Program: Urban Planning, Graduate Credit Certificate


Graduate Credit Certificate in Urban Planning

For the first time in human history, more than half of the world’s population is living in cities. According to the World Health Organization, this trend will continue over the next forty years, with the world’s urban population increasing from seven billion in 2013 to nine billion in 2050.

While growing cities add trillions of dollars to the global economy through consumption and investment, they also bring enormous challenges in managing resources, creating infrastructure and ensuring sustainability. Now more than ever, public administrators and those who desire careers in this field need advanced professional education that will enable them to meet these challenges through critical thinking, informed judgment and the ability to persuade and lead others effectively.

Offered in collaboration with the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the 15-unit Urban Studies and Planning (URBS) graduate certificate – which is embedded as an option in CSUN’s two-year MPA program – is designed to meet the advanced professional education goals of the following types of students:

  • Those who are currently working in – and/or aim to become more effective in – municipal government, environmental planning, urban planning and design, economic development planning, social welfare, public administration and law;
  • CSUN Urban Studies and Planning graduates who wish to continue in their studies in this field;
  • Current or incoming MPA students who may wish to broaden their professional focus; and
  • Others interested in entering this exciting and rewarding field.

Benefits of the URBS graduate-certificate program – taught on the CSUN campus – include the following:

  • An appreciation of the field of urban planning in the United States and the forces that drive not only urban development but also urban blight and decay;
  • Training in analyzing, creating, improving and implementing effective public policy, programs and services in a diverse urban context;
  • Excellent preparation for working in planning departments, planning and engineering consulting firms, public agencies, nonprofit community development agencies or related businesses;
  • A sound grasp of the key issues, special challenges and opportunities faced by public-sector administrators, together with the knowledge needed to develop appropriate responses and solutions; and
  • An understanding – gained through field work and assignments – of how to operate effectively in California’s unique planning environment, which was created by statewide legislation (e.g., the General Plan, CEQA, AB 32, SB 375, etc.).

To learn about Urban Studies and Planning option within the Master of Public Administration degree, please visit MPA Urban Studies and Planning option page.

This program is administered through the The Tseng College. It is entirely funded by student fees, offered in the cohort format and features evening and weekend course schedules.

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the program, an applicant must:

  • Have a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree from an accredited university;
  • Have been in good academic standing at the last educational institution attended;
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or greater in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units attempted;
  • Have at least one year of professional, related experience;
  • In addition, students with degrees from universities outside the United States seeking a graduate certificate must submit evidence of passing the TOEFL examination with a score of 85 (ibt) or greater.

Completion Requirements

To complete the certificate program, the student must:

  • Complete all five courses;
  • Complete all requirements for each course, which may include examinations or field experience assignments;
  • Maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 in the program.

Course List (5 courses, 15 units)

The five courses that comprise this graduate certificate are:

URBS 610 Contemporary Urban Planning in the United States and California (3)
URBS 620 Seminar in Comprehensive Planning (3)
URBS 630 Sustainable Development and Environmental Impact Analysis (3)
URBS 640 Seminar in Planning for Communities and Local Economic Development (3)
URBS 690 Field Project in Urban Planning (3)


Chair: Robert B. Kent
Sierra Hall (SH) 220
(818) 677-2904