BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY & PLANNING (BS)
The Urban Affairs and Planning Program (UAP) offers two undergraduate degrees, the B.A. in public and urban affairs and the B.S. in environmental policy and planning, as well as minors under both degrees. At the graduate level the department offers the master of urban and regional planning degree. The B.S. in environmental policy and planning (EPP) provides students the opportunity to study environmental problems and their solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective involving humanities, natural and social science, planning, and public policy. While rooted in scientific and technological fields, environmental problems and their solutions increasingly deal with public values, economics, law, policy, and planning. The EPP curriculum, while providing a broad liberal arts and natural and social science base, has a pre-professional slant involving analytical and communication skills and policy and planning methods to prepare students for employment and graduate study.
The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as “Checksheets”. The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.
The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html for degree requirements.
University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the General Education (Curriculum for Liberal Education) (see “Academics“) and toward the degree in Urban Affairs and Planning.
Satisfactory progress toward the B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning requires successful completion of UAP 3344, UAP 3354, CHEM 1015 (or CHEM 1035), and PSCI 1014 by the time 72 total hours have been attempted. Minimum overall and in-major GPA 2.0. In-major GPA includes all courses in the EPP curriculum plus BIOL 1005-1006 (or BIOL 1105-1106), and ECON 2005-2006 (or AAEC 1005-1006), and LAR 4034 (or FOR 2554 or UAP 4264), and UAP 3344 in the Curriculum for Liberal Education.
Satisfactory progress requirements toward the B.A. in Public and Urban Affairs and B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning can be found on the major checksheet by visiting the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html.
UAP UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM
Undergraduate Course Descriptions (UAP)
Introduces academic requirements for the Public and Urban Affairs (PUA) and Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) majors. Assists students with academic planning and career exploration. Students develop an ePortfolio to document their personal and professional growth in the major. Course must be taken during the first semester in the PUA or EPP program. (1H,1C)
This class introduces some of the most vital concerns and issues challenging democratic capitalistic urban societies today. Topics addressed include different perspectives on the causes and portent of the urban underclass, the growing inequality between the educated and less well educated in the nation’s labor markets, the causes of the marked resegregation of many of the nation’s urban centers by race and income and the implications of privatization and interjurisdictional competition for the public policy behavior and outcomes of subnational governments. (3H,3C)
Introduction to real estate, including markets, land use planning and zoning, development, finance, construction, sales, marketing, management and property valuation. Examines the key actors and processes in each of these areas. Explores major public policies impacting real estate. (3H,3C)
Relationships between urbanization and economic development; role of cities in social, political, cultural, and economic development of societies; cities as settings for innovation and change. (3H,3C)
Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.
An introduction to urban policy and urban planning. Includes analysis of the basic concepts and principles of urban policy, a review of urban policy in the United States, discussion of the development of urban planning and its role in shaping the urban environment, and an analysis of the relationship between public policy and planning and the organization and structure of the urban environment. Must complete prerequisite UAP 1024 with a B- grade or higher. Pre: 1024. (3H,3C)
Overview and application of various methods used to study, represent, understand communities in their urban and regional context. Data collection and analysis; population, land use, transportation and economic forecasting; selecting and applying an appropriate method; designing and presenting a community study. Restricted to majors and minors only. (3H,3C)
Systematic analysis of the field and practice of public policy implementation. Includes analysis of the structure and dynamics of the policy process as well as specific analytic approaches to understanding policy implementation. Includes analysis of intra-organizational, inter-organizational and intergovernmental implementation processes. Must complete prerequisites UAP 3014 (B- or higher) or 3354, and UAP 3024 (B- or higher). Pre: 3024, (3014 or 3354). (3H,3C)
Consideration of one particular issue of immediate importance to the contemporary urban environment. Topics emphasize major social or economic policy issues, and may change each year. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
