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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Urban Planning Top Colleges, Eligibility, Admission Process, Scope, Jobs, Salary 2023

PhD Urban Planning is a doctorate level programme offered in Architecture colleges of duration three years and above. Candidates conduct research on various urban planning topics like Urban Development, Transport Planning, Sustainable Development, Infrastructure Development etc.

The eligibility criteria to be admitted into the PhD Urban Planning programme is having a Master of Architecture or a Masters in Planning degree with at least 55% and above aggregate score. The degree must have been completed from a recognized board of education. Admissions are done on both merit basis and on the basis of entrance examination and a round of personal interview.

Check out: Top Urban Planning Colleges in India

A number of colleges around the country offer the programme and have ranked high by many ranking agencies annually. Some of the top colleges are IIT Roorkee, SPA New Delhi, SPA Bhopal etc. The average course fee charged for the programme is around INR 60,000 to INR 1.5 lacs annually.

The top five colleges that offer PhD Urban Planning programmes, as per India Today Architecture rankings are as follows along with their average annual fees and average placement package.

India Today Architecture Rank  College Name Admission Process Average Annual Fees Average Placement Package
1 Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee Entrance Examination INR 37,500  INR 6.02 lakhs
2 School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi Merit Basis INR 81,600 INR 5.45 lakhs
4 School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal Merit Basis INR 80,000 INR 4.2 lakhs
6 Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra Entrance Examination INR 20,000  INR 4.8 Lakhs
8 School of Planning and Technology, Mysore Merit Basis INR 97,600  INR 3.9 Lakhs

Upon completion of the programme, some of the job profiles candidates are hired onto are Professor, Urban Planner, Urban Designer, City Planner, Architects etc. The top hiring companies or areas of industry that hire PhD Urban Planning candidates are Architecture and Planning companies, Urban Development companies, Colleges and Institutes etc. The average placement package is around INR 5 lacs to INR 10 lacs p.a.

The programme structure involves learning different research methods, processes and designs. Some institutes also teach candidates about learning how to read, create and present scientific papers with topics with topics related to chosen specialization. Urban Planners have to learn about designing the structures after taking in account environmental, social, political, technical, and economic factors.

The goal of the programme is to earn a more practical viewpoint of urban planning. Upon completing the programme, one is hired on as educators, Urban Planners, Urban Designers, Transport Planners, Rural Planners etc.

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PhD Urban Planning Highlights

Course Level Doctorate
Full-Form Doctor of Philosophy
Duration 3 years
Examination type Semester System
Eligibility M.Arch. or M.Plan masters degree with at least 55% aggregate score
Admission Process Merit Basis/ Entrance Examination and Personal Interview
Course Fee INR 60,000 to INR 1.5 lacs
Average Salary INR 5 lacs to INR 10 lacs p.a.
Top Recruiting Companies Planning and architecture companies, construction companies, designing companies, Town planning companies, Education and research centres, etc.
Job Positions Urban Planner, Urban Designer, City Planner, Planning Manager, Architects, Survey researchers, Transport Planner, etc.

Why Study PhD Urban Planning?

Candidates choose urban planning as a career choice, for multiple reasons, for money, advancement to high positions etc. There are many other reasons why Urban Planning is a perfect career for many. Some of the reasons have been stated below.

  • High pay: Urban planners are required by organizations, public and private to work on large scale projects. Considering the scale of the projects urban planners work on, the pay is on the higher side. The starting pay will be on the higher side for fresh graduates.
  • Career Opportunities: In respect of the career options available to a PhD Urban Planning graduate, the options are numerous. One can work as an educator in institutes or work with city administrations on projects or with private organizations on small scale projects.
  • Passion for sustainable infrastructure: Urban designs are designed to be environmentally sustainable. If one is passionate about creating infrastructure that they hold pride over, Urban Planning is the perfect choice.
  • Work in a fast paced environment: Urban Planning is a quiet fast paced and competitive job. If one is able to function their best in such an environment and thrive best career wise, then urban planning is the way to go.

What is PhD Urban Planning Admission Process?

Admissions are conducted into PhD Urban Planning is done through both merit basis and through entrance examinations. Details and a step by step process of both admission methods have been stated below.

Merit Based Admission

The process for merit based admission process for PhD Urban Planning is mentioned below:

  • Registration: Institutes will announce registration dates when seats open up for Ph.D. programmes. Registration can be done online by creating a profile using name, email id, phone number.
  • Fill up details: Fill up the application form with details of all educational pursuits, internships, job experiences, references etc.
  • Upload documents: Important documents like transfer certificates and mark sheets need to be scanned and uploaded. The documents must be in a specific format and size only.
  • Application Fee: Pay a minimum application fee online to process the application. Credit cards, debit cards and all other major payment methods can be used.
  • Admission: Once the institute processes and evaluates the application, an offer letter for admission will be given. Admission can now be taken.

