Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning

Undergraduate Study Abroad Resources

Study Abroad Opportunities


One of the most common inquiries among many students in the Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning (BAUP) program is whether or not they can study abroad.  The answer is a definite “yes.”  Numerous opportunities are available both within DURP and through the Study Abroad Office (SAO).  Students are not limited to any particular choices, but we do recommend that a student choose either from DURP’s options or one of the programs geared towards Planning within the SAO.

For undergraduate students that do intend to include planning courses as part of their study abroad curriculum, DURP directly offers four programs through the department, two during the winter and two during the summer.  Additionally, the department recommends four study abroad opportunities offered through SAO, two in the United Kingdom and two in Australia.  These programs are summarized in the following sections.


Globalization and Inequality in Post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa (Winter Break)


DURP in conjuncture with LAS offers a study abroad course (GLBL 298: Diversity and Integration: South Africa). In this course students will map memories and contemporary struggles against urban inequalities in post-apartheid Cape Town. After a brief historical survey of global and local forces producing uneven spatial and social inequalities in South Africa, students will visit the city of Cape Town to debate and map sites of past and contemporary struggles against urban inequalities. The course consists of six 3 hour pre-departure lectures on the historical relation between spatial planning practices and social inequalities in Cape Town, South Africa and a two-week field trip to Cape Town. The field trip will focus on debates and walking tours with survivors of forced removals now struggling to overcome new post-apartheid forms of social and spatial exclusion from the city. Student grades are assigned for a daily journal, reflective essays on assigned readings and production of an interactive map of sites of current struggles against persistent colonial, apartheid and neoliberal social inequalities. The course is directed by Ken Salo, and additional information is available at this site.  Please contact Prof. Salo for any further questions.


British & Australian Study Abroad Programs


All UK and Australia programs, which are primarily geared toward undergraduate study abroad, are organized through the University's Study Abroad Office, which provides applications and scholarship information. One year of study is preferred, especially in the UK, although one semester abroad is an option at all four universities.  The UK academic calendar goes from late September to mid January and late January to early June.  The Australian academic calendar is reversed from UIUC's, going from late February to mid-June and mid-July to late-November.  Courses taken abroad must be selected to fulfill department requirements.


British Exchange Program

The British Exchange Program (BEP) is the oldest exchange program at the University of Illinois. It offers University of Illinois students an affordable way to spend the academic year studying in Europe and the chance to take courses to fulfill graduation requirements. As a participant in the BEP, you enjoy the benefits of direct enrollment at a British university. You take all of your classes with British students, live in student housing with other British and international students, and have access to all the sports facilities and clubs of your host university. The best option for students is to spend the entire academic year in Britain, as a year allows for a much wider choice of classes and more integration into the British university and British culture. Students studying Urban and Regional Planning may be especially interested in opportunities at the universities in Sheffield and Manchester.

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester/Academic Year
   Priority Deadline: December 15
   Final Deadline: February 15

Spring Semester
   Priority Deadline: June 1
   Final Deadline: October 1

University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the top universities in the UK, receiving 29 scores of 'Excellent' in the assessment of teaching at British universities. Only Cambridge scored higher.Typical of British universities, lectures, seminars, tutorials, labs, and fieldwork are the main teaching methods used. The main library is served by nine additional specialist libraries and holds over one million volumes.Campus is composed of converted Victorian houses, converted churches and modern structures.  Like the city itself, there are plenty of gardens, lawns, and wooded areas. Public parks, tree-lined walkways and wooded residential districts prevent any sort of urban gloom from entering Sheffield.

In terms of planning courses, they are grouped into five areas in the Department of Town and Regional Planning: geography and planning, landscape architecture and planning, urban environmental studies, urban studies, and urban studies and planning.  This program has a longstanding relationship with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) and is highly recommended for any BAUP student that wishes to study abroad in Britain.  As a result of this partnership, there are a few spots guaranteed every year for students who would like to study at Sheffield.

