USC Price School of Public Policy

Urban Planning and Development

Doctor of Philosophy in
Urban Planning and Development (Ph.D.)

Professor Marlon Boarnet

Dr. Marlon Boarnet
Director, Graduate Programs in Urban Planning and Development
Tel: (213) 740-3696

The Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Development (UPD) prepares students to be academics and scholars who research contemporary urban problems, and contribute new ideas and innovative solutions to problems related to land use, transportation, housing and real estate, economic development, the environment, sustainability, and the design of livable communities. Through advanced theoretical core courses in critical thinking, planning theory, urban development, and sound methodology courses, doctoral students gain a strong foundation from which to launch their scholarly career and develop an area of expertise.

Building on the strengths of the faculty of the Price School of Public Policy, UPD students may focus on one of the following fields:

  • Economic development
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Housing and real estate development
  • International development
  • Social and community planning
  • Transportation and infrastructure
  • Urban form and design
  • Metropolitan and regional growth

The culture of the doctoral program requires participation in research and teaching seminars, and presenting papers in academic and professional conferences. Graduates of the UPD program secure tenure-track and research positions at leading research universities and institutes throughout the US and the world. USC Price graduates hold faculty positions at the University of California, Los Angeles; University of Washington; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Korea Transportation Institute; University of Cincinnati; University of California, Irvine and Seoul National University.


Incoming Ph.D. students are fully supported for four years through a graduate assistantship that provides for tuition, stipends, and health and dental insurance.

Students beyond their fourth year of study are supported through teaching or research assistantships, or funding from USC or other outside sources. Learn more about funding »