Jul 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Office: Washington Square Hall WSQ 118 (Geography); WSQ 216A (Urban Planning)

Telephone: 408-924-5475 (Geography); 408-924-5882 (Urban Planning)

Email: urbanplanning@sjsu.edu, geography@sjsu.edu

Website: Urban PlanningGeography


Asha Weinstein Agrawal
Shishir Mathur
Laxmi Ramasubramanian, Chair

Associate Professors

Kathrine Richardson
Thomas Lester

Assistant Professors

Serena Alexander
Gordon Douglas
Kerry Rohrmeier
Ahoura Zandiatashbar

Department Overview

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning at SJSU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Geography, and an accredited Master in Urban Planning degree. The department also offers minors in Geography, Geographic Information Science, and Urban Studies. In addition, the department offers seven advanced graduate certificates emphasizing different focus areas such as affordable housing, community development, environmental planning, geographic information science, real estate development, transportation, and urban design. Planning and geography are multi-disciplinary fields and our world class faculty have diverse disciplinary backgrounds including architecture, economics, history, geography, sociology and urban planning. Our programs emphasize experiential learning and career-oriented academic preparation, enhanced by our downtown San Jose location. The department has cultivated long-standing relationships with industry partners, government agencies, and community-based organizations. Our graduates go onto rewarding careers in Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google as well as government agencies and non-profit organizations in the Bay Area.


The Department of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University offers seven advanced certificates (listed below).

The certificate programs are open to graduate degree students enrolled in any program at San José State University (SJSU). Members of the public who hold an undergraduate degree may also complete any of the graduate certificate programs through SJSU’s Open University. To earn a certificate, students must complete a total of nine to sixteen units of course work, depending on the certificate. If course work is taken through Open University, the maximum number of units allowed by SJSU policy may be applied
towards the MUP degree. In addition, the student must:

  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 over all semester credits of coursework applied towards the certificate.
  • Earn a minimum grade of “B Minus” in every course applied towards the certificate.
  • Complete all the course work within seven years.

For detailed information on these programs, see the department website or contact the department’s Graduate Student Advisor.

Geography Program Overview

Geographers study places to understand and explain what makes places special and unique. Geographers study the natural environment, the built environment, and the socio-demographic characteristics of people. 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 degree-granting program in Silicon Valley, the program takes advantage of its downtown San Jose location to emphasize urban and cultural geography, economic geography, and geospatial methods. The program has developed and cultivated long-standing relationships with government agencies, other universities, and the City of San Jose. GIS is a rapidly growing field and our courses will give students the analytic and problem-solving abilities necessary to begin rewarding careers immediately after graduation. Prospective students are encouraged to consult the department website for additional information.

Departmental Honors Program in Geography

Graduation with departmental honors in geography can be achieved by successful completion of any geography graduate seminar open to those seniors with a 3.5 GPA in geography, or completion of an Honors Thesis under supervision of a department faculty member. Students must have a 3.5 GPA in geography to qualify for an Honors Thesis option.

Urban Planning Program Overview

Urban planning began at SJSU in 1970 and SJSU offers the only accredited Master in Urban Planning degree in Silicon Valley. Urban planners balance visionary thinking with pragmatic problem solving - working in partnership with multiple stakeholders to address challenges related to growth and change. Urban planners 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. The program has a long history of working in partnership with local communities to address their planning needs. As a graduate program, Urban Planning attracts a diverse student body, including many non-traditional students who come to the program with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The program has a strong network of alumni who work in the region in city, county, and state government agencies, private sector firms, and nonprofit organizations.


    Undergraduate Major(s)

    Undergraduate Minor(s)




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