Critical examination of major global environmental problems (e.g., global warming, atmospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, tropical deforestation, toxic waste) with emphasis on their social, economic, political, ethical, and policy implications and solutions. Completion of Area 4 of University Core required. (3H,3C)
Introduction to the interdisciplinary principles of environmental policy, planning, economics, and ethics to address pollution abatement, resources conservation, habitat protection, and environmental restoration. The course will focus on practical means of identifying environmental problems and creatively solving them. (3H,3C)
The role and context of public administration in the contemporary United States, administrative organization and decision-making, public finance, human resources administration, and program implementation. Pre: PSCI 1014. (3H,3C)
The legal context of the exercise of discretion by public administrators in the United States. Adjudication and rule- making; access to administrative processes and information; legislative and judicial control of administration. Pre: PSCI 1014. (3H,3C)
The concept of community in Appalachia using an interdisciplinary approach and experiential learning. Interrelationships among geographically, culturally, and socially constituted communities, public policy, and human development. Pre: Junior standing. (3H,3C)
Description and analysis of the processes and institutions involved in the making and implementation of public policy in the United States, with a primary focus on domestic and economic policy. Empirical and normative models of the process of public policy making in the U.S. Pre: PSCI 1014. (3H,3C)
Methods and approaches used in the analysis and evaluation of public policy; strengths and limitations of various analytic tools; normative issues in the practice of policy analysis. Pre: PSCI 1014 or PSCI 1014H. (3H,3C)
Contemporary uses of Marxian concepts and theories to study the world economy, business structure, current social issues, modern ethical values, and alienation. Pre: PSCI 1014 or PSCI 1014H. (3H,3C)
Issues, concepts, and techniques of citizen participation in community development. Institutional frameworks and their historical precedents. Exercises developing group communications skills, public meeting facilitation, and design of community involvement programs. Pre: Senior standing required. (3H,3C)
Explores intersecting roles of gender, culture, and socio-economic status in people’s use of nature, management of environmental resources, and experiences of environmental change. Examines debates on environmental and development initiatives, environmental ethics, and environmental social movements from feminist perspectives. (3H,3C)
Issues in applied environmental ethics. Contributions of diverse religious and philosophical traditions to contemporary perspectives on the human-nature relationship. Examination of environmental policies from utilitarian economic, deep ecology, and ecofeminist perspectives. Junior, senior or graduate standing required. (3H,3C)
This course examines the legal principles and policy debates involved in the regulation and protection of critical environmental resources. Specific topics vary but will likely include wetlands law and policy, endangered species habitat, open space, forestland and farmland protection, coastal zone management, and floodplain regulation and policy. (3H,3C)
Interdisciplinary, experiential problem solving studio focusing on specific environmental problems. Working in groups, students interact with local officials, consultants, developers, environmental groups to explore the processes of environmental management, regulation and mitigation, applying techniques and skills frequently used by environmental planners and policy-makers. Senior status required and 9 credit hours, 3000-level or above, in the Environmental Policy and Planning major or minor; Pre: 3354, 3224. (2H,5L,4C)
Critical examination of the social, political, economic, legal, scientific, and technological contexts underlying processes of environmental change, problems, and solutions, as seen from various conceptual and disciplinary perspectives. Senior status required and 9 credit hours, 3000-level or above, in the Environmental Policy and Planning major or minor. Pre: 3354, 3224. (2H,2C)
Environmental factors involved in land use planning and development, including topography, soils, geologic hazards, flooding and stormwater management, ecological features, and visual quality. Techniques used in conducting environmental land inventories and land suitability analyses. Policies and programs to protect environmental quality in land use planning and development. Pre: Junior standing. (3H,3C)
Planning and policy aspects of managing residuals and environmental contaminants and their effects on human health and environmental quality. Technical and economic factors involved in management of water quality, air quality, solid and hazardous wastes, toxic substances, and noise. Implementation of pollution control legislation, policies, and programs at federal, state, and local levels. (3H,3C)
Practical design fundamentals for small scale renewable energy systems: solar building heating and cooling; solar domestic hot water; wind, photovoltaic, and hydroelectric systems; alcohol, methane and other biomass conversion systems. Developing plans, programs, and policies to stimulate development of renewable systems. Pre: (MATH 1016 or MATH 1025). (3H,3C)
