FAQs: Urban Planning PhD

Is there a deadline to apply?

We have two application deadlines you should consider when applying:

  • December 15 is our early application deadline.  All completed applications by this date will be considered to receive funding to attend our annual Visit Day which we will host in late February, early March.
  • January 15 is the final deadline to submit your complete application. Applications received after January may be reviewed only if space is available in the program.  

What do you mean by a “Complete Application”?

A complete application is an application which has been submitted to ASU and all the documents have been received.  To see a list of documents required click here (https://geoplan.asu.edu/phdplanning) and then then the Apply tab. 

Do you offer admission for the spring semester?

Very rarely. We design our program for full-time students to begin each fall. Applicants submitting their materials after the fall deadline, December 30, will be considered on an individual basis, according to space available.

Should I include a portfolio?

It is not necessary, because the Ph.D. in Urban Planning is not a design degree. Your carefully crafted Statement of Intent is sufficient.

What types of financial aid do you provide?

We consider all applicants for multi-year guaranteed funding packages. This funding is competitive. Funding typically consists of four year packages in the form of 20hr/week teaching assistantships that include full tuition remission and health insurance.

Do I need to submit a separate application to be considered for a financial award?

We do not offer need-based financial aid. Rather, we offer merit-based fellowships and research and teaching assistantships. Assistantships typically require twenty hours of work per week and include a full waiver of tuition and most fees. Information on need-based financial aid (grants and loans) is available from the Financial Aid office.

What is the minimum GPA you will accept?

The minimum GPA at the master's level is around 3.4, but there is some flexibility. Occasionally we admit students with lower GPA's if they have significant professional experience, a strong statement of purpose, outstanding recommendations, or other extraordinary qualifications.

What is the minimum GRE score you will accept?

Successful PhD in planning applicants generally score at or above the following minimums: verbal 160, quantitative 148, writing 3.5

What is your GRE exam institutional code number?


What is the minimum TOEFL score you will accept?

TOEFL - 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT) 
IELTS - overall band score of 6.5 with no individual band below a 6.0

If you have additional questions related to English proficiency, please see the Graduate Admission English Proficiency page for more detailed information.

Whom should I ask to send letters of recommendation?

The primary purpose of the letters of recommendation is to help us to determine your ability to successfully complete the Ph.D. program and your potential to make significant academic contributions. At least two of your letters should be from academic sources. Applicants with extensive professional experience are likely to have their remaining letter from supervisors; applicants with less experience may have all three of their letters from academic sources. Most importantly, your letters should be from references who know you well enough to say specific things about your abilities, accomplishments, and professional potential.

For additional information

If the information on this page and the other PhD Planning web pages does not answer your questions, please send a note to geoplan.gradprograms@asu.edu. Please include "PhD Planning" in the subject line of your e-mail message.