.

You can find more information about the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, What to Expect, How to Apply, and Financial Support on our website. You can also learn about our faculty, students, and community. We hope you will choose to visit us and learn more about our commitment to leadership, research, and expertise.

For answers about program policies and procedures, please reach out to me:

Professor Faranak Miraftab
PhD Program Director
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
111 Temple Buell Hall
611 E Lorado Taft Dr, Champaign, IL 61820
Voice: 217-333-3891
E-mail: faranak@illinois.edu

Professor Faranak Miraftab
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