Shannon Van Zandt
The Master of Urban Planning program at Texas A&M has vaulted into the upper echelon of programs of its kind in new rankings published by Planetizen, an independent, online platform that reports urban planning news and resources.
The lists, compiled from a nationwide survey and additional statistical data, ranked Texas A&M’s program 2nd in the nation among small planning programs — those with an average of less than 35 students over a three-year period — and 15th among all public university programs.
“The program is a gem in the College of Architecture, setting the standard for thought leadership in interdisciplinary problem-solving,” said Dawn Jourdan, executive associate dean of the College of Architecture. “Its nationally prominent faculty and top-notch students make an impact in Texas and beyond through engaged research and practice.”
Attending a small planning program at a big school with is a tremendous advantage for students, said Shannon Van Zandt, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. “Students get all the resources of a top-tier research university, with all the benefits of a small program — great access to professors, a close cohort, and small classes. I really think our program offers the best value out there.”
Van Zandt said the program’s lofty status is due in part to a variety of high-impact research opportunities for graduate planning students that include sustainable communities, African-American settlements and social justice.
There are also options for disaster research and planning, and engagement with residents in small Texas communities
“The trend in urban planning toward more attention to climate change and natural disasters has shined a light on the wonderful applied work at the Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, which engages and excites the students that are involved,” she said. “Students’ planning efforts in the Texas Target Communities program with residents in towns affected by climate change has led to national awards for our students.”
The graduate urban planning program was also ranked in several additional lists: sixth in Top Programs Offering Online Courses and 11th in Top Programs Allowing Part-Time Study.