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

GEOG 1760  - Intro Human GeogCDAE 2020 – Sustainable Community Dev’t
GEOG 1770 – Geog of Race & Ethnicity in USHP 5200 – History of American Architecture
GEOG 2760 – Rural GeographySOC 1370 - Race Relations in the US
GEOG 2790 – Urban GeographySOC 1400 - Social Inequality
GEOG161 – Geography of VermontVS 1500 - Sustainable Vermont
GEOG 2774 – Gender, Space & EnvironmentCDAE 3600 - Smart, Resilient Communities
GEOG 3760 – Rural/NatureCDAE 3780 - Applied Community Plannin
GEOG 3790 – Critical Urban/Social Geography 


Research and Analysis Skills:

GEOG 2510 o rNR 2430 – GISSTAT 1050 – Stats for Social Justice
GEOG 2520 or NR 2460 – Remote SensingSTAT 1870 – Intro to Data Science (“R”)
GEOG 2550 – Qualitative Research MethodsCEE 2000 - Geomatics
GEOG 2764 – Vermont Field StudiesSOC 2500 – Social Research Methods
GEOG 3520 – Advanced GIS & Remote SensingGEOG 3991 - Internship
GEOG 3505 – Spatial AnalysisHONS 3000-4000 – Honors Thesis in Geography


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

GEOG 1200 - Weather, Climate, and LandscapesANTH 1190 – Global Health, Dev’t, & Diversity
ECON 1400 – Macro EconomicsPOLS 2300. Topics in US Govt/Law
ENVS 1500 Intro to Environmental StudiesHSCI 1100 – Intro to Public Health
ENVS 1510 – Solutions in Enviro StudiesFOR 1010 Forest Conservation
NR 1010 – Natural Resources & Human EcologyNR 2410 – Intro to Ecological Economics
NR 3200 – Landscape EcologyCDAE 1010 – Drafting & Design Drawing
NR 2530 – Intro. Environmental PolicyCDAE 1060 – Energy Alternatives
CDAE 1240 – 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.