Most urban planners have a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program. Many programs accept students with a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds. Many people who enter master's degree programs have a bachelor's degree in economics, geography, political science, or environmental design. Although most master’s programs have a similar core curriculum, they often differ in the courses they offer and the issues on which they focus. For example, programs located in agricultural states may focus on rural planning and programs located in an area with high population density may focus on urban revitalization.

Most master's programs include considerable time in seminars, workshops, and laboratory courses, in which students learn to analyze and solve planning problems. Some planners have a background in a related field, such as public administration, architecture, or landscape architecture.

What are Urban Planners like?


Based on our pool of users, urban planners tend to be predominately artistic people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Urban Planners by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 471 Sokanu users

Are Urban Planners happy?


Urban planners rank as moderately happy among careers. Overall they rank in the 47th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Urban Planner Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Urban Planners

The most common degree held by urban planners is Geography. 5% of urban planners had a degree in geography before becoming urban planners. That is over 9 times the average across all careers. Environmental Science graduates are the second most common among urban planners, representing 4% of urban planners in the Sokanu user base, which is 4.2 times the average.

Urban Planner Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming an Urban Planner, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of urban planners % of population Multiple
Geography 5.3% 0.6% 8.8×
Environmental Science 4.4% 1.1% 4.2×
Economics 3.4% 3.8% 0.9×
Political Science 3.4% 2.9% 1.2×
Public Policy 2.7% 0.4% 7.6×
Architecture 2.5% 0.5% 4.9×
Business Management And Administration 2.3% 6.5% 0.4×
History 2.1% 2.2% 1.0×
Public Administration 2.1% 0.4% 4.8×
Fine Arts 1.5% 2.0% 0.8×
Sociology 1.5% 2.1% 0.7×
English Literature 1.3% 4.9% 0.3×
Psychology 1.3% 6.8% 0.2×
Civil Engineering 1.1% 0.4% 2.5×

Urban Planner Education Levels

86% of urban planners have a master's degree. 8% of urban planners have a bachelor's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 0%
Bachelor's degree 8%
Master's degree 86%
Doctorate degree 6%

How to Become an Urban Planner

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