Graduate Certificate in Urban Studies and Planning

About This Program


For the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population is living in cities. According to the World Health Organization, this trend will continue over the next forty years, with the world's urban population increasing from seven billion in 2013 to nine billion in 2050.

While growing cities add trillions of dollars to the global economy through consumption and investment, they also bring enormous challenges in managing resources, creating infrastructure and ensuring sustainability. Now more than ever, public administrators and those who desire careers in this field need advanced professional education that will enable them to meet these challenges through critical thinking, informed judgment and the ability to persuade and lead others effectively.

Offered in collaboration with the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the 15-unit Urban Studies and Planning (URBS) graduate certificate – which is embedded as an option in CSUN's two-year MPA program – is designed to meet the advanced professional education goals of the following types of students:

  • Those who are currently working in – and/or aim to become more effective in – municipal government, environmental planning, urban planning and design, economic development planning, social welfare, public administration and law;
  • CSUN Urban Studies and Planning graduates who wish to continue in their studies in this field;
  • Current or incoming MPA students who may wish to broaden their professional focus; and
  • Others interested in entering this exciting and rewarding field.

Benefits of the URBS graduate-certificate program – taught on the CSUN campus – include the following:

  • An appreciation of the field of urban planning in the United States and the forces that drive not only urban development but also urban blight and decay;
  • Training in analyzing, creating, improving and implementing effective public policy, programs and services in a diverse urban context;
  • Excellent preparation for working in planning departments, planning and engineering consulting firms, public agencies, nonprofit community development agencies or related businesses;
  • A sound grasp of the key issues, special challenges and opportunities faced by public-sector administrators, together with the knowledge needed to develop appropriate responses and solutions; and
  • An understanding – gained through field work and assignments – of how to operate effectively in California's unique planning environment, which was created by statewide legislation (e.g., the General Plan, CEQA, AB 32, SB 375, etc.).

To learn about Urban Studies and Planning option within the Master of Public Administration degree, please visit MPA Urban Studies and Planning option page.