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Doctoral Program

The doctoral (Ph.D.) program in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning educates scholars to teach, conduct research, and carry out service that contributes to a better understanding and shaping of resilient communities and ecosystems in order to promote human capabilities, social justice, sustainable livelihoods, and community health and safety. Our faculty conduct research in the following areas: Planning for an Aging Population, Planning for Health and Resilient Communities, Transportation Land Use and Accessibility in the Modern City, Sustainable Communities, Collaborative Environmental Management, Community Neighborhood Change, and Human Settlements and Institutions in the Context of Global Change.

Florida State University is an excellent place for doctoral study. Our energetic, internationally recognized faculty is committed to training and mentoring our doctoral students as they become future teachers, scholars, and leaders in their various fields. Our low student-faculty ratio and small doctoral class sizes (typically 3-5 students enter the doctoral program each year) enable close collaboration in teaching and research between students and faculty. Our doctoral program’s alums include deans, department chairs, program directors, distinguished scholars, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners’ College of Fellows.

Program of Study

Doctoral study typically extends at least three years past master’s degree study and allows the doctoral student to focus in much more depth, and at an advanced level, on issues of relevance to the particular study. Doctoral programs like FSU’s are individually tailored to the student’s research interest in planning. The student’s program is defined by a Program Statement that the student develops in consultation with their Major Professor and a committee of other faculty members.

Doctoral coursework consists of a minimum of 42 credit hours of study beyond any prerequisite courses required for the student to begin advanced methods or topical coursework. The program is divided into core classes, methods classes, major field classes, and minor field classes.

Core Classes (12 credit hours)

These courses provide the student with advanced training in urban theory, urban and regional economics, planning theory, and research design.

Methods Classes (9 credit hours minimum)

These courses are tailored to the student’s area of interest and typically include advanced quantitative methods and/or qualitative methods courses.

Major Field Classes (12 credit hours minimum)

These courses are selected to define the student’s primary area of study and may consist of courses inside or outside the department.

Minor Field Classes (9 credit hours minimum)

These courses are selected to define a second area of study that complements the student’s primary area of study and may consist of courses inside or outside the department.

Upon completion of coursework, the student takes a Preliminary Examination which tests the student’s knowledge in the doctoral core areas as well as the student’s major field and minor fields of study. Upon passage of the Preliminary Examination, the student develops a dissertation prospectus as preparation for undertaking dissertation research that represents the culmination of their doctoral program. Successful defense of the dissertation results in the granting of the doctoral degree.

Admissions and Financial Aid for Doctoral Students

You can find information about the department’s admissions requirements and deadlines at the admissions webpage. You can find information about financial aid opportunities at the financial aid webpage.