UF’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning graduate program was ranked the 14th best out of all graduate urban planning programs.
This new ranking puts the department in the College of Design, Construction and Planning three spots above its 2012 ranking and next to schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The graduate program also placed first in the Southeastern Conference.
“We’re up there in the big leagues, and we want to stay in the big leagues,” said Christopher Silver, dean of the college.
The list was published by Planetizen, a source for urban planning news, editorials and jobs. The publication’s Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs surveyed 97 schools with urban planning master’s degrees and considered factors such as grade point averages, faculty publications and opinion surveys.
Kristin Larsen, director of the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, said the publication is the only one that ranks solely graduate planning programs and is the go-to publication for students.
“It’s important because faculty at other universities look at these rankings, and they pay attention to these rankings,” Larsen said. “It’s a way for us to compare our program and strengthen it further.”
According to Larsen, the department has 13 faculty members and about 122 students. It’s the first graduate planning program in U.S. to have a fully online master’s degree, which was established in 2012. Larsen said the online component might be a reason the school has gained recognition.
“This definitely helps draw students in,” she said.
The Department of Urban and Regional Planning celebrated its 40th anniversary last Thursday.
Silver said the rankings help recruit new students and keep alumni proud. The school is gaining recognition because of the quality of research, publications and students that come out of the school, he said.
“Part of it is being productive but also highly visible among those who answer the questionnaire and identify which programs are the best in the country,” he said.
[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/14/2014]