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Cal Poly Pomona

Frequently Asked Questions

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning offers two nationally accredited degrees: a four-year Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning degree and a two-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning. The Program's primary goal is to train professional planners interested in improving the quality of the built and natural environments by working to solve environmental, transportation, housing, social, economic and physical design problems at the local, regional and national levels. This section provides frequently asked questions about planning in general, and then provides answers about both programs.

What is Planning?

Planning is a profession dedicated to helping society manage change. Planners work in cities and regions to guide growth and development, enhance communities, and improve the quality of life. Their work affects the pattern of development, urban design, environmental quality, the creation of jobs, and equality and opportunity.

Where do Planners Work?

Planners work for cities and other government agencies, consulting firms, non-profit agencies and private firms.

What is the Work like?

Planners develop and implement long range plans and projects and they help solve problems in cities and regions. They usually work in teams with other professionals, community members, and elected officials. In any given day a planner may be writing a report, analyzing information, brainstorming solutions, developing a plan, conducting a workshop with community members or making a presentation to city council. Planners have good communication and writing skills.

What Specialties are available in Planning?

Specialties include land use planning, historic preservation, transportation planning, housing and community development, policy development and management, economic development, environmental planning, urban design, urban development, and international planning. Students may also take a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), quantitative methods, regenerative studies and many other fields. Significant GIS (Geographic Information Systems) coursework is available. The Cal Poly Pomona program offers a broad foundation and an opportunity to specialize through core elective courses.

Why Planning at Cal Poly Pomona?

The department is recognized as a national leader in planning education. It is the only accredited undergraduate planning program in Southern California, and one of the largest in the nation. Accreditation teams give the program very high marks for the quality of teaching and the professional readiness of its students. Cal Poly Pomona has an extensive network of alumni in the field and an excellent reputation in the profession. In addition, you will learn planning in a college with architects, landscape architects, environmentalists, and artists, thus enriching your education. The undergraduate and graduate planning students have active student organization that enhances the educational experience through field trips, professional activities and community service.

Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning

How long does the program take?

Four years if you are a freshman; three years if you transfer in with most of your GE courses complete. The planning core is a total of 106 quarter units.

When can I start?

The course sequencing is set up for Fall quarter admission. Contact us for information on whether Winter or Spring admission is possible.

Do you impose special GE requirements?

No. The department makes no specifications about what GE courses you take. However, taking certain GE courses can reduce the total number of units required. Contact us for more information.

What does it mean that the program is accredited?

Accreditation means that the Planning Accreditation Board has certified that the program provides professional training that meets their standards. Employers look for students from accredited programs.

Do I need a drafting background?

No. A sequence of three first year studio courses teach you what you need to know in graphic communication and design. Beyond that, it is your option whether you want to take additional courses in urban design.

I am interested in architecture are well. How does Planning fit?

Planning is an excellent background if you decide to pursue a masters in architecture. You will understand how communities grow and change and how policies are developed and carried out. Planners work with architects on project teams.

Is an internship required?

Internships are a valuable source of experience but they are not required. The college has an internship coordinator to help you find a position.

Will I get practical job skill?

The program focuses on providing the skills you need for effective professional practice. Coursework emphasizes learning by doing, through fieldwork and projects in communities.

What are the job prospects?

Job prospects are very good. Southern California will grow rapidly in the next decade; planners are needed to manage that growth. Recently, there has been growth in the areas of GIS, environmental planning, transportation planning, economic development and telecommunications.

Masters of Urban and Regional Planning

How long does the program take?

Two years if you attend full time. Part-time attendance is possible. All coursework must be completed within seven years.

When can I start?

The course sequencing is set up for Fall quarter admission.

Do you require a particular degree for entry?

No. A variety of undergraduate degrees are appropriate preparation for a planning education.

What does it mean that the program is accredited?

Accreditation means that the Planning Accreditation Board has certified that the program provides professional training that meets their standards. Employers look for students from nationally accredited programs.

Do I need a drafting background?

No. A first year studio course will teach you what you need to know in graphic communication and design. Beyond that, it is your option whether you want to take additional courses in urban design.

Is an internship required?

Internships are a valuable source of experience but they are not required. The college has an internship coordinator to help you find a position.

Will I get practical job skill?

The program focuses on providing the skills you need for effective professional practice. Coursework emphasizes learning by doing, through fieldwork and projects in communities.

What are the job prospects?

Job prospects are very good. Southern California will grow rapidly in the next decade; planners are needed to manage that growth. Recently, there has been growth in the areas of GIS, environmental planning, transportation planning, economic development and telecommunications.

Other Questions

How can I find out more whether planning and this program is right for me?

Prior to applying to the program, you are welcome to take graduate courses through the College of Extended University to get a better feel for the program. Up to 13 units of credit can be transferred in should you be admitted to the program. Contact the graduate coordinator for advice on the courses to take.

How can I find out more about the planning profession?

Contact a planner in your local city, or contact the American Planning Association, 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago IL 60637, (312) 955-9100. The APA website address is as follows: http://www.planning.org.

How can I find out more?

Please contact the Department at (909) 869-2688 or through e-mail at urpdept@csupomona.edu. We will send you information, arrange a meeting with faculty, arrange a class visit and/or tell you about other activities in the Department. The Department has an informative web page that can be found at http://www.csupomona.edu/urp.