The Urban and Social Justice concentration trains students to be urban planners concerned with making cities and towns livable and sustainable for all inhabitants.

Urban planners work with city and town officials, architects and designers, community organizers, and activists to help shape a vibrant and healthy future that reflects the needs and aspirations of communities. This means that they work on issues such as affordable housing and real estate markets; adaptive reuse of old buildings and city spaces; transportation networks including bicycle access and walkability; green spaces, parks and recreation; economic development, historic preservation, and much more.

Topics Covered 

  • Cities and towns in history 
  • Housing, architecture and urban design 
  • Comprehensive planning  
  • Multi-modal transportation and mass transit 
  • Urban agriculture and food systems 
  • Impacts of climate change on cities and towns 
  • Geographic information systems 
  • Public participation in the planning process 
  • Zoning law and public administration 
  • Legacies of racism and marginalization and efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion in the planning process 

Program Highlights

  • Regional Planning students have opportunities for research, travel, and internships. 
  • Students participate in the Regional Planning Senior  Seminar, which is a capstone research experience tailored to the interests of the student.  Research is presented to a jury of professional planners, mimicking a professional presentation. 
  • Regional planning internships provide our students with the opportunity to avail themselves of our network of alumni in positions throughout the northeast and beyond. In some cases, these internships develop into full-time positions and careers.

Schedule of Coursework

The regional planning major is 39-credits spread across a ‘Foundations’ section, a ‘Methods’ section, and a Concentration section in either Environmental or Urban Planning.  This modest credit total enables students to double major in other related fields such as environmental science for those in the Environmental Planning concentration and Sociology, Political Science or Ethnic and Gender Studies for those with an Urban and Social Justice concentration.   

Regional Planning students are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities and internships in their junior and senior years. The capstone ‘Senior Seminar’ is typically taken during the final semester of the senior year. 


  • Students become familiar with the practice of planning and the role of planners in supporting the sustainable development of cities, towns, and regions 
  • Students develop expertise in the spectrum of social, economic, and environmental issues that face communities 
  • Students learn the many methods and techniques at planners’ disposal for addressing community needs including zoning law, transfer of development rights, participatory methods and budgeting, and comprehensive planning  
  • Students develop an awareness of career opportunities in planning and related fields 


Regional Planning Foundation Courses - 21 Credits
Regional Planning Methodology Courses - 9 Credits
Urban & Social Justice Concentration - 9 Credits
Regional Planning Recommended Common Core Courses
Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core .