Downtown San Jose (Northbound) Santa Clara Light Rail Station (VTA) on First and Santa Clara streets. Image by xAtsukex, via wikimedia (cropped). Creative Commons license CCby3.0:

Why Study Urban Planning and Geography at SJSU?

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning at SJSU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Geography and an accredited Master of Urban Planning degree - the only programs of their kind in Silicon Valley. We also offer three undergraduate minors and seven advanced graduate certificate programs. Planning and geography are multi-disciplinary fields and our world class faculty come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds including architecture, communication, economics, history, public policy, and sociology. Our programs emphasize experiential learning and career-oriented academic preparation, enhanced by our downtown location in the largest city in Northern California. The department has cultivated long-standing relationships with industry partners, government agencies, and community-based organizations. Our graduates go on to rewarding careers in Silicon Valley companies as well as government agencies and non-profit organizations throughout the Bay Area and beyond.


Masters in Geography

Geographers study the natural environment, the built environment, and the social characteristics of places to understand and explain what makes them special and unique. Geographic Information Science (GIS) uses the power of location integrated with computing technologies to analyze large volumes of data to make informed decisions. As the only Geography Masters in Silicon Valley, our program takes advantage of its location to emphasize urban and cultural geography, economic geography, and geospatial methods.

urban planning

Masters in Urban Planning

Urban planners balance visionary thinking with pragmatic problem solving - working in partnership with multiple stakeholders to address challenges related to growth and change. They work within the frameworks of formal and informal institutions to solve problems related to affordable housing, climate change, economic development, environmental protection, public health, and transportation. Urban planning began at SJSU in 1970 and offers the only accredited Master of Urban Planning degree in Silicon Valley, and one of just six in California.


Advanced Certificate Programs

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning offers advanced graduate certificate programs in Affordable Housing and Community Development Finance, Applications of Technology in Planning, Community Design and Development, Environmental Planning, Geographic Information Science (GIS), Real Estate Development, and Transportation and Land Use Planning. These professionally oriented certificates are available to SJSU graduate students and to members of the public through Open University.

Prof. Laxmi Ramasubramanian has been elected Vice President / President-Elect of ACSP.

Congratulations to ACSP's Next President!

SJSU congratulates Dr. Laxmi Ramasubramanian, professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, on her election as Vice President/ President Elect of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), the professional organization for urban planning in the academy. Dr Ramasubramanian assumes the role of Vice President for the term 2019-2021. This summer, she will advance automatically to become President of ACSP for the 2021-2023 term. Her election reflects Dr. Ramasubramanian's prominence as a leader in our field, and represents growing national recognition for urban planning at SJSU. Congratulations Laxmi!

Announcing SAVI, the new Center for Spatial Analytics and Visualization at SJSU

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning, in collaboration with the SJSU Provost's Office and the Institute for Metropolitan Studies, is proud to announce an exciting initiative to launch a world-class university center focused on geographic information systems and urban spatial data science. Collecting faculty and students from around the University, the Spatial Analytics and Visualization Center (SAVI) will aim to produce impactful research and professional services for our campus and the cities, organizations, and companies that define our region.

Students and community members review plans

A Tradition of Community-Based Service and Scholarship

SJSU urban planning and geography students work closely with the communities that we serve, collaborating with neighbors, local organizations, policymakers and other stakeholders throughout the Bay Area and addressing critical questions about the future of our region through participatory planning processes. Participating communities have received more than $31 million in public funds to implement projects identified in the plans. Click above to learn more about our community partnerships and view many of the local planning reports resulting from this work.

Books by URBP faculty members.

Influential Research

Urban Planning and Geography are among the most research-active programs at SJSU. Department faculty are nationally and internationally recognized scholars who help inform policy, shape planning practice, and contribute to the scholarly discourse. Click above to learn about recent publications, awards, and other recognition.

Located in the heart of Northern California's largest city.
SJSU is located on the traditional territory of the Muwekma Ohlone people, in the 'Valley of Heart's Delight' on the southern end of the San Francisco Bay.