Urban planning is used loosely to refer to intentional interventions in the urban development process...The term 'planning' thus subsumes a variety of mechanisms that are in fact quite distinct: regulation, collective choice, organizational design, market correction, citizen participation, and public sector action.

— Lewis D. Hopkins, Urban Development: The Logic of Making Plans


The University of Illinois has a long and rich history in the training of urban and regional planners, dating back to 1913 when Charles Mulford Robinson, one of the era's most distinguished planners, was appointed Professor of Civic Design in the University's Landscape Architecture Division. At that time, only the University of Illinois and Harvard University offered courses in urban planning. In 1945 the University authorized a master's degree in urban planning, and in 1953 an undergraduate degree was established. Both programs were offered in the Department of Landscape Architecture until 1965, when the Department of Urban Planning became its own academic unit. The Department established the Ph.D in Regional Planning in 1983.

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is one of the largest planning programs in the U.S., and it is one of very few programs that offers three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning, a Master of Urban Planning, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Regional Planning. It also offers a Minor in Urban Planning, as well as joint master's degree options, including with Law, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture. The size of the planning faculty, and the Department's presence on an Urbana campus with eleven colleges, nearly 3,000 faculty, 41,000 students, and over $330 million in funded research annually means that Illinois planning students have an extraordinarily rich array of learning and research opportunities available to them.

Located in the College of Fine and Applied Arts along with the School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning includes design components in its curricula through its own teaching and via linkages with those units while providing a planning education with firm roots in the social and policy sciences. The Planetizen 2012 Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs ranks Illinois among the top five programs in the United States and the leading planning program in the Midwest.

Learn more about our department milestones, faculty, degree programs, facilities, and alumni.