The Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, provides training in urban and planning theory, advanced research, and the practice of planning. Established in 1968, the program has granted more than 160 doctorates. Alumni of the program have established national and international reputations as planning educators, social science researchers and theorists, policy makers, and practitioners. Today, the program is served by nearly 20 city and regional planning faculty with expertise in community and economic development, transportation planning, urban design, international development, environmental planning, and global urbanism. With close ties to numerous research centers and initiatives, the program encourages its students to develop specializations within the field of urban studies and planning and to expand their intellectual horizons through training in the related fields of architecture, landscape architecture and environmental planning, civil engineering, anthropology, geography, sociology, public policy, public health, and political science.
Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly competitive. Applicants are required to have completed a master's degree in planning or a related field. They are expected to demonstrate capacity for advanced research and to present a compelling research topic as part of their application. Once admitted to the program, students are eligible to compete for various university fellowships, including the Berkeley Fellowship, Cota-Robles Fellowship, and the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. Students of the program have also been successful in securing funding for dissertation research from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright scholarships.
Completing a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley usually takes five years. The University requires all doctoral students to fulfill a minimum residency requirement of two years and 48 units of coursework. Full-time students are expected to take four courses, or 12 units, per semester. For the Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, students must complete various program requirements, including courses in planning and urban theory; research methods courses; and preparation and completion of two fields of specialization. They must also successfully complete an oral qualifying examination, which allows them to advance to candidacy and undertake dissertation research. A Ph.D. is awarded upon completion of a written dissertation approved by the faculty supervisors of the dissertation.
The Ph.D. program encourages its students to build intellectual community and to participate in national and international venues of scholarship. Doctoral candidates regularly present their research at the annual conferences of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Association of American Geographers, Association of European Schools of Planning, World Planning Schools Congress, Urban Affairs Association, and American Anthropological Association. They organize and participate in a weekly research colloquium and manage the Berkeley Planning Journal, a peer-reviewed academic publication. Such activities utilize the incredible intellectual resources available to doctoral students at UC Berkeley, both within their departments and programs and across the campus.