The University of Maryland's PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Design program takes full advantage of the resources of a leading research university and the surrounding metropolitan area. The program is small and highly competitive, and gives students an opportunity to bridge disciplines, including urban planning, design, historic preservation and real-estate development. Our nationally-known faculty, the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, and our location in the Washington, DC metro area make the University of Maryland an exciting place to study urban planning, design and historic preservation.

File Info Abstract:

File size: 2.76 MB
PhD_Brochure.pdf (PhD_Brochure.pdf)

The PhD Program

The PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Design is offered by the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The PhD program prepares students to teach at the university level in departments of Urban Planning, Architecture, Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture or Real Estate Development. It also qualifies graduates to conduct research and participate in high-level decision-making in the public, private and non-profit sectors.


This Ph.D. program builds on the University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and the faculty's community-based work in Maryland, nationally and internationally. The faculty of the School is involved with the State of Maryland on issues of land-use planning and future patterns of urban development, with local communities to address issues of education reform, economic development, housing stabilization and revitalization, and urban design; and with foreign governments on issues of urban development and planning. This ongoing research and education provides a rich intellectual environment for students pursuing the Ph.D. in urban and regional planning and design. 


Specific assets of the Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland, College Park are:

  • Proximity to Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Annapolis, three cities that provide a wealth of topics for applied and theoretical urban planning and design research.
  • The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. The University of Maryland has created The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education as a cooperative venture of four of its schools (Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Public Policy; Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Engineering). The Center undertakes a broad range of research in growth, development, redevelopment and smart growth issues.
  • Maryland's leadership in the Smart Growth arena. Maryland's legislation serves as a national model for land planning and growth management. Under the leadership of then Governor Paris Glendening, the State of Maryland aggressively implemented dozens of innovative programs aimed at guiding metropolitan growth, land preservation and transportation planning in Maryland's future.
  • The integration of planning and design coupled with programs in historic preservation and real estate development. With all four programs in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the University of Maryland's Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design takes a uniquely comprehensive and holistic approach to the social, economic, and design aspects of urban environments.
  • A nationally-known faculty, with specializations in urban form and growth management, social planning, land use planning, urban design, real estate development and international planning.  

Area Resources

The program's location in College Park provides access to the rich assortment of national and international organizations in Washington, DC. Examples of U.S. governmental offices at the national level include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Main Street Program. Examples of international agencies that provide students with research materials and access to professionals in the field of international development include the World Bank and the Agency for International Development. Washington, DC is home to the headquarters of many non-profits, community based organizations, and private consulting firms.


Baltimore provides Ph.D. students with proximity to a major historic industrial U.S. city. Baltimore is nationally recognized for its innovation and success in expanding the local economy from a manufacturing base to a service-oriented economy. Baltimore is also home to many state agencies responsible for statewide planning efforts, such as the Maryland Department of Planning and the Maryland Department of the Environment.


Annapolis, the state capital, offers learning opportunities with its historic downtown and its leadership in "Smart Growth" planning efforts.

Contact Information


For more information, contact:


Casey Dawkins

Associate Professor

Director, Urban Studies and Planning & PhD Programs