The field of transportation planning has become much broader in the past several decades, expanding from its focus on relieving traffic congestion to questions related to social equity, accessibility, climate impacts, and the benefits of physically active travel. This change has underscored the need to attract people from diverse disciplinary and social/ethnic backgrounds to the field. The next generation of transportation professional cannot simply be one in a team of specialists. They need to have a range of knowledge that allows them to see and solve problems without disciplinary boundaries.  

The Certificate in Transportation Planning at the UI School of Planning & Public Affairs prepares professionals who can address this challenge.


  1. Students study and work with different disciplines and learn to develop sustainable, equitable and safe transportation systems.
  2. Certificate is advantageous for employment, professional development or advancement.
  3. The Transportation Planning Certificate is credentialed and will appear on the student's UI transcript.
  4. Certificate courses may be applied to a master's degree in Urban Planning at the University of Iowa if the student pursues a graduate degree after the certificate is completed.


Completion of the certificate provides students a robust background in transportation, methods and techniques for transportation analysis, and real-world project experience to improve their expertise and employability in a variety of professional transportation roles.

Fields of employment for students with the Transportation Certificate include:
•    transportation planning
•    transit or freight management
•    bike/pedestrian policy advocacy
•    public health through active mobility
•    sustainability
•    climate mitigation

Who should apply?

•    Those with a bachelor’s degree in urban studies, planning, engineering and other fields who want to increase
     their employment options in transportation planning.

•    Planners interested in further professional development.

•    Graduate students at the University of Iowa.

Required Curriculum

Courses are taught primarily online with both real-time interaction and recorded lectures. Some elective courses are offered in-person to accommodate student preferences. However, the certificate can be completed entirely online by selecting courses available in that format. Courses are taught by faculty in the School of Planning and Public Affairs and College of Public Health. See the most recent catalog of planning courses for course descriptions.

The first semester of the certificate program introduces students to the fundamentals of transportation planning history and practice, and to the relationships between transportation systems, urban form, equity, and sustainability.

The second semester deepens knowledge through specialization in public policy, travel behavior analysis, infrastructure finance, and traffic safety. Finally, in the summer studio course, students undertake a real-world transportation project for a community partner through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC).

The certificate can be completed in one calendar year including a summer studio capstone. It may also be completed over two or more years for part-time students who complete fewer courses per semester. The two-year option accommodates students currently enrolled in two-year masters degrees at the University of Iowa.

Required courses (6 s.h.)

URP:6266 Transportation, Urban Form & Sustainability Fall Online/hybrid
URP:6270 Transportation Planning Studio Summer Online/hybrid
Electives (6 s.h.)    
At least one of the following three electives are required:    
URP:4262 Transportation Research Methods & Analysis Spring Online/hybrid
URP:6260 Transportation Policy and Planning Spring Online/hybrid
URP:6263 Special Topics in Transportation Planning Fall Online/hybrid
Other electives:    
CPH:4220 Global Road Safety Spring odd yrs. in person/on campus
URP:6233 Public Finance and Budgeting Spring in person/on campus
Total: 12 s.h.    


Apply to Certificate Program

•    All UI students in good standing enrolled in any graduate program are eligible to complete the certificate.
•    Admission for the certificate is considered on a rolling basis.
•    Application deadline: Must be admitted to certificate program before completing all certificate courses. Requires that the student either have one course left to complete the certificate or is currently enrolled in final course necessary for the certificate.

To Apply
Current UI graduate students should contact Abbi Castle in the School of Planning and Public Affairs.

Completion deadline
During the semester of the student's final certificate course, the certificate completion form must be submitted before the established deadline for the Degree Application set by the Graduate College (approximately 10 weeks before graduation).

We are currently not admitting students who aren't University of Iowa graduate students into an online program.



For more information about the certificate program, please contact the Transportation Planning Certificate Coordinator:
Steve Spears
Associate Professor of Instruction
School of Planning and Public Affairs

For questions about the application process, please contact:
Abbi Castle
School of Planning and Public Affairs

*Tuition rate for non-degree seeking students

Program Details
Credentialed Certificate
Location: Online

Total semester hours: 12

Cost: $605 per s.h.*