Urban Design Degree: What to expect?

A Hairdresser helps when you need a new look, and an Architect is the one to call when you want to change your house. But whom do you turn to when your city needs to be spruced up? The answer: an Urban Designer, who combines aesthetics with logistics to create plans for beautiful cities and public spaces.

Though aesthetics are big when it comes to developing a design plan, they’re not the only thing an Urban Designer takes into account. Public places need to be attractive, but more than that, they also have to be environmentally sound, be easy to maneuver, and create a sense of community for their inhabitants.

Since there are so many things to think of, this job is super collaborative. As an Urban Designer, you’ll spend your days working with others in fields such as policy, sustainability, transportation, and engineering.


A four-year undergraduate degree is the first requirement to get into the field of urban design. In some schools, this is a Bachelor of Science degree that includes courses like sustainability and urban ecology, along with liberal arts classes like history of world urbanism.

In other schools, this is a Bachelor of Arts degree, and though some science classes are required, there’s less of an emphasis on them. In these programs, expect to spend time in classes like survey of housing, communications, and metropolitan planning throughout the world.

Online degree programs are available, which will let you continue to work while you take classes.

Next Step

Though you can get an entry-level position with nothing more than a four-year degree, it’s going to be difficult. And advancement is even harder. Because of this difficulty, most Urban Designers return to school to get some sort of advanced degree.

Your advanced degree can be in urban design, though it’s also common to combine your undergrad training with schooling in urban planning, architecture, or landscape architecture.

Careers You May Like