In the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning .
Undergraduate Study in Urban and Regional Studies
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
The program in Urban and Regional Studies (URS) is a four-year academic program aimed at assessing the problems of human communities and regions. URS courses ask how social and economic forces have changed cities; what these changes mean for people in their daily lives; and how citizens, community groups, and planners can work together to make productive, safe, lively, and livable places. Graduates from the program receive a bachelor of science degree.
URS Degree Requirements
URS requirements for graduation include:
- eight semesters of residence;
- 120 academic credits;
- General Education requirements consisting of writing seminars, qualification in one foreign language, and a series of distribution requirements;
- required courses for the major;
- area requirements for the major;
- free electives; and
- completion of the university physical education and swim test requirements.
a. First-Year Writing Seminars: Two Courses
Information regarding the First-Year Writing Seminar can be found at www.arts.cornell.edu/knight_institute. Advanced Placement credit can be applied toward a maximum of one First-Year Writing Seminar. Students earning a score of 5 on one English literature and English language exam will receive 3 credits which will be applied toward one First-Year Writing Seminar. Students earning a score of 5 on both English literature and English language exams will receive 3 credits toward one First-Year Writing Seminar and 3 credits toward the in/out-of-college elective requirement.
b. Foreign Language: Qualification in One Foreign Language
Qualification in one foreign language can be demonstrated by completing three courses in one foreign language in high school, or by demonstrating advanced standing through the Cornell Advanced Standing Examination (CASE), or by successfully completing a non-introductory foreign language course of 3 or more credits at the 2000 level or above, or by successfully completing any other non-introductory course at the 2000 level or above conducted in a foreign language, or by successfully completing 11 credits of study in a single foreign language.
Students whose speaking, reading, and writing competence in a language other than English is at the same level we would expect our entering freshmen to have in English (as shown by completing high school in that language or by special examination during their first year at Cornell) are exempt from the college’s language requirement.
c. Distribution Requirements: Nine Courses outside of CRP
Students must successfully complete nine courses outside of the Department of City and Regional Planning for the distribution requirement. A total of four courses must be completed in the categories of Physical and Biological Sciences (PBS) and Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (MQR). Of those four courses, at least two must be classified as PBS and at least one course must be classified as MQR. The fourth course can be classified as either PBS or MQR. The remaining five courses must be courses identified by the College of Arts and Sciences in the categories of Cultural Analysis (CA-AS), Historical Analysis (HA-AS), Knowledge, Cognition, and Moral Reasoning (KCM-AS), Literature and the Arts (LA-AS), and Social and Behavior Analysis (SBA-AS). These five courses must be selected from at least four of these five categories (i.e., CA, HA, KCM, LA, and SBA). No more than three of these five courses can be taken in any one department. URS students may petition to substitute equivalent courses from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, School of Hotel Administration, College of Human Ecology, and School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and the departments of Architecture and Art in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP).
2. Required Courses for the Major: Eight Courses
One course from the following list of microeconomics courses (fall or spring, 3 or 4 credits)
One course from the following list of statistics courses (fall or spring, 3 or 4 credits)
3. Area Requirements: Five CRP Courses
The program requires that students take courses in five areas:Design; Urban History, Society, and Politics; Land Use and the Environment; Regional Development and Globalization; and Planning Methods. Please note that offerings vary by semester and year. Please refer to the department for an up-to-date listing of course offerings each semester.
a. Design (one course from designated list of courses):
Students understand the development of cities/suburbs, and regions in terms of aesthetic perspectives (both historically and in the present) and other parameters of physical design.
b. Urban History, Society, and Politics (one course from designated list of courses):
Students examine the growth, development, and character of today’s cities/suburbs and metropolitan areas and their resident populations, in light of a complicated and constantly evolving interplay of historical forces, social and economic concerns, and political constituencies, ideas, and choices.
c. Land Use and the Environment (one course from designated list of courses):
Students become aware of the patterns of human use of land that have shaped and continue to shape the physical, social, ecological, and economic character of cities/suburbs and regions and of the past, present, and future influence of the natural environment (including both living and nonliving elements) as modified by humans, in shaping (and in many instances substantially limiting) the growth and development of these areas.
d. Regional Development and Globalization (one course from designated list of courses):
Students learn to recognize how the economic health and general well-being of particular cities/suburbs and regions, and their inhabitants, is dramatically influenced by far-flung social and economic forces whose impacts are felt throughout whole regions, nations, and even the world at large.
