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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 21, 2024
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Urban Planning & Geographic Analysis, BS

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The BS in Urban Planning and Geographic Analysis, offered through the University of Pittsburgh’s Urban Studies Program but drawing on the existing courses and faculty expertise of Dietrich School and College of General Studies programs, provides an interdisciplinary curriculum with key connections to a wide range of disciplines. The major offers students the opportunity to study the theoretical and technical foundations of urban planning and geographical analysis and is designed for students seeking credentials and specialization in urban planning, or who wish to use geographical analysis as part of their future careers. The degree is designed to provide an educational pathway that is distinct from the BA in Urban Studies, yet there are sufficient complementarities for a student wishing to double-major in both degrees. The structure of the UPGA degree is designed to prepare students for graduate study in planning or geography, or for careers directly after graduation that rely on baccalaureate-level training in the conceptual and methdological foundations of these fields.

The structure of the UPGA degree is designed to prepare students for further graduate study in planning or geography with degree requirements that follow the guidelines set for undergraduate planning degrees by the Planning Accreditation Board. There is no intention to pursue accreditation for the new major since the strength of the proposed degree is the unification of planning and geographical analysis tools within the same degree. The new degree follows PAB curriculum and instruction guideline to ensure that our graduates are well-positioned for entry into graduate schools of planning.

The curriculum provides for a course of study that trains students in essential concepts and skills in several areas:

  1. General Knowledge in Urban Planning & Geographic Analysis
    1. Purpose & History of Urban Planning & Geographic Analysis
    2. Human Settlements & History of Planning
    3. Understanding The Future
    4. Global Dimensions of Planning
    5. Key Issues: Sustainability, Housing Affordability, & Social Equity
  2. Skills in Urban Planning & Geographic Analysis
    1. Research
    2. Written, Oral, & Graphic Communication
    3. Quantitative & Qualitative Methods
    4. Principles of Public Administration & Planning
    5. Data Visualization
    6. Raster & Vector Geographic Information Science
  3. Values and Ethics
    1. Professional Ethics and Responsibility
    2. Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice
    3. Governance and Participation
    4. Sustainability and Environmental Quality
    5. Growth and Development
    6. Health and Built Environment

[1] See Planning Accreditation Standards and Criteria, accessed at

Core Sequence (15 credits)

15 credits (5 courses) that introduce students to the practice of urban planning and geographic analysis through interdisciplinary perspectives.

Conceptual Approaches to Planning & Geographic Analysis (12 credits)

12 credits from this sequence must include at least 1 Urban Studies (URBNST) class from this list, and at least 2 classes from different departments. These courses emphasize the conceptual approaches to planning and geographic analysis. A B- average across these courses must be obtained before enrolling in the Urban Planning and Geographic Analysis (URBNST 1000 ) capstone.

Capstone Project (3 credits)

The senior capstone may only be taken after completing the Core, Conceptual, & Methodological sequences of the major. This writing-intensive capstone experience involves a community-engaged project that draws upon the students’ knowledge of urban planning and geographic analysis.

  • URBNST 1000

Total Credits: 120

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