The Urban Planning Emphasis within the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geography caters broadly to national and international students, its primary focus is on the Mountain West (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) which is the nation’s most urbanized region as well as its fastest growing. By 2050, the region may double in population to nearly 40 million people with nearly 25 million jobs. Much of the existing built environment will be rebuilt. Given global climate change, limited water supply, problematic air sheds, fragile landscapes, and growth pressures, sustainable planning and development is an imperative – more so in the Mountain West than perhaps any other region in the US. The Urban Planning Emphasis will help prepare the next generations of scholars and researchers for the interdisciplinary challenges of shaping urban areas and their regions to become sustainable and resilient.
With an Urban Planning Emphasis, Geography doctoral graduates will be competitive in urban planning academic programs, due to their rigorous training in the foundations of planning theory, practice and research.
Graduate students in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment (SGDE) benefit from the broad range of faculty expertise and strong links to interdisciplinary research centers across campus. Our work spans the discipline, from physical geography (climate science, dendrochronology, remote sensing, spatial science), to human-environment (political ecology, water policy, climate change) to human geography (development, state theory). Our shared commitment to collaboration and community makes for a lively and engaged department.
SGDE offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, two professional master’s degrees, and participates in several graduate certificate programs
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
Applicants to the Urban Planning Emphasis of the PhD in Geography submit their applications to the SGDE PhD program by the annual deadline in early January, although later submissions may be allowed by the Urban Planning Emphasis Committee in consultation with the SGDE Director.
MASTER'S DEGREE REQUIRED
GRE (no required minimum but scores should be above average)
Letters of recommendation (minimum 2, 3 preferred)- Confidential
Statement of purpose
List of courses currently enrolled in and not on transcript
TOEFL (for international students). Either a score of 550 [PB], 79 [IBT], or IELTS [composite score of 7, no subject area below a 6]. To be considered as a TA, a citizen of a non-English-speaking country must demonstrate proficiency in spoken English via examination. This requires a score of at least 26 on the speaking section of the IBT TOEFL.
NOTE: A master's degree is required for admission to Ph.D. program (applicants without master's degrees who are interested in the Ph.D. need to initially apply for the master's degree).
We encourage you to apply for external funding to help cover your graduate studies and research. Many of our students have successfully competed for the fellowships and dissertation grants listed below.
Descriptions can be found here: https://geography.arizona.edu/graduate-funding-and-fellowships
Please also visit https://financialaid.arizona.edu/scholarshipuniverse for funding opportunites available across the UA campus.
Later submissions and off-cycle applications may be accepted on a case-by-case basis as allowed by the Urban Planning Emphasis Committee in conjunction with the SGDE Director and admissions committee.
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
The PhD in Geography requires 36 credits in Geography and a minimum of 12 credits in the minor field, in addition to 18 credits of dissertation. In coursework, the Urban Planning Emphasis in Geography requires a minimum of 18 credits in Planning (including both core and elective classes) and 18 credits in Geography (including core classes GEOG 500 and GEOG 689), plus 12 credits in the minor in Geography. The specific classes designated for the minor will depend on each student’s prior background, master’s degree, and future professional goals. Two methods classes are required for all Geography PhD students.
Geography Ph.D. Core
GEOG 689: History of Geographic Thought (3 units)
GEOG 500: Research Design (3 units)
Six (6) units of advanced methods tailored to the needs of each student, as defined in discussions with his/her advisor and advisory committee. Can include PLG courses specified for the emphasis.
Geography Major: Additional courses in GEOG as needed to bring total to 18 units GEOG. Can include PLG courses specified for the emphasis.
Additional units towards PhD: Graduate coursework and/or units transferred from master’s degree (master’s degree is required before admission to PhD) 18
Dissertation: GEOG 920 Dissertation 18
Total major core units required: 54
For Ph.D. students in the Urban Planning Emphasis, the Ph.D. minor is Geography (12 credits). Can include PLG courses specified for the emphasis. The specific content of the minor will depend on students’ background in planning and geography: 12
Total PhD units required: 66 (54 plus 12 in the Urban Planning Emphasis)
PLG 501A Planning Theory and Practice (3)
PLG 514 Methods in Planning (4)
LAR 570 Introduction to GIS for PLG and LAR (4)
PLG 660 Land Use Planning Law (3)
PLG 572 Land Use Planning Analysis (3)
PLG 512 Comp Planning and Land Use Controls (3)
PLG 699 Planning Research (3) (listed in catalog as Indep Study; required with no waivers/transfers)
GEOG Electives Additional courses as needed (1-15) to ensure minimum of 18 units satisfying Planning Emphasis across the major and minor, and minimum of overall GEOG required units for the major and for the minor (see section X) Courses may be taken outside SGDE and should be agreed upon beforehand by student and advisor. Please use the course catalog for a current and complete list of courses available to UA students.
Planning Emphasis units (a) Some or all of these courses may be waived (and/or transferred in as substitute) for students with prior graduate studies in Planning. (b) GEOG will accept these PLG/LAR courses as meeting GEOG PhD major or minor requirements. (c) Because emphasis students will minor in the major, these courses can be used to meet the requirements for both the major and the minor.
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.