Cheapest Online degrees in Urban Planning


What is Urban Planning

Urban Planning is an inclusive term that refers to everything in a specific environment as “urban planning. ” This covers everything from managing buildings and landscapes to properly securing the provision of air and water.

Urban planning is not a modern world study but has its reference in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Mesopotamian poem from about 2100 BCE. It references the city of Uruk, now in modern Iraq, founded around 4500BC.

The lines in the epic poem are:

One square mile is city, one square mile is orchards, one square mile is claypits, as well as the open ground of Ishtar’s temple. Three square miles and the open ground comprise Uruk.

Hippodamus of Miletus, a fifth-century Greek philosopher whom Aristotle called “the founder of city planning,” may be considered one of history’s earliest planners.

Urban planners are those who practice urban planning and design. Everything must be planned by urban planners, including effective networks for distribution, communication, and transportation.

Who Makes A Good Candidate For Urban Planning Study?

The skillset which makes you an ideal candidate for a student in urban planning is 


Creativity helps you with out-of-the-box thinking and coming out with a new solution to a problem. It helps you to find a new approach to solving a complex task.

2.Design Skills 

Anyone interested in urban planning and design career needs to be extremely precise and artistically talented.

    3. Good at Maths

   A person willing to pursue a course in urban planning is expected to be good with numbers as they have to deal with many calculations, estimations, and budgeting.

    4. Communication Skills

Possessing good communication skills is a must in this field. As an urban planner, you must communicate with your team, workers, superiors, and clients.

Difference between Urban Planning and Urban Design

Urban planners and Urban designers both work to develop cities. Urban planners collaborate closely with public and governmental representatives to plan and carry out new development plans. On the other side, urban designers concentrate on designing stunning architecture and landscapes of public areas. Both make an effort to improve the aesthetics and functionality of cities, but there are some critical distinctions between them that should be noted.

 Urban Planner  Urban designer
DefinitionUrban Planning is the branch of architecture concerned with the design and organization of urban space and activities.Urban design deals with positioning and planning of structures, public areas, the transportation networks, services, and amenities are all aspects of urban design. It is the process of giving a set of buildings and the entire city, form, shape, and personality.
RoleDesign or redesign citiesDesign the features of cities  
FunctionStrategic Planning  Technical design
Deals withUrban planners mainly deal with government bodies and policymakers.Urban designers interact with the end users
Elements of PlanningUrban planning involves master planning, project planning, site planning etc.Urban designing involves designing  public spaces, streets, buildings, etc.

Online Urban Planning Programmes

Many schools offer online programs in Urban Planning ranging from the associate to doctorate level. Unfortunately, an associate’s degree in this field is rare. Also, the employment opportunities with an associate’s degree are few. Aiming for the next level degree would vastly expand the options and, in most cases, result in a higher wage.

ProgramCredits (may vary)Typical Programme Length
Associate Degree60 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree30-60 credits1-2 years
Quick Facts: Urban and Regional Planners
2021 Median Pay$78,500annual
$37.74 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationMaster’s degree
Number of Jobs, 202141,900
Job Outlook, 2021-314% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2021-311,600

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics

Cheapest Online Associate Degrees in Urban Planning

Springfield Technical Community College

Program: Associate in Urban Studies

Tuition: $329 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

This 60-credit program will help you understand historical, cultural, and socio-economic forces that influence the landscape of modern cities and help create change in urban environments. The program will enable the students to address urban policy issues shaping the modern urban landscape.

Cheapest Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Urban Planning

#1 Florida Atlantic University

Program: BS in Sustainability and Environment

Tuition: $228 per credit hour(in state); $345 per credit hour(out of state)

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Ranked #10 in top public universities in Florida. Ranked #2 as the most affordable online college.

The 120-credit bachelor’s program focuses on creating innovative and flexible answers to problems encountered in the real world. The curriculum discusses how individuals interact with their social, natural, and built environments so that students may approach sustainability challenges holistically.The program is designed with the view that we need experts who can comprehend the increasingly complicated environmental issues of natural resource management.

