City and Regional Planning, Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Program Description

City and regional planning (M.R.P., Ph.D.). Students learn to design, evaluate, and implement policies and programs that affect the social, economic, and physical development of urban and regional areas, including those in the Developing World.

The educational program fosters theoretical and conceptual knowledge relevant to urban and regional studies, and the acquisition of professional skills, including those in critical thinking, oral presentation, writing, statistical analysis and Geographical Information Systems.

The M.R.P. program normally requires four residence units, sixty credits, a set of core courses, and the completion of a satisfactory thesis, professional report, or research paper. At the discretion of the faculty, up to one residence unit and 15 credits may be granted, by petition after matriculation, for graduate work done elsewhere, including Cornell-supervised professional field experience. Doctoral degree candidates often begin in Cornell's Master of Regional Planning program; applications are also welcomed from outside the university.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-4376

235 Sibley Dome
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • city and regional planning
  • economic development planning: communities and regions
  • international studies in planning
  • land use and environmental planning


2017-2018: $29,500

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Jan. 10; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

Applicants to all programs are required to submit recent GRE general test scores. A minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based) is required.

All applicants to the PhD program must have a masters degree. Applicants admitted to the Ph.D. program who do not hold an M.R.P. degree from a recognized program will be expected to exhibit (or gain) basic competence in the masters’s core areas (history, theory, methods) as needed to serve ably as a teaching assistant.

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • two recommendations
  • GRE general test
  • TOEFL or IELTS English proficiency test



Graduate Field of City and Regional Planning

City and regional planning is an interdisciplinary field of study focused on understanding and creating the places where people live and work across the world.  While many of our MRP graduates work in federal, state and local government agencies in the US and other countries, some choose to work for policy institutes, international organizations, advocacy groups, and NGOs in a variety of settings. A small number choose to pursue doctoral degrees in planning or allied fields such as public policy, environmental studies and geography. Our students thus have differing career goals, which is reflected in the construction of our assessment metrics. Our assessment metrics also incorporate the standards and criteria for planning curriculum established by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB).

Learn more about the assessment plan for the PhD in City and Regional Planning