This seminar is the integrative forum for the principal elements of the Washington Semester experience. The course explores both the role of political institutions in policy formation and implementation and the primary managerial and leadership challenges that arise for implementing organization managers in American democratic public policy-making. Pre: Junior standing or instructor consent and acceptance into the Washington Semester program. X-grade allowed. (3H,3C)
This course is part of the Washington Semester. Explores the relationship between the imperatives of democratic mobilization, policy choices and organizational choices through intensive study of the operating context of a selected public or nonprofit organization. Examines implications of policy-maker choices for implementing institution dynamics and challenges. Pre: Junior standing and acceptance into the Washington Semester program required. X-grade allowed. Pre: PSCI 3714. (3H,3C)
Examines the provision and financing of public goods and services in local governments. Analyzes associated policy issues. Reviews experience in Western Europe and developing countries, as well as in the United States. Must complete prerequisites UAP 3024 with B- grade or higher, and ECON 2005 and 2006 with C grade or higher. Pre: 3024, (ECON 2005 or ECON 2005H), (ECON 2006 or ECON 2006H). (3H,3C)
Examination of the legal context in which urban planning and public policy operate. Legal structure, role of law, powers of sovereign governments, constitutional limitations on government activities, and public-private conflict and their influence on planning and public policy are examined. Pre: Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
Examination of major development theories and contemporary issues and characteristics of low-income societies (industrialization, urbanization, migration, rural poverty, hunger, foreign trade, and debt) that establish contexts for development planning and policy-making. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
Course examines the interdependences among the elements of the built environment of the city and those between the elements of the built environment and the policy/planning structure of the city. Considered are those elements associated with the primary urban activities (residential, commercial, industrial) as well as the urban form-giving infrastructure facilities that support those land uses (water supply, sewerage, solid waste disposal, transportation, education, recreation, health, and safety). Pre: 3224. (3H,3C)
This capstone seminar explores the central questions of the role of the citizen and the citizenry in democratic capitalistic urban societies as well as the nature of accountability in such regimes. Topics such as the processes by which representation occurs, alternate theories of democratic community and the relationship of the public, private and civil sectors in urban society are treated. Senior status in PUA required. PUA majors and minors must complete this course with a C grade or higher to graduate; otherwise course must be repeated. Pre: 3224, 4714, 4754. (3H,3C)
4964: FIELD STUDY: Variable credit course. X-grade allowed.
4964H: HONORS FIELD STUDY: Variable credit course.
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY: Variable credit course. X-grade allowed.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY: Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH: Variable credit course.
UAP UNDERGRADUATE CONTACTS
University Distinguished Professor:
J.O. Browder, S. Hirt, T. Sanchez, and M. Stephenson
D. Bieri, R. Buehler, R. Hall, K. Wernstedt, D. Zahm, and Y. Zhang
M. Cowell, S. Misra, T. Schenk, and T. Skuzinski
B. Anderson, S. Mastran, E. Morton, J. Provo, and M. E. Ridenour
The Bachelor of Arts in Public and Urban Affairs degree provides the planning and policy skills and insights in order to understand and affect the economic, environmental, social, and governmental consequences of urban growth and change. Graduates work in government agencies, nonprofits, and the private sector addressing complex problems in realms such as urban planning, environmental justice, economic development, food systems, and international development.
The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning degree provides students the opportunity to study environmental problems and their solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective involving humanities, natural and social sciences, planning, and public policy. Graduates work in government agencies, nonprofits and the private sector, focusing on planning issues and challenges that affect local, regional, national and international communities. Graduates of the Environmental Planning and Policy degree program work in government agencies, nonprofits and the private sector, focusing on planning issues and challenges that affect local, regional, national and international communities.
The Environmental Policy and Planning Minor provides a critical interdisciplinary insight into modern environmental concerns.
A minor in Public and Urban Affairs requires completion of 18 credit hours:
UAP 1024: Public Issues in Urban Society
UAP 3014: Urban Policy and Planning
12 hours from approved list of UAP courses
The Real Estate Minor is a vital aspect of educating students for careers in real estate and in the real estate aspects of many facets of modern life. The instructional material is relevant to professionals in a wide range of real estate organizations and program graduates work in public sector agencies and in the private sector in such areas as economic development, urban planning and commercial/residential development.