#2 University of North Texas

Program: BA in Urban Policy and Planning

Tuition: $230 per credit hour(in state);$458 per credit hour(out of state)

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Ranked as #7 in top public universities in Texas.

The program is drafted for students seeking opportunities to pursue professional careers in city and regional planning. An essential advantage of the program is its close affiliation with city governments and planning consulting companies within the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Students will be prepared for professional careers in city and regional government, state and federal government, private development, and housing. The coursework includes 33 required courses and 12 additional urban policy and planning credits.

# 3 University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Program: BS in Urban Studies

Tuition$256 per credit hour


Accreditation: Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

This 120-credit degree program will help the students to develop conceptual knowledge and technical skills, which will help them design sustainable, liveable, equitable, and environmentally sound large and small urban communities. You will also research historical and contemporary planning, as well as the different values and ethical standards that affect the practice of planning. 

Graduates of the program will be able to 

· Analyze how people and organizations play different roles in policy and governance.

· Examine whether an organization or community meets multiple conditions of sustainability.

· Apply the knowledge and abilities needed for effective teamwork.

#4 The University of Arizona, Tucson

Program: BS in Urban and Regional Development

Tuition$500 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The University is ranked #7 in the best online bachelor’s program in the nation.

This professionally focused 120-credit degree program teaches you how to analyze data and explore the uneven impacts of urban and regional development. This degree will provide you with the skills to use cartographic and geographic information systems and work in the field and remote-sensing laboratories.

Upon graduation, the students can apply qualitative and quantitative empirical techniques to critically analyze an issue or problem in urban and regional development.

#5 Arizona State University

Program: BS in Urban Planning

Tuition$621 per Credit Hour (both in-state and out-of-state)

Accreditation: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

In this 120-credit hour program, you will acquire essential skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and design. This 40-class program will help you understand theories and practices for creating equitable, healthy, and happy communities. This impactful program will prepare you to design societies and directly impact residents’ quality of life.

The curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Urban Planning
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Statistics for geography &Planning
  • Planning Methods

#6 The University of New Orleans

Program: BS in Urban Studies and Planning

Tuition: $630 per credit hour(in state);$953 per credit hour(out of state)

Accreditation: Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) 

The intense, interdisciplinary degree in urban studies and planning is intended to provide a solid grounding in the principles of cities, urban development, urban planning, urban policy, and related areas. This 120-credit hour program allows you to tailor your degree toward your interests, whether urban transportation, historic preservation, or another area. Furthermore, you will learn how to research urban phenomena and understand their causes under the guidance of  world-class faculty and researchers. After earning your degree in urban studies and planning, you will be prepared to work in the field of urban planning and start changing the world right immediately.

#7 Portland State University

Program: BA/BS in Urban and Public Affairs

Tuition: $720 per credit hour(in-state);$1020 (per credit hour out of state)

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The university ranks at #3 among the top public universities in Oregon

This 180-credit program provides a multi-disciplinary approach and a customizable curriculum through the School of Public Health and the College of Urban and Public Affairs. You’ll gain a foundation in urban issues while looking at topics like politics and criminal justice. The coursework will include the following:

  • Introduction to Urban Planning
  • Introduction to Community Development
  • Introduction to Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • Policing in America

#8 Everglades University

Program: BS in Land and Energy management

Accreditation:  Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) 

Tuition: $800 per credit hour

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Land and Energy Management will help you get an insight into theories, practices, and business knowledge required for students entering practices involved in creating equitable, healthy, and happy communities.

The coursework will include the following:

· Land-Use Planning Regulations

· Oil, Gas and Energy Geopolitics and Law

· Communication and Environmental Justice

· Geographic Information System Data Analysis and Mapping (GIS)

#9 Atlantic International University

Program: BS in Urban Planning

Tuition: $9850(full course fee); when the student has opted to design their curriculum

Accreditation: Accredited by Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities (ASIC).

