The Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP) integrates the academic disciplines of urban planning and public policy by training Ph.D. students to conduct independent research that makes a substantive contribution to their chosen planning and policy subfields. The program prepares doctoral students for academic careers and for leadership in research positions in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. UPPP graduates have secured academic and research positions at research universities and institutes, think tanks, and public planning agencies nationally and internationally.

The UPPP Ph.D. stresses interdisciplinary in four field areas:

  1. Urban Policy and Planning
  2. Physical Planning, Development and Urban Design
  3. Land Use/Transportation Analysis, Planning and Policy
  4. Environmental Planning Policy/Sustainability


The program builds the theoretical and methodological foundations that prepare students to make an independent contribution to their planning and policy subfield and consists of:

  • Two years of coursework
  • Qualifying field exam in the student’s chosen field area and related proposed dissertation topic
  • Defense of the dissertation proposal followed by the dissertation research, and the writing and defense of the dissertation. Planning faculty contribute expertise to the program’s field areas and chair the student’s Dissertation Supervisory Committee that guides the development of the student’s dissertation. The dissertation can take the traditional monograph or a three-article form.


Through faculty mentoring and the Ph.D. Student Consortium, the program fosters an intellectual community that encourages advanced doctoral research presentations at state, national and international conferences such as:

  • Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
  • World Planning Schools Congress
  • Transportation Research Board
  • Urban Affairs Association
  • Association of American Geographers
  • State and national conferences of the American Planning Association

Contact Info

Contact: CAPPA Admissions at

Graduate Admissions Requirements

Degree and Course Requirements

The 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
Course Code Course Name Hours
PLAN 6303  Planning History, Theory, and Ethics 3
PLAN 6310 Planning, Urban Development, and Structure 3

Total Hours: 6

Course Code Course Name Hours
PLAN 6300 Advanced Urban Theory 3
PLAN 6311 Spatial Theory and Policy: Urban Form and Structure 3
PAPP 5306 The Urban Economy 3

Total Hours: 12

Course Code Course Name Hours
PLAN 6317 Intermediate Data Analysis 3
PLAN 5346 Qualitative Methods 3
PLAN 6301 Research Foundations and Ph.D Workshops
PLAN 6346 Advanced Data Analysis 3

Total Hours: 12


Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP) Ph.D.

2023-2024 Edition

A guide to doctoral studies at the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA), The University of Texas - Arlington. The UPPP Ph.D. handbook attempts to provide guidance and useful information to new and current UPPP students. We trust that your experience will be academically, professionally, and personally rewarding.

UPPP Handbook


CAPPA Ph.D. Orientation

Learn more about two doctoral degree opportunities that provide very distinct programs guided by different objectives. 



The application of theory and research is facilitated by research activities and centers, including the Institute of Urban Studies (IUS), where several UPPP Ph.D. students hold GRA positions. UPPP Ph.D. students holding Enhanced Graduate Teaching Assistantships contribute to undergraduate instruction in CAPPA’s Urban Affairs and Environmental and Sustainability Studies Minors.


Explore Funding

A number of scholarship opportunities are available for CAPPA students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships offers a wide variety of aid options to assist with funding the college education of students and families of all income levels. More than 75% of UTA students receive some type of financial assistance.
Explore Scholarships


Dean's Distinguished Assistantship Program

The Department of Public Affairs and Planning at UTA’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) is pleased to announce the new Dean’s Distinguished Assistantship (DDA) program. The program is nationally competitive and aims to support the most promising students applying for admission to department's doctoral programs in Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP)and Public Administration and Public Policy (PAPP).

Learn more about the DDA Program.