The Watershed Management Minor provides an interdisciplinary and substantive understanding of watershed science, policy and decision-making. Alumni are prepared for careers in government, nonprofits and private sector organizations that focus on water resources.
The Masters in Urban and Regional Planning degree has a dual objective of training graduates for their first planning job, and more importantly instilling conceptual and critical thinking necessary for lifelong learning and career development. Graduates are able to assume professional responsibilities in a wide variety of positions in public service or in the private sector.
MURP’s Dual Masters degrees, also known as simultaneous degrees, exist between the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and Master of Natural Resources degrees (MNR). Dual degrees provide students with the opportunity to master core material in more than one field, allowing them to acquire the flexibility to engage in a wide range of activities within multiple fields and become bridge-builders between them; in fact, many rise to leadership positions because of their multi-disciplinary perspective. If you are interested in this program in Blacksburg, please contact email@example.com
. If you are interested in this program in Alexandria, please contact UAPAlexandria@vt.edu
The PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) draws insights from the social sciences and humanities into the multidimensional study of governance processes in all levels of society and international affairs. The faculty and students work jointly to cultivate their experience, knowledge, and skill with regard to the governance practices, political institutions, social dynamics, cultural values, workplace conditions, spatial formations, historical trends, and ethical conflicts that intersect in the workings of government, business, and not-for-profit organizations. Program graduates work in a range of nonprofit/NGO, public and private organizations at national and international levels.
Urban and regional planners need to know how they can develop their economies. The challenge for policymakers, economic developers and urban planners nowadays is to design appropriate local and regional economic development policies and programs to respond to challenges resulting from globalization, technological development, demographic changes, urban decline, sprawl, and social inequities. Virginia Tech’s Graduate Certificate in Economic Development is designed for those who are interested in acquiring a basic understanding of urban and regional economic development dynamics and the role of policy in influencing them.
Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) includes collection and analysis of remotely sensed data, digital spatial and attribute data used by geographic information systems (GIS), and the application of related technologies such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). Geographic Information Science is one of the leading careers in the United States today. As depth of knowledge is important to careers in the industry, this certificate requires 12 hours of geospatial coursework. Coursework is taken from three categories, beginning with introductory topics, and continuing through more advanced and specialized topics as best fits the student’s background and future goals.
The Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development Studies builds on Virginia Tech’s internationally recognized, 30-year specialization in international development planning and an innovative partnership between faculty in programs such as Urban Affairs and Planning, Public Health, Geography, and Building Construction. The certificate seeks to prepare graduate students in multiple disciplines to engage in meaningful global professional leadership and academic positions to systematically tackle and resolve these global planning and development issues.
The Graduate Certificate in Metropolitan Studies is designed for those who are interested in acquiring a basic understanding of metropolitan development dynamics and the role of policy in influencing them. The certificate is part of the Urban Affairs and Planning program’s overall mission to teach students how to understand, analyze, and influence the forces that shape the metropolitan built environment.
Virginia Tech’s School certificate in Nonprofit and NGO Management focuses on the most vital and urgent management challenges for nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. The certificate is ideal for rising professionals across the globe navigating the complex fiscal, managerial and networked environments of nonprofits and NGOs during a time of significant change. Courses in the certificate also include a focus on leadership, complex management, program evaluation with an emphasis on accountability. All courses seamlessly integrate the domestic and international context.
The management of water resources is a critical issue facing governmental agencies, as well as the private/industrial sector and citizens. The Watershed Management Certificate provides an excellent opportunity for future water and land managers to develop the interdisciplinary skills necessary for meeting these challenges in the field of water resources. This certificate integrates existing programs and courses from five colleges and ten departments at Virginia Tech to provide an interdisciplinary and substantive understanding of watershed science, policy, and decision-making.
The Combined B.A. Architecture/Masters in Urban and Regional Planning degree provides students with the option of earning a professionally-accredited Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree along with the professionally accredited Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree. Graduates of the combined degree program are at the nexus of planning and architectural design, crafting solutions to community issues that respond to social, political, economic and spatial challenges.
Located in Old Town Alexandria, the Washington Semester is an eleven-week summer program that provides students the opportunity to acquire professional experience in a governmental agency or other relevant enterprise in the private or nonprofit sector.