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/non-pass.
  • 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

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, Abbi Castle, 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:3001Planning Livable Cities3 s.h.


Elective Courses
URP:3350Transportation Economics3 s.h.
URP:4170Megacities Seminar3 s.h.
URP:4225Applied GIS for Planning and Policy Making3 s.h.
URP:4245Growth Management3 s.h.
URP:4253Designing Sustainable and Healthy Cities3 s.h.
URP:4256Environmental Policy3 s.h.
URP:4260Transportation Policy and Planning3 s.h.
URP:4266Transportation, Urban Form, and Sustainability3 s.h.
URP:4271Housing Policy3 s.h.
URP:4273Community Development Through Creative Placemaking3 s.h.
URP:4280Planning for Disaster Mitigation and Recovery3 s.h.
URP:4295Economic Development Policy3 s.h.
URP:4297Financing Economic Development for Poverty Alleviation3 s.h.