- CRP 3011 - Ethics, Development, and Globalization
- CRP 3854 - Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization
- CRP 4120 - Devolution, Privatization, and the New Public Management (crosslisted)
- CRP 4170 - Economic Development: Firms, Industries, and Regions
- ANTHR 4437 - [Anthropology of Development]
- DSOC 2020 - Perspectives on International Agriculture and Rural Development (crosslisted)
- DSOC 2050 - International Development (crosslisted)
- DSOC 3010 - Theories of Society and Development
- DSOC 3200 - Rethinking Global Development: New Frameworks for Understanding Poverty, Inequality & Growth in 21C
- DSOC 3700 - Comparative Social Inequalities (crosslisted)
- ECON 4560 (formerly 3710) - Development Economics
- ILRIC 2350 - Work, Labor, and Capital in the Global Economy
- ILRIC 4313 - Labor, the Environment and Climate Change
- NS 2600 - Introduction to Global Health
- CU in Rome: European Cities
e. Planning Methods (one course from designated list of courses):
Students gain knowledge and skills needed to analyze a broad range of phenomena pertaining to the growth of cities, suburbs, and regions and assess the well-being of their inhabitants. Planning methods include approaches to both quantitative and qualitative reasoning, use of geographical information systems, and use of other relevant software packages.
4. Free Electives
Free electives include credit from any successfully completed academic course offered by any department at Cornell. Free electives can be completed for a letter grade or S/U. Please refer to the AAP policy on non-academic credit for a list of excluded courses.
Rules Governing the URS Program
URS students are expected to comply with college and program rules. Any deviation must be petitioned prior to the act. Failure to complete with department rules may result in review by the college Academic Review Committee.
URS Course Requirements
- Students may not use any one course to meet more than one specific requirement (i.e., if a student takes a statistics course to meet the MQR distribution requirement, that same statistics course may not be used to meet the statistics requirement).
- For courses that satisfy any specific requirement (i.e., General Education, Distribution Requirements, CRP required courses, and Area Requirements), the course must be completed with a letter grade, unless a particular course if offered exclusively under the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading basis (SX/UX).
- Students may not satisfy any General Education, Distribution, or Area Requirement with a course completed for fewer than 3 credits.
- Students must fulfill at least 3 of the 5 Area Requirements with CRP courses.
Advanced Placement Credit
Advanced placement credit refers to college credit that students earn before they enter Cornell. Advanced placement credit may be earned from Advanced Placement (AP), General Certification of Education Advanced Level (“A” Level), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cornell department (CASE) examinations. Its primary purpose is to exempt students from introductory courses and to place them in advanced courses. Its value is that it allows students to include more advanced courses in their course of study.
Advanced placement credit is applied as free elective credit only, with the exception of one First-Year Writing Seminar. URS students may not apply advanced placement credit to general education requirements in: (1) sciences (PBS); (2) mathematics/quantitative reasoning (MQR); (3) cultural analysis (CA); (4) historical analysis (HA); (5) knowledge, cognition, and moral reasoning (KCM); (6) literature and the arts(LA); and (7) social and behavioral analysis (SBA).
Please refer to the Advanced Placement section of this catalog for additional university guidelines regarding AP credit.
The general college transfer credit policies apply to all transfer coursework, in addition to the URS-specific processes and policies below.
