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Urban Planning

The urban planning program at Texas A&M addresses complex community problems. You’ll learn to understand the needs of a viable community and how to approach its challenges. Through service-learning experiences, you’ll learn to design and develop the built environment. Prepare to solve the problems that interest you most by pursuing a policy or urban design emphasis.

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About the Program

The Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning program prepares students to solve problems in communities across the state, nation, and world. Students learn to deal effectively with the opportunities and challenges inherent in the development and growth of communities.

Policy Track

The policy track focuses on social and economic issues that can be addressed with policy solutions. You’ll learn to assess problems, plan policy solutions, and evaluate the outcomes of programs and policies. 

You will be well prepared for work in the public, private or non-profit sector. For policy track students seeking to further their education, our program also prepares you for graduate education in planning, law and other related fields.

Download Policy Track Program Flyer

Areas of Emphasis

  • Community development
  • Transportation planning
  • Housing
  • Economic development
  • Planning management/finance
  • Parks and recreation
  • Historic preservation
  • Community activism/empowerment

Urban Design Track

The urban design track uses design to address problems in the built environment. You’ll learn to challenge inherent problems in the development, growth and culture of neighborhoods, cities, and regions.

Upon graduation, urban design track students may pursue work in the public, private or non-profit sectors as geodesign or planning professionals. Alternatively, you can pursue a graduate degree in urban planning or urban design. You could also choose to pursue a Master of Landscape Architecture or a Master of Architecture (career change) degree.

Download Design Track Program Flyer

Areas of Emphasis

  • GeoDesign
  • Spatial analytics
  • Land use science
  • Community development
  • Transportation planning
  • Housing
  • Economic development

* Salary ranges estimated from PayScale.

FAQs about the Urban Planning program

What is urban planning?

Urban planning shapes the built environment by following technical and political processes to define how land will be used. Urban planners collaborate with government officials, business leaders, and citizens to help build communities following evidence-based choices of where and how people work and live.

Do I need to be licensed to become an urban planner?

No, you do not need to become licensed to be an urban planner.

How much does it cost to attend?

The cost to attend varies depending on a variety of factors, including semester of admission, student type, how many hours you take per semester, and rate type. Use the Texas A&M Tuition Calculator to get the best estimate of your tuition cost per semester.

Additional costs to consider include course materials, housing, meal plans, parking, and fees.

What financial aid and scholarships are available to students?

Numerous scholarships and financial aid are available through Texas A&M University, the College of Architecture, and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. Incoming freshmen applicants are considered for university scholarships through the ApplyTexas Application or the Coalition Application. Continuing students can apply for additional scholarships through the University Scholarship Application for Continuing Students. For more information about university scholarships, visit scholarships.tamu.edu.


Curriculum

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning is a four-year undergraduate degree and requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. The multidisciplinary curriculum features theoretical training in the social and natural sciences, analytical methods, and applied problem solving.

BS-URPN Policy Track | Catalog 144 (2021 – 2022)

Year 1 31 credit hours

Fall Semester – 16 credit hours

ENGL 104 Composition & Rhetoric 3 credit hours
Focus on referential and persuasive researched essays through the development of analytical reading ability, critical thinking and library research skills.
MATH 140 Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences 3 credit hours
Application of common algebraic functions, including polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and rational, to problems in business, economics and the social sciences; includes mathematics of finance, including simple and compound interest and annuities; systems of linear equations; matrices; linear programming; and probability, including expected value.
POLS 206 American National Government 3 credit hours
Survey of American national government, politics, and constitutional development.
LAND 101 Introduction to Landscape Architecture Practice 1 credit hour
Explores and evaluates the diversity of landscape architectural practice; defines the traditional practice forms and examines evolving and boundary expanding opportunities for future practice; introduces the departmental curriculum and faculty.
URPN 201 The Evolving City 3 credit hours
Introduction to the history of contemporary urban and regional planning and how the evolving forms of cities and regions pose opportunities and/or challenges for planners; understanding key social, economic, political and technological forces that shape city form and function and its ramification for urban and regional planning.
American History 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about American history courses.
First Year Experience 0 credit hours

