FAQs

What is the difference between a BA major in Planning versus a BSc specialization in Planning?

Either degree will allow students to pursue a career in Planning. The two programs share a common core of Planning courses, but the remainder of the degrees differ. Applicants interested in focusing on natural science elements, water resources, environmental management issues such as impacts of developments on wetlands, wildlife corridors, and naturally sensitive areas should consider the BSc program. Also, those interested in the use of Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) should consider the BSc program. Those interested in the aesthetic, economic, and social issues of planning should consider the BA major in Planning. Students should review the requirements for each of the degrees before applying. (find them here)

Is the Planning program accredited?

Yes, the program was granted full accreditation from Planning Standards Board (PSB) of Canada and the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (APPI) in 2016.  Students graduating from the program will be eligible to apply for membership in the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the APPI, and to pursue designation as a Registered Professional Planner (RPP).

What are the admission requirements?

A minimum of 2.3 GPA is required to apply for admission, however this does not guarantee admission. Admission is highly competitive and in recent years admission GPAs have been 3.3 or better.

How many credits does one take for a major in Planning?

An undergraduate degree is generally 120 credits, and the BA and BSc have different degree requirements for a Planning major.  Students should take care to follow their program carefully, as outlined in the University Calendar for the year in which they were admitted.  Students following the calendar do not need to ‘count’ credits for their major as these are met by completing the required courses.

Can I do an after degree program in Planning?

If you already have a Bachelor's degree, you may apply for an After Degree in either Arts or Science.  You will still need to complete all of the normal requirements for the degree (either BSc or BA) but in most cases it will take you less time since you may have completed some of the requirements already in your first degree.

Does the Program offer optional courses?

The program offers many optional courses, including our ‘variable topics courses’ HGP 381 and HGP 485 which can change every term. Recent topics offered through these classes include: Heritage Planning, Parks Planning, Urban Design, Transportation Planning, Healthy Cities, Transit Urbanism, Rural Planning, Sustainable Planning and Zoning.

What is the difference between Human Geography and Planning?

Both disciplines have a strong focus on the relationship between people and their environments. The BA Major or Minor in Human Geography focuses on a broad-based arts education examining environmental issues and socio-spatial relations. Our faculty have expertise in environmental issues such as natural disasters, social policy, and international and economic development. The BA Major or Minor in Human Geography degree provides students with the ability to choose courses connected to their personal interests and develop a broad base of general knowledge that they can take into the workplace. In fact, many of our Human Geography graduates have moved onto careers in various fields such as heritage conservation, recreation, international development, the travel industry, and environmental conservation.

Our Planning Program, by comparison, trains students to enter the workforce as a professional planner by taking a set of courses that will provide them with both the practical and theoretical knowledge required by practitioners in the field. Planning, as a profession, has a well-established history and tradition that has evolved through practice and research about the orderly arrangement of the places in which people live. An education in Planning requires that students explore not only the theory of planning but also the application of planning including the function of planning law, planning ethics, processes of community involvement, and approaches to conflict resolution. Planners are linked to one another not only by professional interest but through membership in Professional planning organizations both here in Canada and around the world.

Applicants should spend some time familiarizing themselves with both geography and planning as disciplines prior to applying. A key question might be ‘what do I want to do in the future?’ If the answer is ‘be a planner’, then the optimal route would be to apply to the Planning program.  If it is another career, the flexibility of the Human Geography program might be more beneficial. More details on the Human Geography program can be found at http://hg.eas.ualberta.ca