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National Rank – Graduate Planning Programs by Planetizen


Ranked Best Value in American Higher Education by Kiplinger


Merit-based Funding for Students Annually


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.

We offer:


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Why Carolina? Prospective Student Webinar



Other program highlights:

  • Carolina Planning is ranked #5 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 #2 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

Anna Jane’s path to Carolina Planning has been a nonlinear journey. She began her undergraduate career with an interest in … Continued

Mike Everhart

A resident of Chapel Hill for over a decade, Mike felt that the dual degree program offered through Carolina Planning … Continued

Atticus Jaramillo

Atticus’ experience as an affordable housing researcher in the Twin Cities lead him to Carolina Planning as a PhD student. … Continued

View All Student Profiles

Meet Our Alumni

Si Shi, MCRP ’16

Si Shi

Si is a travel demand modeler at the Charlotte Department of Transportation.

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Bill King, MCRP ’14

Bill King image

Bill is the Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and works on everything from retail recruitment to data and market information to transit and park planning.

Read more >>>

View All Alumni Profiles

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 = $12,580
  • out-of-state tuition and fees = $30,306

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.


Funding Options

Key Dates


Online Application

PhD: December 10, 2019

MCRP: January 14, 2020

acceptance letter


PhD: February, 2020

MCRP: March, 2020


Open House

 March 20 & 21, 2020


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
  • $95.00 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 admissions committee considers 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.

All applications for the MCRP program are evaluated by the admissions committee, which is composed of current students. The committee makes recommendations, and the faculty Admissions Director makes the final decisions.

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, you can view the webinar video.

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.

August 2019 – March 2020
To schedule a department visit, complete the DCRP Visitation Form.
October 2019
So that scores arrive for the fall application deadlines, schedule required standardized tests accordingly. GRE scores must be no more than five years old at the time of application. Send TOEFL or IELTS Scores (no more than two years old) to the Graduate School (UNC Institution Code: #5816; no department code is needed). See average test scores.
October 2019
MCRP Admissions Information Webinar
November 2019
MCRP Admissions Information Webinar
January 14, 2020
Deadline for applying to MCRP
February 2020
PhD Applicants notified of admissions decisions
March 2020
MCRP Applicants notified of admissions decisions
March 2020
Spring Open House
Diversity Travel Recruitment
When you accept:
Complete the items on this list.

GRE Requirements:

  • 50th percentile for both the quantitative and verbal sections.
  • GRE scores from within 5 years of application submission will be considered.

TOEFL Requirements:

  • 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:

GRE verbal**
GRE quantitative**
*average calculated excluding international GPAs not on a 4-point scale
**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 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.

If you have questions concerning your application or application procedures, contact us at dcrp-admissions@unc.edu.
Dr. Roberto Quercia is the Director of Admissions for the MCRP program.
Dr. Dale Whittington is the Director of Admissions for the PhD program.


Admitted Students

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.

Orientation is always the Friday and Monday prior to the start of classes.  All incoming students will receive notification of specific orientation dates and times during the summer months.

The following websites are a good place to start:
Student Housing
Daily Tar Heel (UNC’s student paper)
Apartment Guide