Course Information

University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is among the top universities in the world. The University has almost 4,000 academic and research staff, many with international reputations in their subjects, providing you with a stimulating learning environment and the highest standard of teaching. The teaching style is a blend of lectures and small group tutorials and seminars. The University of Manchester is at the heart of a dynamic city that attracts an increasing number of students, visitors and businesses every year. Manchester is one of Britain's liveliest and most multicultural cities, buzzing with events, cinemas, theaters, exhibitions, clubs and bars that cater for every taste and background.  It offers a vibrant world with which to engage during your study abroad experience.

Courses relevant to planning students are available in a variety of subject areas, including town and country planning, landscape planning and management, environmental management, and city and regional development (see the offerings in the School of Environment and Development).

Course Information

Illinois Programs in Australia

The Study Abroad Office (SAO) administers the Illinois Programs in Australia (IL-Australia) study abroad and exchange scheme, offering students eight choices of universities. IL-Australia is ideal for students seeking an affordable program that still allows for travel flexibility and the development of individual independence.  The universities of Queensland and New South Wales are especially well suited for students in Urban and Regional Planning.

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester/Academic Year
   Priority Deadline: December 15 (to qualify for exchange)
   Final Deadline: February 15

Spring Semester
   Priority Deadline: June 1 (to qualify for exchange)
   Final Deadline: October 1

University of Queensland

The University of Queensland (UQ), founded in 1909, is one of Australia's largest and most comprehensive universities.  UQ's main campus is located at St. Lucia, a suburb of Brisbane.  The campus occupies the entire inside bend of the Brisbane River and is surrounded by beautiful jacaranda trees.  In addition to high quality academics, the University of Queensland offers many opportunities to learn about Australian history and culture.  The Anthropology Museum offers an excellent collection of Aboriginal artifacts and images of contemporary culture.  Other museums on campus focus on art, geology, and zoology.  The Schonell Theater is home to local productions, special events and cinema.  Mayne Centre, one of the many outstanding examples of the University's architecture, is venue to many concerts, the Queensland Art Museum, and other musical events.  Students can also venture into Brisbane and the surrounding suburbs for nightlife and cultural events.

If you are looking to take courses in environmental planning and related issues, UQ is your best choice for taking planning courses abroad.  These planning and other related courses can be found within the School of Geography, Planning and Architecture.

Course Information

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

UNSW was founded in 1949 and is one of Australia’s largest universities with a student population over 40,000.  The main campus occupies an 85-acre hilly site in Kensington, an inner suburb about 30 minutes by bus from central Sydney.  The university has an urban feel, and students who are looking for a fast-paced urban setting will be comfortable at UNSW.  UNSW has its own university district surrounding the campus with interesting shops, restaurants, and bars. Moreover, the campus is only a ten-minute walk or short bus ride to several of Sydney's most popular swimming and surfing beaches.  Students also have the option of going into the city for shopping and entertainment.
Courses recommended for planning students are found within a wide variety of disciplines at UNSW.  Through the Faculty of the Built Environment, applicable courses can be found in areas such as urban development and design, urban planning, and environmental studies.

Course Information - Planning
Course Information - Built Environment

Preparing to Go Abroad

The first step for any student who is planning to do a study abroad program is to attend one of the First Steps Meetings, which are held every Monday through Friday during the academic year at 4 pm. Please check www.studyabroad.illinois.edu for exact location details. You need not set an appointment, but make sure you arrive on time or you will not be admitted.  These meetings give students basic preparation for going abroad, such as information on scholarships, financial aid, and the application process.

You may also utilize the Study Abroad Office Resource Room where you can talk to peer advisors, browse brochures and catalogues, check our course approval database, and read evaluations from past participants.  The Resource Room is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 4:45, in room 124 International Studies Building (located at 910 S.  Fifth Street between Chalmers and Daniel), and no appointments are necessary.

After you have been to First Steps and done some research, if you have specific questions about a particular program, you can set up an appointment with a study abroad regional advisor. You can make an appointment by calling 333-6322. To set up an appointment as a walk-in, please go to Room 115, the Study Abroad Main Office, open from 8:30 – 4:45 every weekday. This room is where you not only check-in for appointments, but also turn in paperwork, and deal with credit and/or insurance issues.

