Children ride bikes down a city street.

"Make no little plans, they have no magic." (Chicago Planner, Daniel Burnham, 1846-1912)

Planners use critical thinking, strong written and oral communication, technical skills, and community engagement to help create livable cities and towns and to promote environmentally healthy communities across the rural-urban spectrum. Specialty areas include affordable housing, vibrant public spaces, transportation and land use, and equitable access to community services.

Planning at the University of Vermont

Recent graduates of Geography, Environmental Sciences, and other disciplines have gone into Planning jobs and Master’s programs in the field. Careful course selection from the areas identified below, as well as taking advantage of internship and study abroad opportunities, will provide UVM students with the ingredients of a robust Planning curriculum. Faculty support and advising is available through the Geography department. Contact Professor Meghan Cope with questions about Planning curriculum.

Stories of Student Success

Marshall Distel

Marshall graduated as a Geography Major in 2016 and stepped right into a job at the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission as a transportation planner – developing plans for Vermont’s busiest county. During his four years at UVM, Marshall put together a series of courses and five separate internships that enabled him to walk out of UVM with a job in the planning field.

Senior Kim Furtado

Kim Furtado

Kim Furtado, a current senior in the Geography Department, was already interested in pursuing Planning when she decided to contact someone at the Chittenden Regional Planning Commission about a summer internship. She spent summer 2018 working for CCRPC, updating their inventory of roads related to the Municipal Roads General permit. Her GIS skills proved essential, from preparing road maps to show to town officials, to taking PAVER samples to measure road distress. 

Related Classes:

Get started now! Here are some courses that will set you up for success within the field of Planning. 

Urban and Rural Contexts

GEOG050 and/or GEOG070 - Intro Human Geog HST167 - London: A Cultural History
GEOG060 – Geog of Race & Ethnicity in US CDAE102 – Sustainable Community Dev’t
GEOG174 – Rural Geography HP200 – History of American Architecture
GEOG175 – Urban Geography SOC19 or CRES096 – Race & Racism in the US
GEOG161 – Geography of Vermont SOC32 – Social Inequality
GEOG178 – Gender, Space & Environment VS052 – Introduction to Vermont
GEOG245 – Rural/Nature CDAE260 – Smart, Resilient Communities
GEOG274 – Critical Urban/Social Geography CDAE278 – Applied Community Planning


Research and Analysis Skills:

GEOG081 – Geotechniques CS 021 – Python Programing
GEOG184 or NR143 – GIS STAT052 – Stats for Social Justice
GEOG185 or NR146 – Remote Sensing STAT087 – Intro to Data Science (“R”)
GEOG186 – Qualitative Research Methods CE010 - Geomatics
GEOG192 – Vermont Field Studies SOC100 – Fundamentals of Social Research
GEOG281 – Advanced GIS & Remote Sensing GEOG191 - Internship
GEOG287 – Spatial Analysis HONS224-225 – Honors Thesis in Geography


Additional recommended courses across disciplines that can support a Planning-focused Curriculum*:

GEOG040 - Weather, Climate, and Landscapes ANTH089 – Global Health, Dev’t, & Diversity
ECON011 – Macro Economics POLS139 – Public Policy: Tools & Processes
ENVS107 – Human Health and the Env’t HSCI021 – Intro to Public Health
ENVS181 – Environmental Justice FOR001 – Forest Conservation
NR001 – Natural Resources & Human Ecology NR/ENVS141 – Intro to Ecological Economics
NR/ENVS137 – Landscape Design Fundamentals CDAE001 – Drafting & Design Drawing
NR153/ENVS142 – Intro. Environmental Policy CDAE006 – Energy Alternatives
CDAE024 – Fund’ls of Public Communication  

*This only includes recent offerings – there are other courses in the catalog that may be relevant for the student interested in self-designed study in planning.


Planning Resources

Email Professor Meghan Cope (Geography) for more information on the planning field and to discuss possible planning careers.

Internships in Planning

Visit the STVT Blog

Learn more about what Planning Departments across the country are looking for.