Studyportals placeholder

Urban Planning, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #8 (ARWU) , NY,
As cities continue to evolve, innovative policies and practices are needed so that development is equitable and sustainable. The Urban Planning program at Columbia University offers the knowledge and skills that define an effective urban planner while presenting numerous opportunities to reflect on the role of planning in society and issues of social and global equity.


Building on the extraordinary resources of Columbia University and the City of New York, students learn from a faculty of national and international scholars as well as highly regarded practicing professionals who connect students to current issues and perspectives. 

Throughout the Urban Planning curriculum, the emphasis is on real-world challenges and how planners can improve the lives of urban residents. With the program located in New York City, one of the global centers of international commerce and culture and a city experiencing population growth, the faculty looks to the city's planning issues for studios and classroom examples while also drawing from best practices from around the world.


 Armed with these experiences, our students graduate with the capability to analyze issues, develop plans, and advise policymakers on the growth and development of cities with the intent of making cities more just, more equitable, and more prosperous.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include: 

  • Advanced Planning Theory 
  • Doctor Colloquium
  • Third Landscape: Urbanization in the Amazon 
  • Aesthetics of Decay 
  • UP Elective Internship 
  • Urbanisms and Algorithms 

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

Academic Requirements

  • The applicant must hold a master’s degree in urban planning or in a related discipline and have excellent academic credentials (a grade average of B+ or better). 
  •  In addition, the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 points of undergraduate liberal arts courses in the social sciences, humanities or natural sciences, and the equivalent of the core courses provided in the master’s-level curriculum.

A complete application includes:

  • Transcripts of all previous post-secondary education
  • A statement of academic purpose
  • A curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources
  • GRE scores
  • A sample of scholarly writing, 8-10 pages
  • Payment of the application fee

Tuition Fee

GSAPP is proud to offer several million dollars annually in scholarships for both international and domestic students. 

Living costs for Manhattan

  • 2638 - 5760 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


The Facilities and Security Fund represents an effort by the student councils to streamline and simplify the bulk of recurring required facility rental and security staff costs associated with some student-initiated event programming on Columbia's campus. These two funds shift financial responsibility for these costs to the Councils, reducing the burden on individual students and student groups, but in doing so, also reducing the funds allocated to student groups.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.