Spring Semester – 15 credit hours

ARCH 250 Survey of World Architecture History II 3 credit hours
A survey of world architecture and the human-designed and built environment from the 13th to the 19th century.
MATH 142 Business Calculus 3 credit hours
Limits and continuity; techniques and applications of derivatives including curve sketching and optimization; techniques and applications of integrals; emphasis on applications in business, economics, and social sciences.
POLS 207 State & Local Government 3 credit hours
Survey of state and local government and politics with special reference to the constitution and politics of Texas; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.
ECON 202 Principles of Economics 3 credit hours
Elementary principles of economics; the economic problem and the price system; theory of demand, theory of production and the firm, theory of supply.
URPN 202 Building Better Cities 3 credit hours
Determinants of land use patterns; classification of uses; idealized conceptual alternatives; location and size criteria; mapping; comprehensive planning process, relationship to circulation planning.
Year 2 31 credit hours

Fall Semester – 15 credit hours

URPN 210 Urban Analytical Methods I 3 credit hours
Study of various analytical techniques used in urban and regional decision making; quantitative approaches to analyze and manipulate data; utilization of statistical packages for data, analysis and communication to enhance urban planning modeling.
RENR 205 Fundamentals of Ecology 3 credit hours
Principles of ecology using a holistic approach treating plants, animals and humans as one integrated whole; composition, structure, nutrient cycles and energetics of biotic communities; adaptations to environmental factors; biotic relationships; and problems of environmental quality and resource use.
LAND 240 History of Landscape Architecture 3 credit hours
Introduction to history of land use, urban design and planning, and site design from prehistory to the present in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia; contemporary issues in landscape architecture such as sustainability, ecological design, and professional roles, both historically and at present, with comparisons to American examples.
General Elective 3 credit hours
Refer to course catalog for information about general elective courses.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Core Curriculum (SOCI 205 preferred) 3 credit hours
Refer to course catalog for information about general elective courses.

Spring Semester – 16 credit hours

URPN 310 Urban Analytical Methods II 3 credit hours
Focuses on research conducted by planners, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists and a variety of applied social scientists; examines variety of procedures employed when conducting research in urban areas; furthers understanding and knowledge of statistical methods employed in social research and elements of geographical analysis.
Life and Physical Sciences Core Curriculum 4 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about life and physical sciences courses.
American History 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about American history courses.
Sociology Requirement (upper level) 3 credit hours
See advisor for a list of approved courses.
General Elective 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about general elective courses.
Year 3 32 credit hours

Fall Semester – 16 credit hours

ENGL 210 Technical Writing 3 credit hours
Focus on writing for professional rhetorical situations; correspondence and researched reports fundamental to the workplace—memoranda, letters, electronic correspondence, research proposals and presentations; use of visual rhetoric and document design in print and electronic mediums; emphasis on audience awareness, clarity of communication and collaborative team-work.
RENR 215 Fundamentals of Ecology Lab 1 credit hour
Sampling and estimating plant-animal populations, measuring environmental factors and recognizing and studying morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations of plants and animals to biotic or abiotic influences.
URPN 220 Digital Communications I 3 credit hours
Applications of computer graphics, rendering, and visualization software in urban design, landscape architecture, and environmental analysis; introduction to basic concepts and principles of graphic composition; rendering, visualization, and linkages to landscape-referenced data.
URPN 302 Planning Law 3 credit hours
Familiarization with the fundamental principles of planning law and legislation; legal foundation for the urban planning process; alternative methods of plan implementation; emphasis on legal issues as they impact land use planning and development at the municipal level of government; participation in mock advocacy trials and public hearings.
RENR 375 Conservation of Natural Resources 3 credit hours
Principles and philosophies associated with the development, management and use of natural resources; ecological and social implications inherent in management alternatives involving the natural environment and use of renewable natural resources.
Supporting Course** 3 credit hours
See an advisor for list of supporting courses.

