13 Best Urban Planning Schools in the World

Planning is the most important duty you execute when you want to achieve something. For a better description, it is like a torch when you walk on a dark path. Urban planning is a crucial aspect because it deals with settings and arrangements. Hence, you must undergo training in an accredited institute to understand urban planning. So, do you want to know about the best urban planning schools in the world? Keep reading!

UNDESA has predicted that the global urban population will exceed the rural population for the first time. And they also estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population would live in urban areas.

These projections regarding population truly mean that people will take up more land areas, and specialists must execute proper planning. Therefore, you can take up an opportunity to become a specialist when you attend any of the best urban planning schools in the world.

Why Urban Planning?

Urban planning is a vital part of city leaders to achieve sustainable development. It is also a means to bring about a significant difference in society.

Planning utilizes budgets by informing infrastructure and services investments, balancing demands for growth with the need to protect the environment.

In addition, it distributes economic development within a given territory to reach all social objectives and create a structure for a merger between governments, the private sector, and the public at large.

Urban planning is a framework that helps leaders transform vision into implementation, using space as a key resource for development and engaging stakeholders along the way.

Finally, a good plan helps set the steps needed to develop a place with few resources.

Also Read: Online Landscape Architecture Degree

What is Urban Planner Degree Salary?

Urban Planners play a key role in sustaining environmental elements while giving development a chance.

This method of executing their duty is urban planning, and you can register for this program at any of the best urban planning schools in the world we have listed here.

Hence, an urban planner’s average salary is $72,900 per year. This salary figure exempts bonuses and incentives.

13 Best Urban Planning Schools in the World | 2023

The schools listed below are not the only good urban schools worldwide. They’re only the best schools based on selected criteria

Therefore, the best urban planning schools in the world based on research strength, quality of education, and universal rankings are namely;

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Harvard University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Michigan
  • Texas A & M University-College Station
  • Westfield State University
  • Iowa State University

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT is a private university located in the U.S. Countlessly, they have overthrown Harvard to become the best university in the world despite being a private university.

Today, this university has recorded a plethora of research breakthroughs and innovations. Eventually, most of this research turned out to be a big solution.

In urban planning, they have exemplified their expertise through their campus planning. They currently continue to win awards and make presentations because of their excellence.

MIT is found nowhere behind as they continuously forge on to become a prime center of knowledge. This they have shown, and that’s why they top the chart of the best urban planning schools in the world.

Soon, MIT plans to build core research and education centers worldwide to train its students.

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2. University of California, Berkeley

Founded in 1868, the University of California is a public research university in California.

Unlike other universities, Berkeley has more female students than male students. To be precise, a census shows that over 50% of the undergraduate students were females.

To get admitted into UC Berkeley, you must pass an entry-level writing requirement (typically fulfilled by minimum scores on standardized admissions exams such as the SAT or ACT).

Furthermore, you must finish the “American History and Institutions” coursework before enrolling for an introductory class.

Finally, you’ll need to pass an “American Cultures Breadth” class at Berkeley, as well as requirements for reading and composition and specific requirements declared by the department and school.

As a student with a deep interest in urban planning, your interests will lie within geography, sciences, and other similar course areas.

Berkeley alumni have received a great number of awards for their contributions. These awards precisely range from the Nobel to Turning and even Wolf Prize.

University of California Berkeley currently ranks 5th internationally in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 28th in the QS World University Rankings, 13th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 4th in the U.S. News & World Report Global University Rankings.

Therefore, this ranking makes it a big part of our list of the best urban planning schools in the world and a great place to study the program.

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3. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, also known as RU, is a public research university in New Jersey. Additionally, they are the biggest institute in the whole of Jersey.

RU’s straightforward mission involves providing quality education for New Jersey citizens while performing quality research. Additionally, their public service programs help the locals in the state.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, RU has over 150 undergraduate majors and 400 graduate majors. Furthermore, the total combination of undergraduate and graduate students amounts to over 70,000, while they pose an academic staff strength of over 20,000.

RU’s urban planning program helps students combine their social and analytical skills. They get to constantly think in futuristic terms as their plans have to be balanced and workable.