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Entrance Examination Based Admission

The Entrance Examination for admission for PhD Admission Process is mentioned below:

  • Registration: Registration opens up annually based on the number of seats available. Online registration can be done by creating a profile.
  • Fill up details: Fill up the application form with past educational achievements including internships and projects done, job experience etc.
  • Upload documents: Scan and upload mark sheets, transfer certificates, passport photograph and a copy of the signature online. Size and format must be paid attention to.
  • Application/Examination Fee: Pay the application fee or an examination fee to process the application. Payment is accepted through all major online payment methods.
  • Admit Card and Examination: Once submitted applications are evaluated, admit cards will be issued for the entrance exam. Download past papers and syllabus for the exam and appear for it.
  • Results: Results are declared after a couple of weeks.
  • Personal Interview: Upon qualifying the entrance examination round, results are declared. Selected candidates are then invited for a personal interview round where research proposals are evaluated.
  • Admission: If the personal interview round is cleared, an offer letter for admission is offered to the candidate. Admission can now be taken by paying an admission fee.

What is PhD Urban Planning Eligibility Criteria?

The eligibility criteria for admission into the Urban Planning doctorate programme differs widely from college to college. However, the top ranking colleges require their candidates to meet the following eligibility criteria.

  • Candidates must either have a M.Arch or a M.Plan degree completed from a recognized board of education.
  • Candidates need to have a minimum 55% aggregate score to be eligible for admission.
  • Entrance examinations accepted for admission are GATE, BITS Mesra Written Test, VTU ETR etc.
  • For institutes that conduct a personal interview round, a research proposal will be required stating research objective, process and methodology etc.

Also See:

What are PhD Urban Planning Entrance Exams? 

Exam Name Application Deadline Examination Date
CSIR UGC NET (June Session) 2nd week of March – 2nd week of April 2023 3rd week of June 2023
UGC NET (July Session) December 29, 2022 – January 23, 2023 February 21, 2023 – March 10, 2023
ICAR AICE JRF/SRF  To be Announced To be Announced

How to prepare for PhD Urban Planning Entrance Exams?

Entrance examinations like the GATE are quite tough and require intensive practice and preparation. For a first time candidate, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the preparation. To help students, the following tips can be used while preparing for PhD Urban Planning entrance exams.

  • Download the examination syllabus and past papers from the institute’s website.
  • Start preparations early. For examinations with a large syllabus, starting early is the best way to ensure no topic is missed out.
  • Basic concepts or architecture and urban planning covered at the bachelor’s and masters level must be revised and must be clear.
  • Read the daily news and current affairs through newspapers. Most examinations have a separate section covering current affairs and general knowledge.
  • Take mock tests using past papers while timing oneself.
  • Take care of health and diet. One needs to be mentally and physically fit to make sure one performs their best on the exam day.

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How to Get Admission in a Good PhD Urban Planning College?

India has a number of top ranking colleges offering premier and quality Urban Planning programmes. Each college has additional features that make them more attractive like lower course fee or a higher placement package. To help candidates to choose the best college to pursue a PhD Urban Planning, the following pointers will be helpful.

  • Keep track of application deadlines for merit based admissions and entrance examination deadlines. Deadlines are changed as per availability of seats.
  • Basic knowledge of the chosen topic of research must be thorough and clear. It is covered in the written test and also in the personal interview round.
  • Take care in preparing the research proposal. It must state the research objective, methodology and the process of how the research will be conducted. The proposal will be evaluated in the personal interview round.
  • Talk to seniors and mentors for help in preparation for the admissions round. Do not hesitate to ask for help to decide the college to take admission into.

See Also:

PhD Urban Planning Top Colleges 

National Institutional Ranking Framework is the annual ranking list prepared on behalf of the Ministry of HRD. The agency prepares multiple ranking lists for Architecture, Pharmacy, Engineering, Law etc. As per NIRF Architecture rankings, state the following top ten institutes that offer a Phd. in Urban Planning programme.

