The Certificate in Urban Studies is designed for undergraduate students who want to understand and impact urban issues through a planning perspective. 

This new undergraduate certificate is offered by University College and advised by the School of Planning and Public Affairs in the Graduate College.

Urban policy planning principles, theories, applications, and methods are essential for students who seek to improve the quality and sustainability of the built and natural environments, and to promote equity and justice. 

Why Iowa?

Students also may be interested in the complementary sustainability certificate offered by the UI Office of Sustainability and the Environment. There are several classes that can count as credit (up to 9 s.h.) for both the urban studies certificate and the sustainability certificate. 

Admission Requirements

The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.

To enter this certificate program, students must first complete the required Planning Livable Cities course with a grade of B or higher and complete 30 s.h. at the University of Iowa with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. Then, students may declare the certificate in MyUI.

Students interested in pursuing the Certificate in Urban Studies must meet with the certificate adviser, be briefed on the certificate's expectations for performance, and complete a plan of study that must be approved by the certificate adviser.

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 study abroad programs, and multiple undergraduate research opportunities.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Course Work

Students completing the Certificate in Urban Studies will gain an understanding of enduring and emerging urban issues and will be prepared to apply policy and planning concepts to making communities more resilient, inclusive, and prosperous. 

The certificate requires 18 s.h. of course work taken at the University of Iowa. In addition to the required core course, Planning Livable Cities, which provides an introduction to urban studies, policy, and planning, students choose 15 s.h. in electives. 

See Urban Studies, Certificate in the UI General Catalog for a list of approved elective courses.