A Career Guide for the Urban & Regional Planning Major

Urban and regional planners are concerned with the built environment and its relationships to the natural environment in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Planners prepare plans, programs, and policies that attempt to address our societal needs for housing, shopping, employment, recreation, leisure, and worship. They generally work on a larger geographic scale than architects and landscape architects. They share a common concern for the public good with public administrators, Urban and regional planners and public administrators share a common concern for the public good; however planners tend to have a somewhat more specialized education.

Planners help in preparing maps and plans and in updating zoning regulations, urban design guidelines, housing policies, downtown development programs, and neighborhood revitalization initiatives. They help public officials review plans for new development projects, including retail shops, offices, housing, parks, schools, highways, industrial parks, shopping centers, and amusement facilities. Planners attempt to balance human needs with environmental conditions such as air and water quality, wildlife habitat protection, and preservation of natural resources. They are concerned with good design and the protection of historical buildings, providing jobs and affordable housing, revitalizing older downtowns and waterfronts, and facilitating transportation options. Because the Bachelor's degree in Urban and Region Planning provides a very sound introduction to the workings of local government, planning graduates sometimes choose to secure a position in the office of the city, county manager or commissioner. Many also find employment with land developers, and private sector planning consultants.

The following Interests and Aptitudes/Qualities are associated with or needed for success in the study of this major.

  • Building Neighborhoods, Downtowns, Shopping Facilities
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Working with Community Groups, Public Officials, Builders, and Others
  • Helping to Create a Better Society for All to Live In
  • Serving the Public and Common Good
  • Ability to Work with Citizens with Diverse Interests and Backgrounds
  • Ability to Think Comprehensively about Societal Needs
  • Ability to Think Both Tactically (short-term) and Strategically (long-term)
  • Ability to Speak and Write Effectively '
  • Ability to Work Cooperatively With Other Builders, Architects, Engineers, Public Officials, and Other Interests
  • A Genuine Interest in the Way Our Human Environment Looks and Functions


Students must complete a total of 60 credit hours of upper level courses. 39 hours must be in the core and the remainder in foundation courses and elective courses. A three-hour work experience in planning must be satisfied as well.

Core Courses (39 credits)
Planning and Growth Management
Planning Methods
Planning Implementation Strategies
Urban Development Planning Methods
Planning Design Studio
Planning Practice
Planning Project
URP 3000
URP 4011
URP 4120
URP 4420
URP 4920
URP 4945
URP 4979


Planning graduates work in a wide variety of town, city, and county departments such as:

Planning, Zoning, and Building
Parks and Recreation
Housing and Community Development
Economic Development
Transportation and Parking
Consulting Firms
Environmental Protection and Regulation
Historic Preservation and Regulation
State Government Offices
Not-for-profit Organizations
Real Estate Development

They also work for consulting firms and non-profit organizations dedicated to public purposes.


For information about choosing a career, graduate/professional school, internships or job descriptions,and for career library resources, contact:

Career Development Center
Boca Raton Campus - Student Services Building, Room 220 (SU 220)

Davie Campus - Modular G

Jupiter Campus - SR 110

For information about choosing a major and concentration and degree requirements, contact:

Dr. Jaap Vos
Chair, Urban & Regional Planning
FAU, Campus Tower
(954) 762-5653

The Career Guide series was developed by the Florida Atlantic University Career Development Center, Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Undergraduate Programs, and in cooperation with the College of Urban and Public Affairs.
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