Undergraduate Certificate

Certificate in Urban Studies

The Certificate in Urban Studies is intended for undergraduate students at the University of Iowa who seek to understand and impact urban issues through a planning perspective. Participating students will learn urban policy and planning concepts and skills that will enhance their ability to succeed in their chosen field. Urban policy planning principles, theories, applications, and methods are essential for students who seek to improve the quality and sustainability of the built and natural environments, and to promote equity and justice.

This certificate is highly relevant to students interested in addressing emerging and persistent issues of the 21st century: social justice, climate change, environmental conservation, sustainable development, mobility and access, public health, and economic prosperity—each of which has local, urban and regional dimensions.

Students completing the Certificate in Urban Studies will have an understanding of enduring and emerging urban issues and will be prepared to apply policy and planning concepts to making communities more resilient, inclusive and prosperous. The Graduate College will be the curricular college for the Undergraduate Certificate in Urban Studies, while the certificate will be awarded by the University College.

Certificate Application Requirements

  • The Undergraduate Certificate in Urban Studies requires 18 s.h. of courses taken at the University of Iowa.
  • To receive the certificate, students must obtain a 3.0 GPA in certificate coursework.
  • Courses in the certificate may not be taken as pass/nonpass.
  • Students must begin the certificate with URP:3001 Planning Livable Cities, which provides an introduction to urban studies, policy and planning.
  • In addition, the student must choose five electives from a list of elective courses.
  • The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.
  • Students may be able to count no more than 9 s.h. earned in certificate courses toward requirements for other undergraduate majors, minors, or other certificates.

Declaring the Certificate and Certificate Advising

Starting the spring 2021 session, students may declare the certificate in MyUI.

To declare the certificate program,

  • students must first complete URP:3001 Planning Livable Cities with a grade of B or better
  • have completed 30 s.h. at the University of Iowa with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Students interested in pursuing the Undergraduate Certificate in Urban Studies must meet with the certificate advisor, Anne Nessa, be briefed on the certificate’s expectations for performance, and complete a Plan of Study that must be approved by the certificate advisor.


1 core course
5 elective courses taken at UI

Core Course

URP:3001 Planning Livable Cities                                                        3 s.h.

Elective Courses

URP:3350 Transportation Economics 3 s.h.
URP:4170 Megacities Seminar 3 s.h.
URP:4225 Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Making 3 s.h.
URP:4245 Growth Management 3 s.h.
URP:4253 Designing Sustainable and Healthy Cities 3 s.h.
URP:4256 Environmental Policy 3 s.h.
URP:4260 Transportation Policy and Planning 3 s.h.
URP:4266 Transportation and Land Use Planning 3 s.h.
URP:4271 Housing Policy 3 s.h.
URP:4273 Community Development Through Creative Placemaking 3 s.h.
URP:4280 Planning for Disaster Mitigation and Recovery 3 s.h.
URP:4295 Economic Development Policy 3 s.h.
URP:4297 Economic Development Finance 3 s.h.
URP:4752 Eight Generation Planning: Envisioning Cities for Year 2228 3 s.h.