AIA CES Credits
AV Office
Abstract Publication
Academic Calendar, Columbia University
Academic Calendar, GSAPP
Admissions Office
Advanced Standing Waiver Form
Alumni Board
Alumni Office
Anti-Racism Curriculum Development Award
Architecture Studio Lottery
Avery Library
Avery Review
Avery Shorts


STEM Designation
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Skill Trails
Student Affairs
Student Awards
Student Conduct
Student Financial Services
Student Health Services at Columbia
Student Organization Handbook
Student Organizations
Student Services Center
Student Services Online (SSOL)
Student Work Online
Studio Culture Policy
Studio Procedures
Studio-X Global Network
Summer Workshops
Support GSAPP
This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice Group 6

Ph.D. in Urban Planning


The Ph.D. in Urban Planning is focused on training individuals for future careers as teachers, researchers, policy-makers, and business entrepreneurs in and near the field of urban planning—in academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and think tanks. The program equips students with the theoretical and methodological expertise to address important contemporary issues, such as climate change and adaptation, built environment transformation, immigration and migration, housing and community development, and poverty and inequality. It is a highly competitive doctoral program, accepting only three candidates each year.

We welcome prospective students from a wide range of backgrounds, and value strong abilities for critical thinking and independent research. In reviewing applications, the Ph.D. faculty make decisions collectively, based on students’ academic preparation, topical areas of interest, and experience with analytical. We encourage students to explore various directions of intellectual growth after enrollment.

The Ph.D. in Urban Planning is a program within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) while the actual degree is granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

Core Urban Planning Doctoral Faculty
Organization of the Program
In consultation with faculty, students develop individual study programs anchored in advanced knowledge concerning the socioeconomic, political, and environmental processes that shape cities and regions, and the quality of life within them. Underlying these inquiries are questions related to the effectiveness of urban processes, and their justice, democracy, and ethics. Students are required to spend four semesters in residence during which time they are expected to take 48 credit points. In addition to the seven required doctoral seminars and colloquia, students can take courses across Columbia. It is assumed that the coursework will be spread out evenly over the first four semesters of study.

Upon entering the program, each student consults with the program director for the duration of their coursework. The program director’s role is to provide independent guidance and mentorship on all aspects of student life. Students meet at least once each semester with the program director to discuss their academic progress and future plans.

By the date of the comprehensive examination and prior to submitting their dissertation prospectus, each student selects a dissertation advisor (also known as sponsor), to act as a guide during the course of dissertation research and for the dissertation defense. During this or any other time, students are still able to draw on the mentorship of other Ph.D. faculty.

PhD Urban Planning Information Session
Fall 2021
Recent News
Show More

Fall 2021 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla8900‑1 Fall 2021
Doctoral Colloquium I
Lance Freeman
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
3 Points
Pla8902‑1 Fall 2021
Doctoral Colloquium III
Lance Freeman
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
3 Points
Pla6925‑1 Fall 2021
Advanced Research I
Weiping Wu
2 or 3 Points
GU4066 Fall 2021
Spatial Inequality: Hydropolitics in Madagascar
Instructor permission is required
TU 4:10 PM - 6:00 PM
4 Points
GU4150 Fall 2021
Spatial Inequality: Architecture and Migration in New York
Ignacio G. Galán Corequisite course: ARCH A4407 Methods in Spatial Research
Tu 4:10 PM - 6:00 PM
4 Points