The program allows students and academic advisors to create each student’s unique program. It focuses on the student’s major and desired field of work’s strengths and weaknesses concerning market prospects. The hallmark of AIU’s distinctive approach to adult education is the understanding that industry and geographic considerations should impact the content of the curriculum instead of a conventional one-fits-all design. This attitude helps students achieve their professional and personal goals within the parameters of the degree program, addressing the dynamic and continuously changing environment of working professionals.

#10 Northern Arizona University

Program: B.S. in Parks and Recreation Management(PRM)

Tuition: $11,160 (Cost of attendance per academic year)

Accreditation: Northern Arizona University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

The Parks and Recreation Management Program is located in the Geography, Planning, and Recreation Department, a unit within the College of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Northern Arizona University. The students are encouraged to schedule a curriculum session with the faculty in the PRM program. The collaborative association helps students extract their degree program’s full flavor.

Talking about the job prospects of a degree in Geography, Planning, and Recreation from Northern Arizona University, students land jobs in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the National Recreation and Parks Association.


Cheapest Online Master’s Degrees in Information Technology

#1 Liberty University

Program: MS in Urban Planning

 Tuition and fees:  $565 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking:  Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #3 in best online colleges in America.

This 36-credit hour program consists of three sections-core courses, urban planning, and thesis or elective courses. The curriculum comprises core courses on public administration, community economic development, and public policy. The urban planning course will study the basics of geographic information systems. If you choose the thesis option, you will have to defend it before a faculty from the Helms School of Government after selecting and getting the topic approved. If you are going for the elective option, you can customize your degree by selecting two graduate-level courses suggested by the Helms School of Government. 

#2 Kansas State University

Program: Master’s in Community Development

Tuition:  $600 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Ranked as #2 in Best Colleges in Kansas.

The study of urban planning equips students with the best methods for social justice in light of economic development, participatory democracy, and sustainable development.18 credits of the 36 credits required for the master’s degree in urban planning are devoted to core courses such as Community and Regional Economic Policy and Analysis, Community and Natural Resource Management, and Foundations of Community Development. GIS and land development planning courses are part of the 18-credit requirement for electives.

#3 Unity College

Program:  Master of Professional Science in Urban Ecology & Sustainable Planning

Tuition: $650 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited institution by New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). 

This program emphasizes environmental and sustainability issues, concentrating on the interaction between wildlife and humans in an urban environment. Students acquire leadership skills needed to tackle the changing environmental issues related to urban ecology and urban planning. The coursework will help you hone your skill to re-conceptualize the built environment as a “living” component of coupled human and natural environments to develop creative solutions for sustainable urban planning.

#4 Iowa State University

Program: Master of Community Development

Tuition: $689 per credit hour 

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ranked as #1 in best value colleges in Iowa. 

This 30-credit program is designed for non-traditional students in which the course can be completed at your own pace or as fast as one year. Unlike many online programs, Iowa state university promotes student participation and ties to a brick-and-mortar university. The curriculum allows you to choose your electives, keeping in mind your career goals. You can choose your elective from a vast pool of topics ranging from economic development, sustainable development, housing, and local leadership development. The capstone project provides an excellent platform to put your knowledge into practice and make contact and references to help you move up in your career upon graduation.

#5 University of Washington

 Program: Master of Infrastructure Planning and Management

 Tuition: $695 per credit hour

 Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). 

Ranked as #1 in Best Colleges in Washington.

This 45-credit course explores displacement, relocation, and resettlement infrastructure from an urban planning viewpoint. The course allows you to explore the types of temporary settlements created in response to relocation drivers, such as climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, and violent conflicts. The capstone project at the end of the degree allows you to implement your learning in a real-life scenario and to develop a network of contacts that will help you in your professional career.

6 Northeastern University

Program: Urban Informatics

Tuition: $817 per credit hour

Accreditation:  Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

his 33-credit-hour program will equip you with advanced skills in accessing, managing, and analyzing complex public, private, and non-profit datasets. Throughout the program, the focus is on the practical application of what is being learned. This innovative program is a unique cross-college initiative that offers comprehensive state-of-the-art training in the core skills of data analytics—including quantitative analysis, data mining, machine learning, and data visualization.