NIRF Architecture Rank  College Name City Average Annual Fees in INR Average Placement Package
1 Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur INR 5,000 INR 5 lacs 
2 Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee INR 37,500 INR 6.02 lacs 
4 Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University Ahmedabad INR 1.9 lacs INR 4.9 lacs 
5 School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi INR 81,600 INR 5.45 lacs 
6 Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology Shibpur INR 28,000 INR 4.8 lacs 
7 School of Planning and Architecture Bhopal INR 80,000 INR 4.2 lacs
9 School of Planning and Architecture Vijayawada INR 53,500 INR 5.81 lacs
13 Birla Institute of Technology Mesra INR 20,000 INR 4.80 Lacs
14 BMS College of Architecture Bengaluru INR 25,000 INR 4 lacs 
15 Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology Bhopal INR 13,907  INR 4.78 Lacs

PhD Urban Planning College Comparison

For candidates deciding between colleges to take admission into, one often encounters a hard time deciding the best college. To help candidates choosing between the best college a comparison table has been made. The top three colleges that offer PhD Urban Planning in India are a comparison of all three are as follows.

Parameters Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra
Overview Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee previously called the University of Roorkee, IIT Roorkee is a public technical and research institute. School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi is a part of a multi campus public premier educational institute offering architecture programmes. Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, established in 1955, BIT Mesra was established under the Sec 3 of UGC Act.
Rank India Today: 1 NIRF: 2 India Today: 2 NIRF: 5 India Today: 6 NIRF: 13
Average Fee INR 37,500 INR 81,600 INR 20,000
Average Placement Package INR 6.02 lacs p.a. INR 5.45 lacs p.a. INR 5.35 Lacs

PhD Urban Planning Course Specializations

The specializations for PhD Urban Planning are different from institute to institute. Most of the top ranking colleges offer the following specializations which are the most popular.

Specialisation Name Description Average Course Fee (INR) Average Placement Package (INR)
Urban Planning and Design Urban Planning and Design is the planning of infrastructure, buildings and features of cities and towns based on city policies and strategies. All designs and plans are done keeping in mind the environment and sustainable design. INR 1,00,000 INR 5.16 lacs 
Rural Planning Rural planning course specialization focuses on development of rural areas including designing of rural public and private infrastructure. Much of the focus of rural planning is on creating structures that are sustainable and not environmentally damaging. INR 50,000 INR 4.9 lacs 
Infrastructure and Transportation Planning This specialisation deals with learning about build up of canals, railways, airways, roads, warehouses, bus depots, airports, railway stations etc. These are large scale projects and are built for city administration 1,50,000 5.44 lacs 

PhD Urban Planning Syllabus 

The syllabus structure for a PhD Urban Planning programme includes studying basic research methodology, learning about reading and presenting scientific papers in seminars, basics of planning and topic specific subjects. At the end of the programme, a thesis is prepared and presented on the basis of which the doctorate degree is awarded. A sample syllabus for the programme is as follows.

Semester I: Research Methodology Semester 2: Seminar
Research Problem Formulating Problem Statement
Basic Instrumentation Literature Survey
Applied Statistics How to study a scientific paper
Modeling and Prediction of Performance Publishing a paper
Developing a research proposal How to present a scientific paper
Semester 3: Methodologies for Architecture and Planning Semester 4: Branch Specific Topics
Genesis of Architectural Research Urban Planning and Design
Research Topologies in Architectural Research Rural Planning
Tools for data collection Infrastructure & Transportation Planning
Sampling Participatory Planning
Probability and Sampling Environmental Management and Impact Assessment
Measures of association and hypothesis testing -
Correlations and Regression -
Graph theory -
Social and Visual research Methods -
Quantitative, Qualitative and Spatial Analysis -
Phenomenological, Behavioral Science and Environmental Psychological Study -
Concepts and Research Methods in Psychology -
Decision Making Models -

PhD Urban Planning Course Comparison

PhD Urban Planning programme is often confused with M.Phil in Urban Planning. Both of the programmes differ in many aspects which has been described below.

Parameters M.Phil Urban Planning PhD Urban Planning
Overview This is a one year long programme pursued after completing a Masters in the same field. This is a doctorate level programme that is completed over three to five years.
Focus Area Focus is one using another researcher’s work Focus is on primary information and new research
Eligibility Criteria M.Arch or M.Plan with 55% aggregate score from a recognized institute. M.Arch or M.Plan with 55% aggregate score from a recognized institute.
Admission Criteria Merit based Merit based and Entrance Examination
Average Course Fee INR 50,000 to INR 1 lacs INR 60,000 to INR 1.5 lacs
Average Placement Package INR 2 to INR 10 lacs p.a. INR 5 to INR 10 lacs p.a.

PhD Urban Planning Job 

The jobs available after doing PhD Urban Planning are mentioned below along with job description and PhD Urban Planning Salary of different professions.

