Come here. Plan anywhere. Carolina Planning is one of the most established and well respected planning programs in the country with an alumni network that spans the globe. Our faculty members, world-class scholars leading cutting-edge research, are redefining the field of planning. And our international student body brings diverse skills and experiences to the classroom, where the low student to faculty ratio allows for high engagement and collaboration.
- a two-year professional Master’s degree,
- unique dual degree programs that allow students to become proficient in multiple fields, and
- a PhD program.
Other program highlights:
- Carolina Planning is ranked #3 among Urban and Regional Planning Graduate Programs in the United States.
- Carolina Planning offers dual-degree programs in Business, Public Health, Law, Public Administration, Landscape Architecture, and Environmental Sciences.
- As part of the College of Arts and Sciences, Carolina Planning students have access to interdisciplinary courses across the university.
- Carolina Planning students work with several affiliated institutes, such as the Center for Community Capital, Center for Urban and Regional Studies, Coastal Resilience Center, Development Finance Initiative, and Institute for the Environment.
- We are a PAB-accredited program that upholds the highest standards in planning education.
- UNC-Chapel Hill has been ranked #1 by Kiplinger.com for ten consecutive years as the best value in public higher education.
Chapel Hill is part of the rapidly growing Research Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) and offers a high quality of life at an affordable price. The region routinely scores as one of the top 10 best places to live in the U.S. according to U.S. News and World Report.
Meet Our Students
Meet Our Alumni
Costs & Funding
Of the top five U.S. planning schools, Carolina Planning has the highest percentage of students who receive funding and the lowest in-state and out-of-state tuition. Plus, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is more affordable than regions with comparable programs.
- in-state tuition and fees = $11,929
- out-of-state tuition and fees = $29,140.
As a part of the nation’s oldest public university, Carolina Planning has a deep commitment to high-quality education at an affordable price. All admitted applicants are considered for departmental, merit-based funding. Those who apply by the December deadline are also considered for Graduate School funding awards.
All students are eligible to apply for federal student loans through UNC’s Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Other funding opportunities based on merit, work, diversity, and need are open to students after their first semester on campus. For more information on tuition and fees, contact the Cashier’s office.
Students who care about communities. If you…
- want safer and greener transportation networks.
- want to protect communities from the impacts of climate change.
- want to learn how to create equitable economic growth and provide affordable housing.
- want to shape the future of cities and regions by creating beautiful, sustainable, vibrant, and equitable communities.
Then you belong at Carolina Planning. As a Carolina Planning student, you will be part of a 70-year tradition of training the leading practitioners and academics in the world who are solving these challenges.
Admission to the Graduate School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Carolina Planning is highly selective for both the Master’s and PhD programs. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
We want applicants with a clear understanding of the urban planning field; exceptional and relevant leadership; work, volunteer, academic or life experiences; and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. As part of the nation’s oldest public university, Carolina Planning has a strong commitment to accessibility and providing opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the planning profession. We believe the more reflective of society’s diversity the department is, the better we are.
All application materials should be submitted directly to The Graduate School’s admission portal.
A complete application includes:
- A completed application for admission to The Graduate School
- A supplemental questionnaire
- GRE scores
- Unofficial transcripts (official transcripts will be required if offered admission)
- Statement of Purpose
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Curriculum Vita
- $87.50 application fee
- TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants only)
- Financial certification (international applicants only)
The admission committees consider all credentials submitted as part of the application holistically. No single factor is regarded as qualifying or disqualifying. Factors considered in the review of all applications include: grades and academic transcript(s), GRE scores, references, strength of courses and undergraduate institution(s), professional work experience(s), and the Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose should demonstrate comprehension of and commitment to the planning field.
The admission committees consider all credentials submitted as part of the application holistically. No single factor is regarded as qualifying or disqualifying. Factors considered in the review of all applications include: grades and academic transcript(s), GRE scores, references, strength of courses and undergraduate institution(s), professional work experience(s), and personal statement. The personal statement should demonstrate comprehension of and commitment to the planning field. For PhD applicants, the fit with faculty research interests is important.
Visit us! We welcome applicants to visit the department on a rolling basis from August to March. Visitors are invited to sit in on a class and meet with current students or faculty. To ensure that we can accommodate your interests, schedule a visit at least two weeks in advance.
If you cannot visit in person, we will offer two informational webinars geared towards prospective Master’s students this fall:
Friday, October 27 at 12pm EST – Registration available
Friday, November 17 at 4pm EST – Registration available
The department also hosts an admitted students open house in late March. Admitted students who are considering joining the Carolina Planning community are strongly encouraged to attend.
Due to the sequence of courses needed to fulfill our programs’ requirements, the department only accepts admissions applications in the fall for both the Master’s and PhD programs.
Diversity Travel Recruitment
- 50th percentile for both the quantitative and verbal sections.
- GRE scores from within 5 years of application submission will be considered.
- Paper-based test – 550 with a minimum of 50 in each section.
- Internet-based test – a minimum of 90.
The following are the test score averages for the incoming class:
**average scores of most recent incoming class
There is no required or preferred major in order to be accepted to Carolina Planning. The educational and professional backgrounds of applicants cover a wide variety of academic fields, work experiences, ethnic backgrounds, and geographic locations. Among them are architecture, biology, business, economics, engineering, biology, geography, geology, history, landscape architecture, philosophy, planning, political science, psychology, public administration, sociology, and urban studies. However, future career goals in the field are considered, no matter what your background is.
Incoming students will be given a program overview by mid-June. Department staff will register incoming Master’s students for core classes before the beginning of the academic year. All incoming students will meet with their advisor during August orientation and can sign up for additional courses and/or make schedule changes then.