City and Regional Planning

Welcome to the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning information portal. As you may know, our doctoral program is one of the nation's oldest. It counts leaders in research and education throughout the world among its graduates. From our first doctoral graduate, Herbert Gans ‘ 57, (who is now professor emeritus Columbia University having had a distinguished career that included pace-setting publications in  from The Urban Villagers [1962] and The Levittowners [1967] to Imagining America 2033 [2009]) to our 2018-19 graduates, Jae Min Lee, Daniel Suh, Eliza Whiteman and Zoe Warner, who wrote landmark dissertations in urban design, transportation, food security and land use, we have guided more than 330 students to their PhDs.  The breadth and depth of  their scholarly contributions represents a proud tradition that continues to shape the ambitions we hold for our students.

While competition is strong for admission to our doctoral program, we consciously keep each cohort small in size in order to create a nurturing environment that will help each member become a promising scholars who forges a unique and powerful scholarly to create new knowledge in service of 21st century urbanism. We accept three students with four years of full support each year.

The University of Pennsylvania is an intellectually stimulating environment in which to study the metropolitan areas locally and globally under the guidance of  our Graduate Group whose members come from the full array of urban-focused researchers across the university. Strong faculty mentoring and mutual support among the doctoral students characterize our program. In implementing these values, all First and Second Year students to attend a four-semester Doctoral Seminar that engages learning from emerging and mature scholars from within and outside of Penn, testing research ideas, establishing research agendas and presenting emerging research findings. The result is a deeply collegial atmosphere, one that nurtures intellectual growth and research productivity,  the key signature of our program.

Throughout their time at Penn, our Ph.D.  students draw on  the University at large, benefiting from faculty expertise and courses in other schools, including Arts and Sciences, Wharton, Social Policy and Practice, and Law and research centers including the Penn Institute for Urban Research, Center for Public Health Initiatives, Institute for Environmental Studies and the Cartographic Modeling Lab. Penn's internationally renowned urban-focused scholars present an ideal context for pursuing advanced studies in City and Regional Planning.

As you look at our Ph.D. program, ask yourself two questions:

• First, what is the passionate element of your interest in cities or metropolitan regions and planning? While Ph.D. study at Penn normally takes between four years, and your interests will deepen as you proceed through coursework to dissertation, having a clear intellectual motivation for pursuing your doctorate is essential. In assessing your application, we  will want to understand your reasons for seeking a Ph.D.

• Second, how will you benefit from the extraordinary intellectual resources available at Penn--its multi-disciplinary faculty expertise, expansive library system, and urban-laboratory location in Philadelphia? We want you to tell us with whom you would like to study and why your would seek mentorship with this member of the faculty

Take a look at the information that follows. It will introduce you our  faculty, their research interests, teaching, and professional activities; the expectations and requirements of the Program; and profiles of our Ph.D. Students, candidates and graduates.

Once you have reviewed this basic information, please communicate with me by email (elbirch@design.upenn.edu  ). I will be glad to review with you the ways in which we may help you achieve your educational and professional goals in the field of city and regional planning.