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School of Urban and Public Affairs

School of Urban and Public Affairs

Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy

campus picThe UPPP Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours beyond the master's degree, including 39 credit hours of coursework and a minimum of 9 dissertation credit hours. The 39 credit hours of coursework include: 6 hours of leveling courses, 9 hours in the required core of urban planning and public policy, 6 hours of methods courses and 18 hours of elected specialization courses. Courses and credit hours may be waived for students with relevant previous coursework upon approval of the Dissertation Supervisor and Program Director.

Coursework in the required core, which covers core knowledge and competencies in planning and policy, as well as the courses in the selected field areas prepares students for the field exam. In their first semester, students select their Supervisory Committee based on their interests and take a diagnostic exam. The student’s Supervisory Committee will then guide their course work, including any extra courses needed based on their diagnostic exam.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Leveling Courses (6 hours)

    • CIRP 5303 Planning History and Theory
    • CIRP 5310 Planning, Urban Development and Structure

    Required Core Courses (9 credit hours)

      • UPPP 6300 Advanced Urban Theory
      • UPPP 6311 Spatial Theory and Policy
      • URPA 5306 The Urban Economy

      Methods Courses (6 hours)

        • CIRP 5317 Intermediate Data Analysis (also offered as URPA 5342)
        • CIRP 5346 Qualitative Methods (also offered as URPA 5344) or
        • URPA/CIRP 6346 Advanced Data Analysis (based on the Dissertation Committee decision)

        Urban Planning and Public Policy Fields Courses (18 hours)

        Students take 18 hours of courses in their elected field area of planning and/or policy, preparing the student for the dissertation and beyond. Courses are determined in consultation and approval with the student's Dissertation Supervisor and Supervisory Committee.

        Students are encouraged to use faculty resources and the opportunities offered in SUPA and UTA to specialize in following field areas or their combinations:

        • Urban Policy and Planning
        • Physical Planning, Development and Urban Design
        • Land Use/Transportation Analysis, Planning and policy
        • Environmental Planning Policy/Sustainability

        Dissertation (minimum 9 hours)


        UPPP Diagnostic

        When students are admitted into the UPPP program, a Graduate advisor will advise them regarding first semester courses and registration and will assign them an advisor based on the student’s interest area and/or Statement Letter. Students take a diagnostic exam toward the end of their first semester or early in their second semester so that their three-member Diagnostic Supervisory Committee can be selected and can guide them in their selection of courses thereafter. As a part of this process, the university requires that “a student and his/her advisor should complete the Milestone form during the student’s first term of study and it must be completed before the end of the second semester of enrollment.” The school will keep a copy of the completed form on file and the student will be provided a copy for his/her records.

        Deficiency & Field Courses

        The Supervisory Committee decides and provides guidance on needed field areas and additional coursework based on the deficiencies noted during the diagnostic process as well as during the proposal preparation and proposal defense stages.

        Deficiency courses may include courses from the selected field area and other needed courses. The final decision on deficiencies will be determined in the proposal defense session.

        Waivers or Substitutions

        Based on UT Arlington regulations, no course that has been applied to any degree, at any graduate or undergraduate institution, may be applied to any other degree, either directly or by substitution. Graduate-level coursework completed in the student’s major area of doctoral study at institutions of recognized standing that grant doctoral degrees in those subject areas may serve to establish the student’s competency in equivalent UTA courses. Competency demonstrated by successful completion of equivalent courses may provide a basis for waiving some UPPP course requirements and the credit hours associated with those courses. Waivers must be recommended by the student’s graduate advisor and current supervising professor and their recommendation must be approved by both the Committee on Graduate Studies of the student’s major area and the Office of Graduate Studies. Only courses in which the student has earned a B (3.0) or better will be considered for purposes of a waiver. Waived courses must be shown on the student’s academic plan.

        UPPP Field Area Exam

        The Diagnostic Committee disbands toward the completion of the required coursework and the student selects a three-member Dissertation Committee to start working on his/her dissertation proposal. After completion of the coursework and when the student’s dissertation proposal has been sufficiently developed and also is fully established in the chosen field area, the student will be given a take-home field exam by the Dissertation Committee. The exam may include questions in both broader and more specific aspects of the selected field area as well as questions designed to guide the student toward completion of the dissertation proposal. It is crucial to select the dissertation proposal topic very carefully as the dissertation is the stepping stone for the student’s future professional goals, forming the first important building block of research work in the student’s field area of expertise.

        Once the field exam is successfully completed, the student must continue work on the dissertation proposal which must be defended within 6 months of his/her field exam.


        • CIRP 6301 Theoretical Foundations and Ph.D. Workshop (also offered as URPA 6301)

        Urban Policy and Planning

          • URPA 5304 Urban Politics
          • URPA 5305 Theories of Urban Society
          • URPA 5311 Social Policy Formation
          • URPA 5309 Intergovernmental Relations
          • All SUPA policy courses

          Physical Planning, Development and Urban Design

            Physical Planning

          •  CIRP 5305 Land Use, Management and Development
          •  CIRP 5306 Urban Revitalization
          •  CIRP 5313 Urban Growth Policies
          •  CIRP 5340 Environmental/Land-Use Suitability Analysis Using GIS
          •  CIRP 5358 Intelligent Transportation Systems and Transportation Planning 

          Urban Design

          • CIRP 5311 Urban Design
          • ARCH 5306 Urban Design
          • LARC 5301 Site Planning and Development Processes
          • LARC 5302 Land Development Planning
          • LARC 5382 Seminar in Urban Design

                  Real Estate Development

          • CIRP 5345 Planning and Real Estate Development
          • CIRP 5313 Urban Growth Policies
          • REAE 6390 Seminar in Special Topics in Real Estate
          • REAE 5350 Quantitative Methods for Real Estate

          Land Use/Transportation Analysis, Planning & Policy

            Urban Economics

          •  CIRP 5305 Land Use, Management and Development
          •  CIRP 5306 Urban Revitalization
          •  CIRP 5313 Urban Growth Policies
          •  CIRP 5340 Environmental/Land-Use Suitability Analysis Using GIS
          •  CIRP 5358 Intelligent Transportation Systems and Transportation Planning 

          Land Use/Transportation

          • CIRP 5309 Land Use Transportation Analysis & Modeling
          • CIRP 5315 Transportation Policies, Programs and History
          • CIRP 5305 Land Use, Management and Development
          • CIRP 5340 Environmental/Land-Use Suitability Analysis Using GIS
          • CIRP 5358 Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Transportation  Planning
          • CE 5328 Air Pollution
          • CE 5338 System Evaluation
          • CE 6306 Public Transit Planning and Operations
          • CE 6308 Analytical Models in Transportation

          Environmental Planning Policy/Sustainability

                  Environmental Policy Planning

          • CIRP 5327 Introduction to Green Cities and Transportation
          • CIRP 5341 Environmental Regulations: Laws and Planning
          • CIRP 5350 Environmental Planning 
          • CIRP 5340 Environmental/Land-Use Suitability Analysis Using GIS
          • CIRP 5351 Techniques of Environmental Assessment

                  Environmental Science & Engineering

              • EVSE 5310 Environmental Systems – Chemical  Aspects
              • EVSE 5311 Environmental Systems – Geological Aspects
              • CE 5324 Transportation and Air Quality
              • CE 5329 Environmental Risk Based Corrective Action
              • CE 5355 Environmental Permitting