Economic development planners seek to enable communities, larger regions, and states gain and sustain long-term economic health and well-being. The scale and scope of economic development planning varies from the sketching, feasibility analysis, implementation, and evaluation of site-specific projects, to the visioning, articulation, and programming of regional development goals, policies, and strategies. The primary objective of the economic development focus area is to provide students with the knowledge and know-how needed to perform at the cutting edge of economic development practice in this rapidly changing field. We also emphasize providing a solid conceptual and methodological foundation of how and why the economies of communities and regions change.

At Carolina Planning, we emphasize institutional approaches to understanding development processes, in addition to providing rigorous quantitative and qualitative training. The specialization uses North Carolina as a learning laboratory to train  students to become reflective practicioners. Unlike other programs, the faculty take a comparative approach, using developed & developing country examples throughout the courses so students are not segmented into ‘domestic’ or ‘international’ silos.

For more information on the Economic Development specialization, contact Dr. Nichola Lowe.

Career Opportunities

Economic Development at Carolina Planning provides access to hybrid public and non-profit centers within UNC such as the Development Finance Initiative that offers paid internships that provide valuable economic development experience.Graduates are employed by local and state economic development agencies, community development corporations (CDCs) and other nonprofit community-based organizations, quasi-public economic development corporations and authorities, public utility corporations, private businesses engaged in development finance, and private economic and planning consulting firms. A number of our alumni have risen to high, senior positions in both public and private economic development organizations and non-profit agencies.

Requirements

The following courses are required for students in the specialization. Requirements are determined by year of matriculation.

Core Courses

PLAN 770 – Economic Development Policy
PLAN 771 – Development Planning Techniques
PLAN 773 – Regional Development Seminar

Select at least one of the following courses:
PLAN 776 – Development Finance
PLAN 785 – Public Investment Theory
PUBA 730 – Government & Non-Profit Accounting (2.0 credits)
PUBA 731 – Government Budgeting & Finance
PUBA 765 – Capital Budgeting & Finance (1.5 credits)
* Alternative finance course approved by advisor

Core Courses

PLAN 770 – Economic Development Policy
PLAN 771 – Development Planning Techniques
PLAN 773 – Regional Development Seminar

Select at least one of the following courses:
PLAN 776 – Development Finance
PLAN 785 – Public Investment Theory
PUBA 730 – Government & Non-Profit Accounting (2.0 credits)
PUBA 731 – Government Budgeting & Finance
PUBA 765 – Capital Budgeting & Finance (1.5 credits)
*Alternative finance course approved by advisor

Core Courses

PLAN 770 – Economic Development Policy
PLAN 771 – Development Planning Techniques
PLAN 773 – Regional Development Seminar
PLAN 721 – Advanced Planning Methods

Select at least one of the following courses:
PLAN 776 – Development Finance
PLAN 785 – Public Investment Theory
PUBA 730 – Government & Non-Profit Accounting (2.0 credits)
PUBA 731 – Government Budgeting & Finance
PUBA 765 – Capital Budgeting & Finance (1.5 credits)
*Alternative finance course approved by advisor

Law Requirement

Students are required to take one law class with the approval of the advisor. Recommended LAW courses include LAW 213-Law of Nonprofit Organizations, LAW 239-Natural Resources Law, LAW 241-Environmental Law, LAW 254-Labor Law, LAW 255-Housing & Community Development Law, LAW 262-Environmental Ocean & Coastal Law, LAW 270-Real Estate Transactions (2 cr), LAW 290-Land Use Controls, MBA 853B-Real Estate Law**(1.5 cr). Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment offers ENVIRON 775 Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy, ENVIRON 868 Natural Resources Law, and ENVIRON 855 International Environmental Law. A variety of other UNC law and Nicholas School for the Environment courses may be used to satisfy this requirement. Students should consult with instructors to ensure that they can enroll in specific courses and meet prerequisites.

Sample Curriculum

Semester 1

  • 710 Microeconomics
  • 714 Urban Spatial Structure
  • 720 Planning Methods
  • 773 Urban and Regional Development Seminar

Semester 2

  • 704 Theory of Planning I
  • 770 Economic Development Policy
  • 771 Development Planning Techniques
  • Finance Course
  • Elective

Semester 3

  • Law
  • Workshop
  • Elective
  • Elective

Semester 4

  • Master’s Paper
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective
Courses with an asterisk are required for this specialization