Frequently Asked Questions

Why PhD at Maryland?

The PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Design at the University of Maryland prepares students to teach at the University level in departments of urban planning, architecture, historic preservation, landscape architecture, or real estate development and will qualify graduates to conduct research and participate in high level decision making in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Located in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Region, Maryland’s PhD program offers a number of opportunities to explore topics related to applied and theoretical urban planning and design research. The program is closely connected with the university’s National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, which undertakes a broad range of research in economic growth and development, redevelopment, housing, transportation and land use planning, environmental preservation, and smart growth issues; the University of Maryland-Morgan State University U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration University Center; and the Environmental Finance Center, one of nine EPA-funded centers in the country, which works with communities to finance green infrastructure, preservation efforts and stormwater utilities. These centers support and nurture the pursuits of our doctoral students.


What are the requirements for Admission?

The program is highly selective and individualized. Approximately five students will be admitted each year. Students admitted to the PhD program will be expected to have completed a Master's degree in a related field including but not exclusively urban planning, architecture, historic preservation or landscape architecture. Students are expected to enter the PhD program with two semesters of graduate level quantitative research methods. These courses can be taken after entrance to the program and prior to their advanced methods course. 


How is the program structured? How long does it take to complete a PhD?

The PhD program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design is a 39-credit program. Adequately prepared students will generally need four semesters of formal coursework leading to comprehensive exams and all students are expected to spend a minimum of two years in residence in College Park. The coursework part of the program is designed as a two-year full-time program. Students conduct their field research and write their dissertations away from campus. Throughout the PhD process, students work closely with a faculty mentor that specializes in a field matched with the student’s concentration.


What is the deadline for application?

The deadline for application to the PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Design is January 15.


What kind of funding does the school provide?

The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation anticipates approximately three research assistantships available to students in the PhD Program in Urban and Regional Planning and Design each year. In addition, the National Center for Smart Growth supports approximately three PhD Students each year. Students may also find financial support on faculty research projects and with teaching possibilities in our master’s programs. Compensation for assistantships includes tuition remission for up to 10 credit hours per semester, plus a stipend.