Ph.D. in CRP Curriculum and Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students design their course of study in conjunction with an advisory committee. The committee chair is selected from the CRP faculty and represents the student's major subject concentration.

Minor concentration committee members come from CRP or other departments across the university. Recent graduates have worked with faculty from anthropology, transportation engineering, global development, government, design and environmental analysis, industrial and labor relations, regional science, and economics. Students ask a faculty member to sit on their committee as a minor member after taking classes from potential committee members and after deciding on a dissertation topic.

The first milestone of the Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning is the A-examination, wherein the student advances to Ph.D. candidacy by demonstrating proficiency in the subject areas represented by his/her committee members. Students should complete the A-examination in the second year of residence. The format of the A-examination varies depending on the student and the committee; it always includes an oral component and it typically includes responses to written questions as well as a research proposal.

Following the A-examination, Ph.D. students conduct research and write a dissertation draft. The dissertation defense occurs in the B-examination, after which the student revises the dissertation to the committee's satisfaction.

CRP offers seminars taught by senior faculty with considerable experience in research and publication to help Ph.D. students develop a dissertation topic and complete the degree. Seminar topics include advanced planning theory, urban and regional theory, and research design. The seminars provide students with a thorough knowledge of the field and help identify critical questions. Students are also encouraged to pursue course work and specialization in allied fields (such as applied economics, global development, government, and anthropology).

Three-Paper Option

Many fields in the social sciences (psychology, economics, and planning, for example) provide Ph.D. students with a three-paper option in lieu of a dissertation. Fields in which this option is offered usually place greater emphasis on refereed journal articles than monographs in promotion and tenure decisions.

Standards for the three-paper option in CRP include the following:

  1. The three papers should be thematically linked and reflect a trajectory of work with depth of inquiry in a common area.
  2. Each paper must contribute significantly to new knowledge and be deemed publishable in a reputable refereed journal.
  3. The material covered in the papers should not significantly overlap.

Schedule for successful progress

Year 1:    Take course work, finalize committee, identify topic
Year 2:    Write Proposal, Hold “A” Exam, Begin research, Plan for field work (and additional field work funding) if field work is needed for the project.
Year 3:    Research and field work. Begin writing Dissertation
Year 4:    Write Dissertation and look for jobs

Ph.D. Program Classes

List of classes and topics.
Class Topic
CRP 7190 Special Topics: Planning Theory and PoliticsThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to planning theory and politics. Topics vary each semester. Advanced urban theory
CRP 8010 Advanced Seminar in Urban and Regional Theory IIThis course surveys traditional and more recent explanations of the location, aggregation, and fragmentation of economic activities in space under different assumptions about the mobility of factors, transportation (or more generally, transaction) costs, economies of scale, and the competitiveness of markets. The relationship between theories of trade and location will be considered, as will the effects on spatial economies of policy interventions. Urban theory/urbanism
CRP 8100 Advanced Planning TheoryThis doctorial level seminar creates an academic space for in-depth inquiry into what work planning theories do and how they give shape and depth to advanced social sciences-based scholarship in planning and urban studies. The seminar focuses on critical exploration of intellectual traditions and debates in planning theory including the epistemological and ontological implications of an array of theories of knowledge, society, urban space, and rationality that serve as frameworks and undercurrents in urban studies and planning literature. The aim of this seminar is to help students gain an awareness of their own positionality relative to a wide spectrum of theories and to scaffold intellectual growth and increase the theoretical depth of their own scholarship. Regional theory
CRP 8300 Seminar in Regional Science Planning & Policy AnalysisCRP 8300 is a weekly seminar at which faculty, students, and visitors present their research on topics of current interest. Presentations usually involve formal or quantitative analyses of developments in regional economies and policy or planning implications. Regional theory
CRP 7201 Research DesignThis course provides a comprehensive review of the research and writing process to help Ph.D. students develop a strategy for writing a research proposal and journal article. The course provides a comprehensive review of the research design process and will result in each student developing his/her dissertation proposal. The course focuses on articulating research objectives, managing the research process, ethics, funding and professional development as a scholar. The course also explores how to write journal articles (journal selection, review process) and how to position your work in your academic field. Research design
CRP 8900 Ph.D. Professional SeminarIntended for doctoral candidates in city and regional planning and regional science; other students welcome. This course aims to introduce doctoral students to professional skills broadly associated with academic research and teaching. In short, the aim of the course is to prepare future scholars in the field. Presentation and discussion of current problem areas and research by doctoral students and guest will help students develop a culture of presenting their work along with receiving and providing feedback. Research design and methods
CRP 6330 Methods of Regional Science and PlanningIs the world flat and "distance is dead"? Despite recent claims, geographic proximity in social interactions has never been more important. How do we introduce space into our models for planning analysis? Why are things as they are? How do we evaluate plans/policies when spatial interactions matter? The course addresses these questions drawing on recent advances in spatial modeling. The methods to be discussed include the framework of inter-regional input-output (IRIO), structural path analysis (SPA), computable general equilibrium (CGE), and agent-based modeling (ABM). We will begin with the top-down IMPLAN analyses, which are appropriate for static, short-term planning challenges, but less so for regions and cities that change continuously. Regions and cities are adaptive, self-organizing systems of individuals whose interdependent actions create urban forms and produce spatial patterns. To explore how macro-patterns emerge from micro-behavior, we will discuss the bottom-up framework of agent-based modeling. The models to be discussed are analytically intractable: results can only be derived using numerical simulations. The analysis therefore requires computer packages, including IMPLAN, Excel, GAMS, and NetLogo. Methods of regional science and planning
CRP 6201 Qualitative Research and Design MethodsThe course explores theoretical and practical dimensions of research design and qualitative methods, particularly as they apply to research in urban settings. Students learn how different paradigms of knowledge construction have shaped urban research and practice. Students also learn elements of research design, qualitative data collection methods, qualitative data analysis and research ethics and evaluation. The course asks students to apply these concepts by developing pieces of a research proposal throughout the course, culminating in a full proposal. It is therefore ideally suited to students preparing to undertake a thesis, capstone, and other research project. Qualitative methods
CRP 9920 Doctoral Dissertation (up to 12 credits/semester) Dissertation
Close overlay