Name of Job Profile Job Description Average salary in INR
Urban Planner Urban Planners meet and work with public officials, development plans to prepare plans for residential, commercial, transport, institutional areas. The planner also conducts intensive research before making the plan. INR 5.5 lacs p.a.
Urban Designer Urban Designers work as landscape designers, city and urban planning and also general architecture. They plan and design towns, cities, villages etc. INR 6 lacs p.a.
Architect Architects create design plans for new buildings, commercial projects, make alterations to existing projects and also redevelop projects etc. INR 5 lacs p.a.
Sustainability Consultant A Sustainable Consultant is hired onto companies to plan and execute sustainable business practices with respect to the environment. INR 4.5 lacs p.a.
Transport Planner Transport Planner plan and build transportation systems as per city needs. Transportation needs for cyclists and pedestrians are the main focus. INR 3.5 lacs p.a.
Phd Urban Planning Jobs

PhD Urban Planning Scope

After completing and earning a doctorate degree in Urban Planning candidates can be immediately hired in organizations. Some institutes like the SPA, New Delhi require their PhD candidates to teach the Masters level students while pursuing the PhD programme. The areas of the industry where a Urban Planning graduate is employed in are planning and architecture companies, construction companies, designing companies, town and rural planning companies, institutes and colleges etc.

The PhD Urban Planning is the highest level of educational degree one can earn in India. Post completion of the degree, candidates can either enroll in different programmes and change their career. If one wishes to do so, the following programmes can be opted.

Parameters MBA/PGDM LLB
Overview If one wishes to get into the management side of organizations, getting admitted into a MBA or PGDM programme is the way to go. Candidates are hired on Managers, GMs, etc. after graduation. Law is a preferred and reputer career choice of many. Candidates opt to study law programmes and work as lawyers, prosecutors, judges, legal team members of organizations etc.
Eligibility Criteria Bachelor’s degree with 55% aggregate score and above from a recognized institute Bachelor’s degree with at least 55% aggregate score from a recognized college.
Admission National entrance examination like CAT, XAT, MAT, GMAT etc. followed by a round of group discussion and personal interview. Admission is through a national exam like CLAT, AILET or LSAT etc.
Average Course Fee INR 2 to INR 30 lacs INR 1 lacs to INR 2 lacs
Average Placement Package INR 2 to INR 28 lacs p.a. INR 4 to INR 6 lacs p.a.
Top Colleges IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta etc. National Law School of India University, National Law University, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research

While the job profiles available are various, the most popular job profiles that seek out a PhD Urban Planning degree holder are Urban Planner, Urban Designer, City Planner, Planning Manager, Architects, Survey researchers, Transport Planner, etc. The average placement package ranges between INR 5 lacs to INR 10 lacs p.a.

PhD Urban Planning: FAQs

Ques: What is the full form of Ph.D.?

Ans. The full form is Doctorate of Philosophy.

Ques: What is the minimum duration of the programme?

Ans. The minimum duration is three years.

Ques: What is the eligibility criteria for the programme?

Ans. Candidates need to have a masters degree in Architecture or Planning with at least 60% aggregate score. An entrance exam score is also needed in some institutes.

Ques: What are the entrance exams that are accepted?

Ans. The accepted entrance exams are GATE, BITS Mesra Written Test, VTU ETR etc.

Ques: What is the difference between M.Phil and Ph.D.?

Ans. M.Phil is based on the study of other’s research work while Ph.D. is about researching new work and data.

Ques: What is the average course fee for the programme?

Ans. The average course fee is around INR 60,000 to INR 1.5 lakhs.

Ques: What is the admission process for the programme?

Ans. Admissions is on merit basis and through an entrance exam score and a personal interview round is held where candidates are required to bring in their research proposals.

Ques: What is the average placement package?

Ans. One can earn on average between INR 5 lakhs to INR 10 lakhs p.a.

Ques: What are some job profiles one can get hired into with a Ph.D. Urban Planning?

Ans. Some of the common job profiles one gets hired into are Urban Planner, Urban Designer, City Planner, Planning Manager, Architects, Survey Researchers, Transport Planner, etc.

Ques: What are the top colleges for Ph.D. Urban Planning?

Ans. The top three colleges are IIT Roorkee, SPA New Delhi, SPA Bhopal etc.

Ph.D. (Urban Planning) Fee Structure in India

22 K (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES75 K  (Maximum Fee)
48.50 K (Average Fee)
1.12 L (Minimum Fee)Private COLLEGES1.12 L (Maximum Fee)
1.12 L (Average Fee)


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