Transfer Credit Review Process
All transfer credit is evaluated by the designated Cornell faculty member in the appropriate subject area. To apply transfer course work toward distribution requirements and free electives, an approved AAP Transfer Credit Request form and a sealed official transcript are required. To apply transfer course work toward microeconomics, statistics, or area requirements, an approved Course Equivalency Form and a sealed official transcript are required. All requests require submission of supporting documentation, including course descriptions, syllabi, and/or portfolio. All approved forms and official transcripts should be submitted to the AAP Registrar’s Office, 235 Sibley Dome, Ithaca, NY 14853.
Additional Information for Transfer Students
To ensure a timely transfer of credit, incoming transfer students are required to submit course equivalency requests immediately upon acceptance. Students should also meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the AAP Registrar during orientation to review how their credits are applied toward the Cornell degree and for course enrollment planning.
Students who transfer into the URS program must successfully complete:
- a minimum of four semesters in residence;
- a minimum of 60 academic credits at Cornell; and
- 16 of the 60 credits must include the six required CRP courses for the major (CRP 1100 , CRP 1101 , CRP 1106 , CRP 2000 , CRP 2010 , and CRP 3210 ).*
*CRP 1100 , CRP 1101 , CRP 1106 , CRP 2000 , CRP 2010 , and CRP 3210 cannot be satisfied with transfer credit.
Deviating from Curriculum, Policies, or Procedures
Students wishing to enroll in fewer than 12 or more than 20 credit hours, seek a substitution for a specific graduation requirement, or deviate from any college or department policy must petition the department for permission. Petition forms are available in the AAP Registrar’s Office, 235 Sibley Dome. Petitions must be submitted prior to the act. Further, students wishing to take more than the standard number of credit hours should have a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 or better. Petitions should be submitted only if there are clearly extraordinary circumstances that merit special consideration. In order for a petition to be approved, circumstances must be extenuating. Once submitted and acted upon, petitions can only be reversed by subsequent petition.
Appeals. A student has ten days from the time of the petitions decision to appeal the decision in writing. Appeals should be submitted directly to the Department of City and Regional Planning for review and vote by the full tenure/tenure-track faculty. The faculty decision on the appeal is final. No further appeals will be considered.
Concurrent Degree Option
The five-year concurrent degree option allows students to earn a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies as well as a bachelor of arts (B.A.) from Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, or a B.S. from Cornell’s College of Engineering or College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Students usually apply to the concurrent degree option during their second year. Once admitted, they are assigned an adviser in each college to assist with course planning and graduation requirements. Concurrent degree candidates must satisfy all requirements for both degrees and a minimum of 150 academic credits.
Off-Campus Study Opportunities
In addition to on-campus studies, URS students are encouraged to take advantage of the university’s resources for international research and education. Most URS students choose to participate in AAP’s semester-long Cornell in Rome program, usually during the spring semester of junior year. Other URS students participate in semester-long Cornell Abroad and/or Cornell in Washington programs.
Cornell in Rome
The urban studies component of Cornell in Rome is offered during the spring semester for students interested in the economic, political, cultural, and social life of contemporary European cities and regions.
URS students in their third or fourth year of the program are eligible to participate in Cornell in Rome. Students are admitted to the program by application and review of their record. Application is made by November 1 of the preceding year to the Cornell in Rome program office. For additional information, visit the Cornell in Rome website at www.aap.cornell.edu/rome.
Students are required to enroll in CRP 4160 - Rome Workshop , a 6-credit field research course that defines the semester. It requires students to spend about 20 hours per week in assigned peripheral neighborhoods exploring such issues as public space, urban design, social housing, infrastructure services, immigrant integration, tourism, historic preservation, and economic development challenges. Additionally, students typically enroll in courses in art history, architecture history, photography, contemporary art, and Italian, along with architecture, art, and visiting students.
CRP 4160 - Rome Workshop counts toward the planning methods URS area requirement. URS students may fulfill up to four area requirements in Rome and/or in-college electives and a language requirement.
