International Programs and Activities

Faculty in Transnational Planning Stream

Nearly all DURP faculty are engaged in research with a focus on international and transnational planning issues. Examples are:

  • Arnab Chakraborty: Assessing, modeling and teaching impacts of changes in land use and transportation; new planning institutions in emerging economies; India, China, Netherlands and Curacao;
  • Brian Deal: Urban growth and development modeling activities in rural Korea;
  • Marc Doussard: Labor markets, inequalities in the workplace and the contribution of public policy decisions to economic opportunity in the US, impacts of the military build-up in Guam;
  • Edward Feser: Comparative U.S.-European regional development policy;
  • Stacy Harwood: Immigration and Planning in California and the Midwest, Community-based Planning and Design in Costa Rica;
  • Geoffrey Hewings: Modeling of urban, regional and interregional economic systems; U.S., Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia and Japan.
  • Bumsoo Lee: Comparison of travel behavior in US and European cities;
  • Faranak Miraftab: Grassroots urban movements for housing and basic services in South Africa; immigration and multiculturalizing rural Midwest, US; transnational community development Mexico-US;
  • Rob Olshansky: Post-disaster redevelopment in Japan, India, Indonesia and the U.S. (New Orleans);
  • Ken Salo: Environmental justice and environmental racism in South Africa and Illinois;
  • Daniel Schneider: Community-based ecological management Mexico and the U.S.


The Department's collective efforts to expand and improve its international and transnational curricula, programs, and offerings are led by a Transnational Studies Coordinator, currently Professor Faranak Miraftab. Specific courses and programs are often led by individual faculty, as noted the descriptions below. For general questions about international and transnational offerings in the Department or on campus, contact Professor Miraftab at or 217-265-8238


Students interested in international and transnational planning issues can benefit from a wide range of course offerings on campus and at the department. They can also complement their MUP concentration by joining the Transnational Planning Stream and enroll in its recommended courses. See Transnational Planning Stream Course Recommendations.


Join the TN planning listserv to keep track of happenings in the Department and on campus in this field. This listserv is created to communicate with students and faculty interested in the Transnational Planning stream in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. List members post information about lectures, conferences, courses, internships and related matters and opportunities. To join, go to and submit your email address.

Internship Opportunities

Students in the Transnational Planning stream are strongly encouraged to complement their course work with practical experience in organizations that focus on transnational and international development work. Remunerated or volunteer work experience with organizations located in the US or abroad addressing development planning issues is invaluable both to students’ education and to their career development and employment opportunities once they graduate from our program. Towards that goal students can register in UP 590 Internship to receive credit units for their practical experience and also apply for a newly instituted DURP international travel grant to receive partial support for their internship and research experience abroad. Students are encouraged to work with the Stream’s coordinator to identify and seek internship placement at an organization that can provide them with applied work experience in the field. A list of potential employers and internship organizations for TNP students will be available from the coordinator upon request.

Field-based course work and research abroad

In its teaching, DURP seeks not simply to introduce students to international and transnational planning issues but also to enhance experiential knowledge and learning by actively involving students in varied aspects of urban and regional development around the world. Hence, to enhance the global dimension of its curriculum it offers several outlets for students to study planning and planning-related issues in different cultural, political, and economic contexts. These range from participation in exchange programs where students spend a semester or a year at another institution oversees, to participation in short study abroad courses for periods ranging from few weeks to few months or a semester; to research based study at partner institutions through NEURUS program. In most instances, the coursework and research undertaken through these outlets abroad fulfill DURP graduation requirements. In other words, participation does not extend the time needed to complete degree requirements.

Research based study abroad through NEURUS

NEURUS: Network for European-United States Regional & Urban Studies, is an international consortium of universities dedicated to the collaborative study of urban and regional development issues around the globe. The origin of the acronym, with its focus on the U.S. and Europe, derives from the consortium's original title when first established in 1998. At that time, the network consisted of six universities, three in Europe and three in the United States. Today, NEURUS is a thirteen university consortium with partners in the United States, Europe and Asia. A centerpiece of the consortium is the NEURUS Fellows program, a framework of agreements and supportive environments designed to give scholars and students flexible opportunities to enhance their study of urban and regional issues from comparative perspectives. NEURUS is heavily focused on applied research as opposed to conventional student exchange. Participating DURP students are typically in their second year of the MUP program or a PhD candidate interested in investigating a specific comparative issue.  Often they are working with a faculty member on a comparative research project, and might be able to receive funding in support of their participation in NEURUS. For more information consult Professor Brian Deal, UIUC's coordinator of NEURUS program. NEURUS universities outside the United States include:

  • Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  • University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Jönköping International Business School, Sweden
  • Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria
  • Korea University, Seoul
  • University College Dublin, Ireland
  • University of Barcelona, Spain
  • University of Pécs, Hungary
  •   Answers to UIUC-specific questions regarding admissions, academic requirements, funding and travel arrangements and experiences, as well as former UIUC NEURUS alumni reports are available at the Student Information Portal.

Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa (UAS), Mexico: DURP students interested in conducting research in Mexico will have the opportunity to work with faculty at the Center for the Study of Globalization and Regional Development at the School of International Relations and Public Policy, Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa located in Culiacan. DURP students will discuss their research interest with interested faculty here at DURP and with faculty at UAS. Once a research topic is agreed upon by student and involved faculty at both institutions, DURP students can spend summer and/or winter breaks at UAS, and, with the help of UAS faculty, conduct field based research in Mexico, and receive independent study credit hours at UIUC. For financial support, students could apply to Tinker Travel Grant and DURP International Travel Grant. For more information contact Professor Miraftab.

Short Study Abroad Courses

Sustainable Futures Program, Monteverde, Costa Rica (Summer break)

The ten week Sustainable Futures Program, directed by Stacy Harwood, is offered every summer to planners, architects, landscape architects, international development specialists, natural resource managers, and other students interested in sustainable futures. Participants live in a rural Costa Rican rain forest community struggling to achieve a balance between its agricultural base, the pressures of eco-tourism, and the desire to save the rain forests. Participants study the ecology of the area, the institutional supports for sustainable development, ecological tourism, the origins of urbanism, community-based planning, buffer zone management strategies,Spanish language and Costa Rican culture.

Diversity and Integration: 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. Please contact Prof. Salo for further information.

Exchange Programs

UIUC has student exchange agreements with many universities around the world. DURP’s active exchange programs are with universities in Europe and Korea (through NEURUS) catering to graduate students; with Mexico through Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa, in Culiacan (North American Studies program at the Globalization and Regional Development Center) catering to graduate and undergraduate students; and with British and Australian partners primarily catering to undergraduate students. DURP on a regular basis exchanges undergraduate students for a semester or a year with the following UK and Australian universities:

For more information consult the BAUP Study Abroad Opportunities webpage.

Other campus wide opportunities for study and research abroad

In addition to the opportunities provided directly through DURP, students can participate in a range of study abroad and exchange programs facilitated through the Study Abroad Office on campus. The University has Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a large number of universities around the world based on which students can pay their tuition at UIUC but study at any of the universities with which campus has a MOU. For a complete list of such institutions consult the Study Abroad Office.

To pursue study and research abroad, students are encouraged to search for other campus wide opportunities through the International Studies Programs, area studies centers and programs and the Center for the Global Studies. See Campus Resources.

Funding opportunities

DURP International Travel Grant
Recognizing the educational value of field based research and work experience yet the financial limitations students face to pursue this in contexts outside the United States, DURP has instituted an International Travel Grant.  This fund provides up to $500 to one or two students who have identified exceptional opportunities for internship and/or research abroad to support their travel expenses.  The competition for this grant is open to students in all degree programs at DURP but priority is given to students in the Transnational Planning Stream. Deadline for the applications is May 1. For more information contact Professor Miraftab ( Students are encouraged to use this small grant with the funding they obtain through other sources, on- or off-campus. Other on-campus funding opportunities include:

International visiting fellows and exchange students

DURP, in line with UIUC's vision, highly values internationalization of its education not only through curriculum but also through international students’ admissions and exchanges.  In addition to full time students who join the program from around the world every year, DURP hosts visiting fellows and students from an array of institutions overseas.

Reading Group

Occasionally UIUC faculty and graduate students form a multi disciplinary reading group on transnational issues. In the past (academic years 06-07 and 07-08) these reading groups focused on Transnational Urbanism and were funded by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH). The Transnational Urbanism Reading Groups bring together faculty and graduate students with interests in transnational studies to collectively examine the complexity of urban development, urban life and citizenship in a transnational era.  It calls for reconsidering how cultural, political and economic urban processes are shaped locally and trans-locally. To propose new funded reading groups and for information on other reading groups on campus see IPRH reading groups.

Campus Resources

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has a number of nation-leading programs and area studies centers, including the Office of Study Abroad, the Center for Global Studies, the Center for African Studies, the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives program, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center, the European Union Center, and International Programs and Studies. Many of these units award travel grants and other kinds of support on a competitive basis to BAUP, MUP and PhD students in DURP working on international and transnational issues. Also, students may wish to develop a deeper understanding of a specific region and culture by securing language training through generous funding provided by the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) program. FLAS is an important source of funding for students interested in specializing in a specific region of the world. The CIC Foreign Language Enhancement Program (FLEP) provides scholarships to help graduate students take advantage of language offerings not available at their home university, but available at another CIC member university. Scholarships are intended to cover living expenses incurred while attending another CIC host institution during the summer session. DURP students could also consider receiving a GRID certificate from the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program (WGGP), which is an academic unit in the International Programs and Studies (IPS) division, aimed at promoting the study of global human security and gender equity. Students should also check out the National and International Scholarships Program for information about support through programs such as Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, Mitchell, Marshall, Rhodes, and others.

Registered Student Organizations

Programs & Centers