Every subject area taught in urban planning at RU generally focuses on helping the student build his eye for detail. This will be very imperative in projections and structural formations.

Their complete dedication and commitment make them part of the best urban planning schools in the world.

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4. University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA is a pure public research university in California, United States. They are precisely one among other campuses under the University of California.

As a very keen research institute, all their programs are research hungry. Research is the most important of the program and takes the highest attention.

The academic calendar usually allows students to conduct research outside the school premises. In addition, their schedules are flexible enough to accommodate transfer students.

The campus is built in an amazing and serene environment supporting plant life. Furthermore, the transportation system within the school is very efficient and easily accessible.

At UCLA, students always adhere to a strict value system. This value system revolves around equity, diversity, and inclusion while students volunteer.

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5. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Currently, it is the flagship of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system.

After becoming chartered in 1789, the university immediately began admitting students in 1795. Hence, the university claims to be among the oldest public universities in the world.

Historically, this university was the only institution to graduate students in the 18th century.

UNC offers degrees in over 60 courses among its fourteen colleges and the College of Arts and Sciences.

All undergraduates receive a liberal arts education and usually have the option to pursue a major within the university’s professional schools or within the College of Arts and Sciences from the time they obtain this status.

UNC is now co-educational and therefore initiated the process of desegregation in 1951, ensuring African-American students were treated equally with their peers.

The campus of UNC sits on top of 729 acres of Chapel Hill’s downtown area, covering the Morehead Planetarium and many shops.

As a student, you can partake in over 500 officially recognized student organizations. Additionally, students lead their newspaper channel–The Daily Tar Heel–which has won national awards for collegiate media. In contrast, the student radio station WXYC provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast.

UNC ranks among the top thirty universities in the world and thus ranks among the best urban planning schools.

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6. Harvard University

Harvard is arguably the best university in the world. Indeed this is true as their programs are usually taught by the best of minds and complement the latest practices of the profession.

Harvard understands that to remain ahead of the competition, innovation and research must never stop. This they have continuously done through the presentation of lectures and papers on advanced ways of executing planning.

The campus setting at Harvard is exceptional as it completely reflects the knowledge level developed in the institution. This is similar to other settings modeled in this institution.

The departments of architecture and landscape architecture are incorporated into this school. They combine to build and strategize when the school makes expansion decisions.

Due to its longevity, Harvard has built a lot of strength and remains a fortress amongst other urban planning schools. Interestingly, scholarship opportunities to minimize or eliminate academic expenses exist for Harvard university students.

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7. University of Pennsylvania

The President of UPenn described the university very well. She said, “Penn has a long and proud tradition of intellectual rigor and pursuit of innovative knowledge… That tradition continually lives today through the creativity, entrepreneurship, and engagement of our faculty, students, and staff”.

Penn has prevailed as an institution with over 4,500 faculty members pursuing its diverse programs. All programs are framed to build research inquisition and general mental capacity.

Their urban planning program usually addresses world issues concerning planning while starting from UPenn. In the long run, they plan on creating a plan that will help future planners.

Conclusively, students of all races are eligible for admission into UPenn. As you only need to apply by visiting the school.

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8. University of Southern California

USC’s programs have frequently sat at the top of urban policy rankings. They’ve been there too long; they feel it’s a right for them.

All students at USC enjoy an education shaped by good values. Their legacy of rigorous analysis of the built environment in traditional sectors such as transportation, housing and real estate, economic development, environmental sustainability, and healthy community development has led to key discoveries.

Notably, an award-winning faculty, they keep paving the way to critically leverage new data and visualization communication to address immigration, arts and culture, and technology. UCS works to build a more just, inclusive, thriving, and beautiful world.

IN UCS, the flexibility and structure of their program thus make them outstanding. And their degree and graduate certificate programs are world-class.

Truth be told, UCS is completely an ideal center for learning and thus stands out as one of the best urban planning schools in the world.

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9. Georgia Institute of Technology

In GIT, students leverage advanced technological resources to solve problems related to community and economic issues. All efforts in urban planning are channeled to build resources in this area.

