Welcome to the Ph.D. program in Community and Regional Planning! We are a young and dynamic program, granting our first doctoral degree in the spring of 2000. Our students, chosen through a highly selective admissions process, have  been very successful in both the academic and non-academic job markets. Our graduates teach at universities such as Portland State University, University of Virginia, Cornell University and University of Manchester, and hold advanced research positions in institutions such as the World Bank, Texas Transportation Institute, and Seoul Development Institute. The Journal of the American Planning Association, one of the leading journals in the field, is currently published here in CRP.

The core objective of the Ph.D. program in planning is to prepare highly qualified graduate students for research and teaching at the university level and for leadership positions in public and private institutions. The program provides rigorous, but flexibly tailored, scholastic and practical training for advanced students to prepare them to make substantive contributions to planning and related policy fields. The specific goals for students of the program include:

  • Obtaining a detailed understanding of planning theory and its relation to broader social problems, processes and policies.
  • Developing substantive knowledge and mastery in 2 field areas - one within planning and the other in an outside area of concentration.
  • Gaining a mastery of quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to conduct advanced independent research in planning.
  • Engaging in planning-related research and theory construction that leads to original and relevant findings of significant value to citizens, communities and other scholars.

Advanced research in planning requires a strong theoretical and methodological background, a deep understanding of planning institutions and processes, and a substantial knowledge of specific disciplines related to planning. Doctoral students can specialize in a range of planning fields within the CRP program including international planning, economic and community development, environmental and natural resource planning, housing, land use and land development, transportation planning and historic preservation. Throughout their degree program, doctoral students work closely with their dissertation advisor and other faculty within CRP but also with an extended committee of mentors from other schools, departments and research institutes of the University of Texas at Austin. The program strongly emphasizes interdisciplinary scholarship and research collaborations to address the complex problems of urban and regional growth and development.

More information about our faculty, research interests, mentoring approach and program requirements is available in our PhD Program Handbook.

Admissions Information

Two to four students are typically admitted to CRP Ph.D. program each year. With a limited enrollment and a large pool of qualified candidates, satisfying the formal entrance requirements of The Graduate School and of the CRP Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) will ensure placement in the formal applicant pool from which successful candidates will be chosen. However, meeting the formal entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

Applicants to the doctoral program in Community and Regional Planning will be evaluated according to the following seven criteria for admission:

  • Hold a Master of Science in urban planning or its equivalent in a related field;
  • Demonstrate adequate subject preparation in content and quality as reflected in transcripts and letters of recommendation;
  • A statement of purpose consisting of a 1000 to 1500-word essay demonstrating a clear interest in Ph.D. study and including a description of research interests and objectives;
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results from a test taken less than five years before the admissions application deadline;
  • A score on The Foreign Language (TOEFL) test of 550 or higher on the paper-based test or 213 or higher on the computer-based test for applicants whose first language is not English;
  • A grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better on all completed graduate work;
  • A strong match between the research and career interests of the applicant and current research and teaching activities of at least one member of the CRP faculty.

The GSC is empowered to provisionally admit an otherwise unusually strong candidate who has deficiencies in one or more of the above criteria. However, if the candidate does not meet the Master of Science in planning admission criteria listed above, the student must complete a program of coursework that covers core topics by the end of the second year following provisional admission to the program or the provisional admission may be canceled.

Application Procedures

Applicants for the Ph.D. program should follow the SOA graduate admissions instructions.

For More Information

Applicants to the Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to contact the coordinator of the Ph.D. program to discuss their specific interests in the program:

Dr. Bjørn Sletto
Ph.D. Program Coordinator for Community & Regional Planning
Associate Professor

+1 512 471 5153 | phone
+1 512 471 0716 | fax

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Photo UT PhD CRP students

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Program review

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Sutton Hall

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CRP PhD students in Goldsmith Courtyard, November 2015

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CRP PhD students and alumni at ACSP Portland 2016