Spring Semester – 15 credit hours

CARC 481 Seminar 1 credit hour
Preparatory seminar for select College of Architecture study away and internships; topics include introduction to the language, culture and history of study abroad location. Must be taken prior to the student’s study away semester.
URPN 483 Studio in Urban & Regional Planning 4 credit hours
Studio introduces the confluence of ecological, environmental, economic, social, cultural, and political forces impacting the planning, design, and development of complex urban environments; site planning, design process, sustainability.
URPN 401 Policy Implementation 3 credit hours
Techniques of implementing major urban development programs and plans; capital improvements programming and budgeting; overview of regulatory measures including zoning and subdivision regulations; public involvement process; and fiscal planning.
URPN 325 Intro to GIS in Urban and Regional Planning 3 credit hours
Provides an understanding of GIS fundamentals; basic concepts, principles and functions; essential skills for applying GIS in various fields such as urban planning, landscape architecture, land development, environmental studies, transportation and hazard management; based on learning through class projects.
URPN 330 Land Development 3 credit hours
Interface between the physical and financial dimensions in design and development to achieve building and project economies; creating a physical product and a financial venture that are responsive to social and environmental concerns and to market economy and finance.
KINE 120 or any core science 1 credit hour
Refer to the course catalog for information about science courses.
Year 4 21-27 credit hours

Fall Semester – 6 or 12 credit hours

URPN 494 or CARC 301 Internship or Field Studies in Design Innovation 6 credit hours
Study abroad students will take CARC 301, CARC 311, and CARC 331. Other university courses will be approved individually through advisor. Internship students will register for URPN 494 in 4th year, fall semester. Two approved supporting coursework courses must be taken in semesters other than fall 4th year.
Study Abroad of 2 Concentration Electives** 6 credit hours
See advisor for list of approved courses.

Spring Semester – 15 credit hours

URPN 331 Public & Private Infrastructure Funding 3 credit hours
An introduction to issues of financing public and public-private development project; exploring the difference between raising revenue, including the trade offs associated with establishing a sustainable tax base, and raising capital through capital markets; illustration of the range of decisions with financing public and public-private partnerships.
URPN 493 Urban and Regional Planning Capstone 5 credit hours
Syntheses and application of skills and knowledge gained through coursework applied to the development of creative solutions to real-world projects.
Supporting Course 3 credit hours
See advisor for a list of approved courses.
General Elective 4 credit hours
Refer to course catalog for information about general elective courses.

BS-URPN Urban Design Track | Catalog 144 (2021 – 2022)

Year 1 29 credit hours

Fall Semester – 14 credit hours

ENDS 101 Design Process 3 credit hours
Fundamental design processes, issues and theories relevant to design resolution and the creation of new ideas; creative thought processes from the formation of ideas through incubation to final product and future impact on the physical environment and society.
ENGL 104 Composition & Rhetoric 3 credit hours
Focus on referential and persuasive researched essays through the development of analytical reading ability, critical thinking and library research skills.
LAND 101 Introduction to Landscape Architecture Practice 1 credit hour
Explores and evaluates the diversity of landscape architectural practice; defines the traditional practice forms and examines evolving and boundary expanding opportunities for future practice; introduces the departmental curriculum and faculty.
RENR 205 Fundamentals of Ecology 3 credit hours
Principles of ecology using a holistic approach treating plants, animals and humans as one integrated whole; composition, structure, nutrient cycles and energetics of biotic communities; adaptations to environmental factors; biotic relationships; and problems of environmental quality and resource use.
URPN 201 The Evolving City 3 credit hours
Introduction to the history of contemporary urban and regional planning and how the evolving forms of cities and regions pose opportunities and/or challenges for planners; understanding key social, economic, political and technological forces that shape city form and function and its ramification for urban and regional planning.
General Elective 1 credit hour
Refer to the course catalog for information about general elective courses.
First Year Experience 0 credit hours

