Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Development

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


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.

Julie Zissimopoulos

Dr. Julie Zissimopoulos, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs,
Faculty Director of USC Price Ph.D. programs

Through advanced theoretical core courses in critical thinking, planning theory, urban development, and research methodology, UPD students gain a strong foundation from which to launch their scholarly career and develop an area of expertise.

The UPD program emphasizes student engagement and faculty mentoring, while providing numerous interdisciplinary research opportunities. Graduates of the UPD program secure tenure-track and research positions at leading research universities and institutes throughout the U.S. and the world.


Explore the many professional and research opportunities available through our areas of expertise

Working closely with faculty mentors, UPD students focus on and develop substantive expertise in core areas that leverage the Price School’s renowned research strengths in:

econ-dev-button   sust-land-use-button   soc-comm-button   tans-infra-button

pres-design-button   healthy-cities-button   visual-socialmedia-button   ethnic-urban-imm-button

housing-real-estate-button   urban-dev-button   arts-urban-place-button   intl-dev-button


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 often supported through teaching or research assistantships, or funding from USC or other outside sources. Learn more about funding »