# 7 University of Florida 

Program: Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Tuition: $865 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Further, the degree is fully accredited by Planning Accreditation Board(PAB). Ranked as #6 in top public Universities in America.

The University of Florida’s Department of Urban & Regional Planning aims to equip the next generation of planning professionals with the challenges of managing the existing and planning the future of built and natural environments. This 52 credit hours program boasts of being the first ever online program to earn the certificate of accreditation by PAB. The program gives you the flexibility to customize as per your schedule. The planners passing out of this university develop innovative technologies and planning methods and consistently deliver relevant, quality, inclusive plans, and programs.

 #8 Pennsylvania State University

Program:  Master of Professional Studies in Community & Economic Development

Tuition$ 1007 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

This 30-credit program will empower you with the knowledge you need to navigate effectively through the complexities of communities and community organizations and inspire positive changes on local, regional, and national levels. This program is also suitable if you are new to the community and economic development and wish to learn the subject. A 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic development will help you gain the foundation and explore how to positively influence the quality of life and development in urban neighborhoods, towns, small cities, and rural regions. Also, the credits you earn in this graduate certificate program can be applied Master’s program in Community and Economic Development.

#9 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 Program: Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning

Tuition: $12,515(in state);$30,241(out of state)

 Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Depending on the student’s dedication and pace, the UNC Master of City and Regional Planning program can be completed in 24 months. Fifty-one credits total—four core courses, four specialized courses, one law course, and six electives—must be completed by students.

A capstone workshop and master’s project are required for graduation from this online urban planning program.

#10 University of Southern California

Program: Executive Master of Urban Planning

Tuition: $2137 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) 

This 24-credit hour program is designed for seasoned working professionals and can be completed in as few as 16 months. Students completing this rigorous course will have the ability to:

  • Steer between public and private sector planning goals.
  • Develop enhanced skills in project management, financial analysis, and data visualization to assess the feasibility of urban planning and real estate development projects
  • Examine the financial viability of urban planning and development initiatives.
  • Employ demographic and commercial data to help decision-making lead teams in the sector.

Level of Education

Urban Planners’ jobs require the following level of education. Bachelor’s Degree constitutes a significant percentage of the job requirement. 

Education levelPercentage
Associate’s Degree12
Bachelor’s Degree57
Master’s Degree30
Doctoral Degree1

Source:  North Carolina State University

Source: North Carolina State University

Jobs after a degree in Urban planning

Urban planners usually work for local, regional, state, and federal governments. Although there is considerable demand for planners in rural regions, urban planners typically work in cities. Regular business hours are the norm for urban planners, but they must be available for late or weekend discussions with community members or developers.

Urban planners operate in an office setting on various daily responsibilities, but they are also frequently out in the field. Researching and examining current and upcoming land use plans in a practical situation requires fieldwork. There are many different types of careers that you may pursue after a degree in Urban Planning.

  • Planning Internship
  • Community planner
  • Urban Design consultant
  • Transportation Planner
  • Urban Planner
  • Facilities Planner
  • Environmental Manager
  • Zoning Inspector

How much Salary to expect after a degree in Urban Planning

 As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual Salary for urban and regional planners was $78,500 in May 2021. The below-mentioned bar graph will give more insight into the Salary after a degree in Urban Planning as per the job title. 


Is a degree in Urban Planning Worth it?

One of the most crucial elements of the sustainable growth of cities is urban planning. It addresses a town’s or community’s overall development. Planning and making the most use of the budget are the first steps. The next step is a structured decision-making process that weighs the necessity for more infrastructure against its environmental impact. The many sections of the community are brought together as a whole through effective urban planning. This is part of creating a unified front between the general public and people, the private sector, and municipal governments. With a degree in Urban Planning, you are not only investing in yourself, but you are helping the society around you to improve.

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