Spring Semester – 15 credit hours

ECON 202 Principles of Economics 3 credit hours
Elementary principles of economics; the economic problem and the price system; theory of demand, theory of production and the firm, theory of supply; the interaction of demand and supply; also taught at Galveston campus.
LAND 240 History of Landscape Architecture 3 credit hours
Introduction to history of land use, urban design and planning, and site design from prehistory to the present in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia; contemporary issues in landscape architecture such as sustainability, ecological design, and professional roles, both historically and at present, with comparisons to American examples.
MATH 140 Mathematics for Business & Social Sciences 3 credit hours
Application of common algebraic functions, including polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and rational, to problems in business, economics and the social sciences; includes mathematics of finance, including simple and compound interest and annuities; systems of linear equations; matrices; linear programming; and probability, including expected value. Only one of the following will satisfy the requirements for a degree: MATH 140 or MATH 168.
POLS 206 American National Government 3 credit hours
Survey of American national government, politics, and constitutional development; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.
URPN 202 Building Better Cities 3 credit hours
Determinants of land use patterns; classification of uses; idealized conceptual alternatives; location and size criteria; mapping; comprehensive planning process, relationship to circulation planning.
Year 2 32 credit hours

Fall Semester – 16 credit hours

MATH 142 Business Calculus 3 credit hours
Limits and continuity; techniques and applications of derivatives including curve sketching and optimization; techniques and applications of integrals; emphasis on applications in business, economics, and social sciences.
URPN 210 Urban Analytical Methods I 3 credit hours
Study of various analytical techniques used in urban and regional decision making; quantitative approaches to analyze and manipulate data; utilization of statistical packages for data, analysis and communication to enhance urban planning modeling.
URPN 220 Digital Communication I 3 credit hours
Applications of computer graphics, rendering, and visualization software in urban design, landscape architecture, and environmental analysis; introduction to basic concepts and principles of graphic composition; rendering, visualization, and linkages to landscape-referenced data.
American History Core Curriculum 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about American history courses.
Life and Physical Sciences Core Curriculum 4 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about life and physical sciences courses.

Spring Semester – 16 credit hours

ENGL 210 Technical and Business Writing 3 credit hours
Focus on writing for professional rhetorical situations; correspondence and researched reports fundamental to the workplace—memoranda, letters, electronic correspondence, research proposals and presentations; use of visual rhetoric and document design in print and electronic mediums; emphasis on audience awareness, clarity of communication and collaborative team-work.
RENR 215 Fundamentals of Ecology Lab 1 credit hour
Sampling and estimating plant-animal populations, measuring environmental factors and recognizing and studying morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations of plants and animals to biotic or abiotic influences.
URPN 310 Urban Analytical Methods II 3 credit hours
Focuses on research conducted by planners, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists and a variety of applied social scientists; examines variety of procedures employed when conducting research in urban areas; furthers understanding and knowledge of statistical methods employed in social research and elements of geographical analysis.
URPN 320 Digital Communications II 3 credit hours
Advanced applications of computer graphics, rendering, and visualization software in urban design, landscape architecture, and environmental analysis; introduction to basic concepts and principles of graphic composition, rendering, visualization, and linkages to landscape-referenced data.
Sociology Requirement (upper level) 3 credit hours
See advisor for list of approved courses.
American History University Core Curriculum 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about American history courses.
Year 3 32 credit hours