Students in this school, faculty, and researchers work together to produce knowledge and tools for making cities more sustainable, resilient, and trustworthy. Furthermore, students come to our school from around the world and arrive to solve the world’s biggest problems.

A reflection of their togetherness and strength is expressed in their alumni body. Together, they form a network valid in over 41 countries worldwide.

Georgia Tech, as one of the best urban planning schools in the world, has a culture that involves planning education. In addition to longstanding values of justice, strength, health, and inclusiveness, it creates the best environment for planning students.

Due to the level of educational activity in Atlanta, students have access to research laboratories. They carry out necessary research to help them perform better in those places.

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10. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is a premier research university in Michigan, United States. Although they possess exceptional academic programs, their sports team has given them greater preeminence.

All courses for these programs are listed in their faculties, which makes them easily accessible for students. Hence, a general point of the access point to this program is its media center.

There are currently four courses under its urban planning program. These courses include; real estate, urban design, urban planning, and architecture.

Their consistent rise in rankings makes them an exceptional destination to study urban planning.

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11. Texas A & M University-College Station.

Texas A&M University has a general department called Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. Hence, it’s a combination of architecture and urban planning.

All students of this institute train in these two areas concurrently to become beneficial in solving problems.

As one of the premier schools in Texas, they stand out in urban planning and architecture.

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12. Westfield State University

Westfield State University offers only undergraduate degrees in Regional Planning among public colleges and universities in the Northeast.

They also offer extensive internship opportunities to gain practical field experience in panning practices such as community planning, environmental management, housing, transportation, economic development, sustainable energy, water resources, etc.

Most major concentrations at Western State University rotate around regional and environmental planning. This is their point of strength.

Although they don’t offer a graduate program, they remain one of the best urban planning schools in the world.

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13. Iowa State University

Iowa State University is an amazing university located in Iowa. Additionally, other institutes respect Iowa for its great programs.

In Iowa, urban planning is known as the community and regional planning department. And they have done a lot of research in this specific subject area.

Iowa State University might sit at the bottom of our list of best urban planning schools worldwide, but they sure remain a great place to study urban planning.

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What are the Best Urban Planning Schools for Undergraduates?

The undergraduate level is the first and the beginning of an urban planner career path. Hence, the world’s best undergraduate urban planning schools are Harvard University, Iowa University, University of California, and California State University.

What are the Best Graduate School for Urban Planning?

After getting your bachelor’s degree in urban planning, you can apply for a graduate program or another certification in the same program. Some of the world’s best graduate urban planning schools are MIT, Westford University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Michigan.

Are there Urban planning schools Online?

Most times, students are impeded by the distance, making it hard for them to go and study.

Well, many schools have already addressed this problem through their online program. In this program, you register, attend classes, submit papers, and do all other things over the internet.

So, the best urban planning schools online are MIT, Rutgers, the University of New Jersey, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Also Read: Best Architectural Schools in the World

Best Urban planning schools in the U.S

The majority of the best urban schools in the world are in the U.S., Of course. We can’t expect anything less owing to their continuous investment in education and research.

A lot of innovations in planning have been done by alumni members of U.S. universities.

So, the best urban planning schools in the U. S are MIT, University of California, Harvard, Iowa University, University of Southern California, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Best Urban Planning Schools FAQ

Do I need a degree to become an urban planner?

Funnily enough, you need a degree in urban planning to become an urban planner.

Is urban planning a career path?

Yes, urban planning is a career path, and professionals in this field are called urban planners.

Does urban planning require math?

Yes, urban planning requires knowledge of Maths in addition to other subjects.

Where do urban planners work?

Urban planners work in private and government firms. The majority of them work in government organizations.

What skills do urban planners need?

Urban planners need to be highly skilled in measurements, drawings, and other skills.


Planning will continually be an important part of the settlement. More planners will be needed soon.

Most of the listed urban planning schools are exceptional due to our criteria, but this doesn’t mean other schools are bad.

In their unique ways, they have different approaches to the program, but the results are always similar.

In the meantime, you can check your qualifications against the eligibility requirements to start scouting.



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