List of Top 10 Colleges for Urban Planning and Development

February 5, 2023

Urban planning and development refer to the organized and systematic approach to designing and managing the physical, social, and economic aspects of cities and urban areas. This field involves the creation of plans and policies that guide the use of land, the design of buildings, and the provision of infrastructure and public services. The goal of urban planning and development is to create liveable and sustainable communities that meet the needs of residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. This involves balancing competing interests and addressing issues such as housing affordability, transportation access, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Urban planners work closely with architects, engineers, developers, and other professionals to ensure that cities and urban areas are developed in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The Urban Planning Master is one of the most common master’s programs among architects and urban planners.

A Master's degree in Urban Planning typically covers a wide range of topics related to the planning, design, and management of urban areas. The curriculum usually includes both theoretical and practical components, allowing students to develop a deep understanding of urban planning concepts and the skills necessary to apply them in real-world settings. Some common courses in a Master's in Urban Planning program include:

  1. Urban Design: This course covers the principles and practices of urban design, including site analysis, building design, and public space creation.
  2. Land Use Planning: This course focuses on the development and implementation of land use policies and plans, including zoning, comprehensive planning, and growth management.
  3. Transportation Planning: This course examines the planning, design, and operation of transportation systems in urban areas, including highways, public transit, and non-motorized transportation.
  4. Housing and Community Development: This course explores the planning and development of housing and communities, including affordable housing, community revitalization, and urban renewal.
  5. Environmental Planning: This course focuses on the role of planning in addressing environmental issues, including sustainability, climate change, and environmental justice.
  6. GIS and Urban Analysis: This course teaches students how to use geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze and visualize urban data.
  7. Urban Economics: This course covers the economic principles and practices that shape urban development, including real estate markets, economic development, and public finance.

In addition to these core courses, many Masters programs in Urban Planning programs also offer opportunities for students to engage in real-world planning projects, participate in research, and interact with professional planners and other experts in the field. They provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as urban planners and to make a positive impact in the communities they serve. If you are looking to study at any of the world’s top universities for urban planning and development then to speaking to a study consultant is imperative.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Rankings, Fees, Courses, Admission 2023, Scholarships


The Top 10 colleges for Master’s in urban planning in the world are as following;-

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, United States 

The Master of Science (MS) in Urban Planning program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a highly regarded and selective program designed to prepare students for careers as urban planners and leaders in the field of urban development. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach, combining elements of architecture, engineering, economics, and social sciences to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of urban planning and development.

  1. Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in Delft, Netherlands, is a leading technical university known for its excellence in engineering, technology, and the natural sciences.

TU Delft also offers a Master of Science in Urbanism program, which is part of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. It provides students with a comprehensive education in urban planning and design, with a focus on innovative and sustainable solutions for the development of cities and urban areas.

  1. UCL, London, UK

The MS in Urban Planning program at University College London (UCL) in London, UK is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to understand the complexities of urban environments and to plan and manage urban development in a sustainable and equitable manner.

  1. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

The MS in Urban Planning program at ETH Zurich is a master's degree program that prepares students to address the complex challenges of urbanization. The program focuses on the technical, social, and political aspects of urban planning, providing students with the tools and knowledge necessary to design and manage sustainable and liveable cities.

  1. Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Master of Science in Urban Planning program at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the planning processes, tools, and strategies to develop and improve urban and regional environments. The program at Harvard GSD is highly competitive, and admission is limited to a select number of students each year.

  1. University of California, Berkley (UCB)    

The MS in Urban Planning program at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) is a master's degree program covers topics such as urban design, transportation planning, housing policy, and environmental planning, among others. UC Berkeley is known for its rigorous academic program and its commitment to sustainability and social justice, and the MS in Urban Planning program reflects these values.

  1. Politecnico di Milano Milan, Italy

The Master of Science in Urban Planning at Politecnico di Milano in Milan provides advanced training in the field of urban planning, including urban design, urban development, urban governance, and urban regeneration. It consists of two years of coursework, including core courses in the principles of urban planning, urban design, urban economy, urban geography, urban sociology, urban governance and urban regeneration. The program also includes a wide range of seminar-style courses and field visits to cities in Italy and abroad.

  1. Manchester School of Architecture United Kingdom

The Manchester School of Architecture offers an innovative and comprehensive Master of Science in Urban Planning program. This program provides an advanced education in urban planning, policy, and design. The Manchester School of Architecture offers an innovative and comprehensive and  advance program in urban planning, policy, and design.

  1. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom offers a Master of Science (MSc) in Urban Planning. This two-year postgraduate programme is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful urban planners. The University of Cambridge is a world-renowned institution with a strong tradition in research and scholarship, and the MS in Urban Planning program is consistently ranked among the top programs in the UK and Europe.

  1. EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland

The MS in Urban Planning program at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a master's degree program designed for individuals with a background in planning or related fields, as well as for those with an interest in the built environment who wish to gain expertise in urban planning. EPFL is a leading technical university with a strong tradition in innovation and interdisciplinary research, and the program reflects these values.

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