Study Abroad Flowcharts

Students who choose to study abroad will have to follow their own special flowcharts in order to complete their BAUP degree on time. As the flowcharts for students who choose not to go abroad require at least one course every semester from the core courses, many students may find it hard to fit even one semester abroad into their schedules. However, whether you entered the program as a freshman, or have just been accepted to start your junior year in urban planning, or even if you are considering a school that does not offer planning courses, you do in fact have opportunities to go abroad. However, these require following modified flowcharts, available at the bottom of each section below.

Courses you take while abroad depend on the timeframe in which you choose to be abroad. If you would like to take courses equivalent to departmental electives at the 400 level while abroad, our recommendation would be to go sometime during your junior year or fall semester as a senior. Students who go abroad as sophomores should not be taking equivalents for such courses, as we do not recommend that they do so while here on campus. For such students, we recommend that they find equivalents for the planning electives and general education courses (specifically your cultural studies, humanities, and natural science requirements) while abroad, or any available courses similar to planning courses at the 100 and 200 levels.

If for any reason you still cannot include  study abroad into your studies during the spring and fall semester, you still have options.  The winter break Cape Town Study Abroad course and the Sustainable Futures course during each summer break can fit your schedule without modification to the general flowcharts. For information about these courses, please consult the top of this document.

Incoming Freshmen
Those who enter the program as freshmen, provided they plan at least a year in advance of when they’d like to go, have a plethora of options for when they choose to study abroad. Those who would like to spend an entire year abroad can choose to do it either during their sophomore or junior years. For these students, we recommend that they take UP 205 spring semester of their freshman year, lessening their load of UP courses they will need to take during their second year living here on campus. Students following this plan during that year will take UP 260, 203, and 312 in the fall and UP 316 and 347 during the spring, as outlined in the respective flowcharts at the bottom of this section.

Students who would rather spend just one semester abroad have four choices. DURP allows students who would like to utilize this choice to go either semester of a student’s sophomore year, or the fall semester of either their junior or senior years. Going during the spring semester of your junior year is not an option, however, due to the program design. Because UP 347 has all core courses of lower numbers as its prerequisites, going during the spring as a junior will require that you take it after or concurrently with the senior workshop, or before you take 312 during the fall semester of your junior year. If you would like to spend that semester abroad, we recommend that you take the full year option if possible. However, if you do go only during your spring semester as a junior, you should follow the full-year abroad flowchart, and take departmental and planning electives during the fall of your junior year when you are here on campus.

Sophomore Transfers
Students who transfer into the BAUP program at the beginning of their sophomore year have similar options to those who enter as freshmen.  However, unless you plan to go abroad during the fall semester as a senior, we highly recommend that you enter the program with the entrance requirement as outlined on the junior transfer flowchart. It is imperative that you do so if you choose to go abroad at any point during your junior year. This will ensure that you understand the concepts across disciplines related to planning, particularly the basic social, political, and economic forces that shape the planning process before beginning 200 and 300-level courses. For students who wish to go abroad during spring semester as sophomores, the deadline for completing these courses is the end of the fall during your sophomore year.

Again, as outlined in the above section for incoming freshmen, we do not recommend that sophomore transfers go abroad during their spring semester of their junior year. Taking 347 as a senior poses the same problems for both transfers and students who start their college careers in the program; but it is magnified for sophomore transfers that choose to take 347 as sophomores. Such students would have to complete 347 before taking not only UP 312, but also UP 260 and 203. This is not recommended under any but the most extenuating circumstances. Such students should follow the junior year abroad flowchart, and take departmental and planning electives during the fall as juniors.

Junior Transfers
Students who transfer into the BAUP program at the beginning of their junior year (or even the spring of their sophomore year) are comparatively limited in their study abroad options. Because such students will need to complete most of the core curriculum in two semesters, going abroad anytime as a junior for such students is clearly infeasible. Going during the fall semester of your senior year is the only option for such students. Additionally, a senior workshop is not always available in the spring due to potential lack of demand for the second workshop.  Checking with the BAUP coordinator as soon as possible is crucial to determining the potential for this option to work. For students who plan to graduate a semester late, however, this will not pose a problem to completing the degree.

If your only option is to follow the existing flowchart, your best bet would be to consider the winter break and summer break courses offered by the department. See the top of this document for information.