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Undergraduate / BS / BA Online degree in urban planning


I was wondering if anyone has experience with ASU or any other school's online degree programs in urban planning.

I am currently at Cal Poly SLO for City and Regional Planning bachelor's but was thinking of switching to either Guttman Community college (they have an associates in urban studies and are only $7k out of state as opposed to my $20k out of state) or moving to a city and working at Starbucks so they pay for about half of the ASU online courses as they have a program that does so.

My question is, in the planning world is an online degree looked down upon? Is it not practical? Do you think one could really learn everything in an online degree as equally as in a classroom setting and with hands on work? Thanks.


I went to ASU for my planning undergrad. I can't say much about the online program. It wasn't fully started when I was there, but I took a couple online classes. Personally I feel like I get more out of the in class experience, but the online classes went pretty smooth. I think the best learning environment came from the studio style classes they had. Giant group project redeveloping a part of Phoenix kind of project. I'm not sure how they can duplicate that online, but anything's possible.

As far as the crediblility goes, check to see how they write up your degree. Is it an "online ASU degree" or does it actually say you graduated from ASU school of geography? My friend went to an ASU extension campus for business. His degree said ASU school of business and not the ASU WP Carey school of business which was a more prestigious degree. It might turn out that no one will know the difference and most employers don't ask a lot about school other than relative experience.


don't do undergrad in planning

Regardless of if it's online or in person, an undergraduate degree in planning is not worth much (this is coming from someone who did her Bachelor's in planning). Planning is really more of a graduate field. I would consider allied fields, such as journalism, economics, landscape architecture, geography, sociology, civil engineering, environmental science or construction management as your major and do an urban studies minor.

That being said, University of Washington's Sustainable Transportation online master's program is really good. But again, it's a master's program. Also, not really that useful for someone coming from a planning background - it's more useful to those coming in from something else, like engineering - if you come in from planning, it is pretty repetitive from what I've experienced.

And as dvdneal said, a lot of the best value classes I got from planning school were the collaborative studio/workshop ones. Planning is the type of field where it involves a lot of things outside the classroom.