URS offers qualified students the opportunity to write an honors thesis. To qualify for honors, students must at least have completed the junior year, completed four semesters registered in URS, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.500, have a minimum GPA of 3.700 in the major (including the microeconomics and statistics requirements), and have completed at least seven of the 13 major courses. In exceptional cases, the faculty will consider a petition to waive a requirement. Once admitted, an honors student selects a faculty adviser and develops and writes a thesis with close guidance. Theses must be 75 or fewer pages.
One-Year M.R.P. Option
URS seniors may also apply to earn a Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.). If admitted to this highly selective program, they can complete the program in one academic year plus a summer rather than the usual two years required for the M.R.P. degree. AAP alumni with a B.S. URS may also apply to this program.
The two-year M.R.P. degree includes a required core curriculum, and a distribution of elective courses to achieve breadth in the field of planning. The one-year M.R.P. option for selected URS graduates recognizes that those students have completed course requirements that provide substantial depth.
To complete the one-year M.R.P. degree, a student must:
- Complete 30 credits — at least 15 of these credits must be obtained within the Department of City and Regional Planning, this includes credits earned in fulfilling the M.R.P. core requirements
- Complete two semesters in residence at Cornell
- Complete an exit project (thesis, professional report, or research paper)
For information on admissions requirements and how to apply, contact the Department of City and Regional Planning office.
Urban Studies Minor (non-URS majors)
The Urban and Regional Studies (URS) minor has been formulated specifically for those students not enrolled in the Program of Urban and Regional Studies who are interested in complementing their current academic program with an introduction to various facets of urban studies (domestic, environmental, international, professional, urban affairs).
To complete the Urban and Regional Studies minor, students must take at least six courses (minimum total of 18 credits) in the Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP). Courses must be completed with letter grade of C or better.
Specific Course Requirements for the Minor
1. 9 credits of required core courses:
- CRP 1100
- CRP 1101
- CRP 2000
2. 9 credits of elective CRP courses at the 3000-level or higher.
Upon completion of course requirements, students complete a URS minor application form, available in 106 W. Sibley Hall. The URS program director (who also serves as URS minor adviser) verifies completion of the minor, signs the form, and notifies the student’s home college. The home college will record completion of the URS minor on the student’s transcript.
Graduate Study in City and Regional Planning
There are seven graduate degree programs in the city and regional planning department. The master of regional planning program (M.R.P.) stresses skills basic to professional planning practice and responds to individual needs and interests. The faculty strongly recommends that students concentrate in one of three areas of planning. The land use and environmental planning concentration focuses on the forces and actions that directly affect the physical character, transformation, rehabilitation, and preservation of cities and regions; economic development planning: communities and regions focuses on the economies of neighborhoods, cities, and regions with the intent of producing more informed and effective economic development policy; and international studies in planning (ISP) focuses on urban, regional, and international development processes and their implications for people’s lives and livelihoods in diverse international contexts. Detailed M.R.P. degree requirements follow in this catalog.
The master of professional studies (M.P.S.) in real estate is at once comprehensive, specialized, and flexible. A comprehensive required core insures that students understand real estate from the variety of perspectives—developer, owner, investor, financier, operator, and user—and from the discipline foundations – architecture, construction management, development, finance, investment and deal structuring, law, transactions, property management, urban economics and planning—that apply in the industry. The result is broad, professionally-educated graduates equipped to provide leadership across the real estate industry. Additional information regarding the M.P.S. in real estate is available in this catalog and on the Baker Program in Real Estate website.
The 60-credit master of arts (M.A.) in historic preservation planning prepares students for professional work in the creative preservation and use of our physical heritage.
The master of science (M.S.) or master of arts (M.A.) degree in regional science is the study of regional economies and their interactions with each other. Central issues include capital flows, trade, location of economic activity, growth, and regional conflicts. Graduates are positioned for careers as researchers and policy analysts at the highest levels in national governments, corporations, and international organizations.
The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) program is for those who seek advanced, specialized education for a career in teaching, research, or policy making.
For more information regarding the M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. programs in the city and regional planning department, please refer to the department webpage.
Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)
M.R.P. Degree Requirements
To complete the M.R.P. degree, a student must:
- Complete 60 credits; at least 30 of these credits must be obtained within the Department of City and Regional Planning, including credits earned in fulfilling and completing the thesis, professional report or research paper, and the M.R.P. core requirements;
- Accumulate four registration units (one registration unit is obtained each semester);
- Have two committee members on file by the end of the first year; and
- Complete the independent writing requirement by submitting an acceptable thesis, professional report or research paper (two bound copies submitted to the Graduate Field Coordinator).
M.R.P.–Core Course Curriculum
Following are the lists of courses required to complete a typical two-year M.R.P. degree. M.R.P. students should consult with a department adviser for a complete list of courses that can be applied toward requirements 3 through 7 below.
1. Required Courses for M.R.P.:
2. Demonstrated competence in economics, or successful completion of an economics course at Cornell
3. Demonstrated competence in statistics, or successful completion of a statistics course at Cornell
4. Successful completion of an Advanced Methods course
- Approved CRP courses include:
- A complete listing of approved advanced methods courses, including courses outside of CRP, is available from the department.
5. Successful completion of a Law or International Institutions course
6. Successful completion of a Workshop
Every year, the department offers workshops in land use, community and economic development, international planning, historic preservation planning, real estate, and urban design. Offerings will vary. Selected workshops/studios outside the department have been accepted for credit.
7. Successful completion of an Exit Project - CRP 8920 - Masters Thesis, Project, or Research Paper (credits vary based on option)
- A research paper (up to 4 credits),
- A professional report (4-10 credits), or
- A thesis (up to 10 credits).
Two bound copies must be submitted to the Graduate Field Coordinator before the thesis degree deadline.
Guidelines for M.R.P. Work:
- No grade below C– is acceptable for meeting the 60 credit hour requirement. No grade below the C level will meet a core requirement.
- No more than six hours of grades of C–, C, or C+ will be accepted for meeting the 60 credit hour requirement. Partial credit from a course could be used in calculating this six-hour maximum; e.g., if a student received “C” in two 4-credit courses, only 6 of the 8 credits may count toward the degree.
- A cumulative grade point average of B (3.000) is required for graduation.
- Courses not related in some way to the student’s degree will not be counted in the 60 credits. Examples include, Wine Tasting, Culinary Arts, English as a Second Language, Dance, and Physical Education.
- Incomplete coursework must be completed by the beginning of that semester one-year hence.
Baker Program in Real Estate
The two-year master of professional studies in real estate (M.P.S./RE) degree program is a multidisciplinary program that combines courses from nearly every college at Cornell University. The degree is designed for real estate professionals who are in the early stages of their careers. The Baker Program in Real Estate at Cornell University is home to the graduate program in real estate as well as the Cornell Real Estate Council, which is the center point of academic and industry-related real estate activities on and off campus. The real estate field faculty is composed of 19 faculty members from six different colleges who are directly involved in and responsible for the design, delivery, and administration of the real estate curriculum.
The professional study of real estate is concerned with the design, development, finance, law, management, marketing, transactions, deal structuring, and many other aspects of the real estate business. Real estate professionals also contribute an understanding of the long-range social, political, ethical, and environmental implications of decisions about real estate. The 62 credit hours of course work and summer internship required to earn the degree provide a comprehensive and practical foundation for professional careers in real estate.
Students complete core courses in real estate principles, the development process, finance and investments, communications, managerial finance, residential development, law, construction planning and operations, design, transactions and deal structuring, and marketing and management, along with a weekly distinguished speaker series. Twenty-three elective credits of coursework are taken to fulfill the concentration and leadership and management requirements. Many concentration options are possible and may be structured from the hundreds of graduate courses taught throughout the colleges of Cornell University. Areas of concentration include development, finance, investments, real estate consulting, sustainable development, property and asset management, real estate marketing and market analysis, international real estate concentrations, and others. Students complete real-world, semester-long project workshops during their second and fourth semesters.
Additional information is available online at baker.realestate.cornell.edu.