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City and Regional Planning

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

School: Architecture

City and regional planning students at the Knowlton School are out-of-the-box thinkers who love cities, towns and regions. They are tomorrow’s innovators who care about the quality of life for everyone. They are interested in developing economies at all scales, providing affordable housing, promoting green energy, preserving threatened land, building great public transit, and developing sustainable cities and regions.

Great planning creates communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. Planning helps communities envision their future and find the right balance of new development, essential services, environmental protection and innovative change. Planning can take a variety of forms, including policy recommendations, community action plans, regulatory and incentive strategies, historic preservation plans, redevelopment plans, smart growth strategies, economic development strategic plans, site plans, urban design plans, and disaster-preparedness plans.

Upon admission to the university, both new first-year and transfer students interested in city and regional planning are directly admitted to the major. No prior experience or portfolio is required. Current Ohio State students should schedule an advising appointment to discuss the city and regional planning major.

To explore the city and regional planning program prior to declaring the major, students can enroll in CRPLAN 2110: Creating Innovative Cities and Regions or CRPLAN 3550: The Socially Just City.

The city and regional planning curriculum helps students develop professional competency in the art and science of planning, design, plan implementation, communication, history/theory and professional practice. The program emphasizes practical application of both traditional and evolving knowledge and skills as the foundation for professional competence and individualized enrichment. 

The first two years of the city and regional planning program provide the foundation for the communication and analytic skills needed for professional practice. Students complete many general education requirements at this time.

By the time students start their third year, they have a strong background in resilience and sustainability in planning, participatory citizen processes, and urban design. During the last two years of the program, students complete two studio courses with a real-world client, create a professional portfolio and complete a course on professional skills development.

Graduates of the program are able to creatively combine planning principles, social and environmental consciousness, and communication to address people’s relationship to their community.

Students are encouraged to participate in a Knowlton-led education abroad program during their time as a student. Knowlton programs are traditionally offered during academic breaks, allowing for the greatest flexibility and participation. Recent programs include China, Chile, Italy, Peru, Taiwan and tours of multiple European countries, with a focus on topics such as sustainable urban planning practices, issues of mass transportation and transit-oriented development, and related themes of architecture and landscape architecture.

Students may apply for one of the Knowlton School’s Architecture Research Travel Awards (ARTA) in order to pursue independent travel and research abroad.

Learn more about study abroad opportunities.

City and regional planning students can participate in an internship program in partnership with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission that places students in communities throughout central Ohio to work on a particular project for the summer after the junior year and gain valuable experience for a career in planning.

Students may also pursue internship experiences with local municipalities, county or state planning offices, and nonprofit or advocacy organizations such as One Columbus and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Students are encouraged to find internships through Knowlton School career events and participate in the Knowlton School's mentor program that connects students with professionals.

Students can join the City and Regional Planning Student Association (CRPSA) for social and professional development opportunities.

SERVitecture links students with design-based service experiences such as Habitat for Humanity. SERVitecture’s annual Fashion Schau is a highlight for students of all majors.

The Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning is a professional degree and is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. Graduates are eligible to sit for certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners after three years of professional work experience. Graduates are also prepared to pursue a master’s degree in city and regional planning or a related discipline and are competitive for admission to national and international graduate programs.

Ohio State graduates of the city and regional planning program have been successful in finding positions throughout Ohio and across the country, including Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Orlando, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

Professional planners create a broad vision for the community. They also research, design and develop programs; lead public processes; effect social change; perform technical analyses; manage; and educate. Some planners focus on just some of these roles, such as transportation planning, but most will work at many kinds of planning throughout their careers. Planners work in every state and around the world. They work in rural and suburban areas and large cities. They work in the public sector within federal, state and local governments. They also work in nonprofits and within the private sector in real estate development, planning firms, landscape architecture and architecture firms.

Planners in academic practice teach and conduct research in the professional programs offered by colleges and universities across the country, and they may work professionally in university campus planning offices.

New graduates typically report salaries between $38,000 and $50,000. The median salary for graduates with less than three years of experience is $52,000. The American Planning Association (APA) reports a median annual salary of $79,000 (2018). Partners in firms and planning directors may earn considerably more, often exceeding $100,000.