Fall Semester – 16 credit hours

POLS 207 State & Local Government 3 credit hours
Survey of state and local government and politics with special reference to the constitution and politics of Texas; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.
URPN 325 Introduction to GIS in Urban & Regional Planning 3 credit hours
Provides an understanding of GIS fundamentals; basic concepts, principles and functions; essential skills for applying GIS in various fields such as urban planning, landscape architecture, land development, environmental studies, transportation and hazard management; based on learning through class projects.
UPRN 330 Land Development I 3 credit hours
Interface between the physical and financial dimensions in design and development to achieve building and project economies; creating a physical product and a financial venture that are responsive to social and environmental concerns and to market economy and finance.
UPRN 420 Principles of Urban Design 3 credit hours
Theories and fundamental components of urban design including historical trends, case studies, land use arrangement, transportation options, open space networks, urban form, aesthetics and planning policies; application of the history and theory behind differing urban designs to practical projects.
URPN 489 Special Topics in… 1 credit hour
Selected topics in an identified field of urban studies. May be repeated for credit.
Supporting Course** 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about supporting courses.

Spring Semester – 16 credit hours

CARC 481 Seminar 1 credit hour
Preparatory seminar for select College of Architecture study away and internships; topics include introduction to the language, culture and history of study abroad location. Must be taken prior to the student’s study away semester. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
RENR 375 Conservation of Natural Resources 3 credit hours
Principles and philosophies associated with the development, management and use of natural resources; ecological and social implications inherent in management alternatives involving the natural environment and use of renewable natural resources.
URPN 326 Advanced GIS in Urban & Regional Planning 3 credit hours
Advanced instruction in applications of spatial tools for urban planning, landscape architecture, land development, hazard management, and related problems; GIS applications through review of literature and practice; data quality, uncertainty, the integration of GPS, remote sensing and information technology within the context of urban and regional planning.
URPN 401 Policy Implementation 3 credit hours
Techniques of implementing major urban development programs and plans; capital improvements programming and budgeting; overview of regulatory measures including zoning and subdivision regulations; public involvement process; and fiscal planning.
URPN 483 Studio in Urban & Regional Planning 3 credit hours
Studio introduces the confluence of ecological, environmental, economic, social, cultural, and political forces impacting the planning, design, and development of complex urban environments; site planning, design process, sustainability.
General Elective 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about general elective courses.
Year 4 21-27 credit hours

Fall Semester – 6 or 12 credit hours

URPN 494 or CARC 301 Internship or Field Studies in Design Innovation 6 credit hours
Study abroad students will take CARC 301, CARC 311, and CARC 331. Other university courses will be approved individually through advisor. Internship students will register for URPN 494 in 4th year, fall semester. Two approved supporting coursework courses must be taken in semesters other than fall 4th year.
Study Abroad or 2 Supporting Courses** 6 credit hours
See advisor for a list of approved courses.

Spring Semester – 15 credit hours

URPN 331 Public and Private Infrastructure Funding 3 credit hours
An introduction to issues of financing public and public-private development project; exploring the difference between raising revenue, including the trade offs associated with establishing a sustainable tax base, and raising capital through capital markets; illustration of the range of decisions with financing public and public-private partnerships.
URPN 409 GeoDesign Studio 5 credit hours
Design studio focused on urban design as a human-centered participatory practice; consideration of a project derived through community engagement; interdisciplinary service learning combining methodologies of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.
Life and Physical Sciences 1 credit hour
Refer to the course catalog for information about life and physical sciences courses.
Supporting Course** 3 credit hours
See an advisor for a list of approved courses.
General Elective 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about general electives.

For more details about each course, view the listings in the Texas A&M Course Catalog. 

*Subject to change

A grade of C or better is required in courses under major coursework and supporting coursework.

Study abroad students will take CARC 301, CARC 311, and CARC 331. Other university courses will be approved individually through advisor.

Internship students will register for URPN 494 in 4th year, fall semester. Two approved supporting coursework courses must be taken in semesters other than fall 4th year.

Real-world experience

Our students address community problems while still in the classroom. Hands-on assignments and service-learning projects teach our students to address community challenges. We often partner with communities through the Texas Target Communities and our community outreach programs to provide applied problem solving opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to experience workplace practices and other cultures through our semester away internships and study abroad program.


Helpful Resources

Office of Information Technology

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LAUP

Urban Planning Minor Application

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Student Services

Now That You’re Admitted Checklist

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