PhD in Urban and Regional Planning Admissions

We invite applications from highly qualified and motivated candidates interested in pursuing a career in research and teaching. Candidates should ideally hold a master’s degree in planning or a related field, and must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in graduate coursework. International candidates must demonstrate proficiency in English as per standards set by the University at Buffalo. 

Join us for an online info session to learn more about our programs, or sign up for a Q&A to talk to a member of our graduate admissions team.

1. Apply online

2. Submit your official credentials

The following documentation should be uploaded to your online application. 

Complete applications must include the following, uploaded to your online application:

  • NOTE: Effective for the Fall 2024 term, the Graduate School will no longer require PhD applicants to submit test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other standardized national exams (e.g., Miller Analogies Test [MAT]) for admission to UB PhD programs. PhD Program Directors may decide if PhD admissions requirements for their program will include or exclude the GRE or other standardized tests.  
  • Please note: The Graduate School’s Executive Committee (GSEC) has approved a temporary suspension of the Standardized Test Requirement for PhD Level policy for fall 2021 admission cycles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This change is reflected in the policy library on the Graduate School website.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources
  • Research statement or essay (minimum of 1500 words) explaining the applicant’s research interests and career goals. Applicants are encouraged to identify faculty members in the School of Architecture and Planning whose research interests may best match their own.
  • Writing sample from prior academic work. Writing sample should reflect individual work. The writing sample could be a term paper or research paper you wrote, your part of a professional report, part of your thesis, or a published article. Please submit no more than the length of a standard journal article, the equivalent of about 20 printed pages. If you send a part of your thesis, please also send a table of contents and abstract, so we understand how the part fits into the larger work.


TOEFL Score (international applicants ONLY)

Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency with either a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic score. Students taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must score 213 or higher on the computer-based version, or 79 on the internet-based version. Students submitting an International English Language System (IELTS) score must have earned a 6.5 overall score with no individual subscore below 6.0. 

Test scores must be dated within two years of the time the application is reviewed:

TOEFL department code  97
GRE department code  4402
Institution code  2925

Academic Transcripts

A copy of unofficial transcripts must be uploaded to the application along with a copy of the certified English translation for all post-secondary academic work.

  • Admitted students will have to provide both official transcripts and proof of degree (either originals or Certified True Copies) upon arrival at the university. If Certified True Copies, the copies must be issued / stamped by either the Office of Records and Registration or the Examiner's Office. Copies certified as true copies by other university offices or personnel are not acceptable.

Proof of Degree or Provisional Certificate

Upon arrival at the university, students will have to submit a document. (bearing the original seal of your undergraduate institution)

International Applicant Financial Form

International applicants must document their ability to meet all educational and living expenses for the entire period of their intended study before the university can issue a Certificate of Visa Eligibility (Form I-20 or IAP-66). This form requires original documentation of financial support, including verification of personal/family savings, official scholarship from institutions or embassies, financial support letters from your government or employer, or official letters from credit institutions indicating approval of loans.

Student's Passport

A copy of the student's passport biographical page is required for students from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Middle East/Gulf. It is recommended for students from all other countries. Faxed and scanned copies are also acceptable.


  • Fall Semester admissions - January 15, 2024 (Doctoral applications and all supporting materials are due by this date)

Review of applications for Fall admissions begins on January 15.

Financial Support

Research positions, teaching assistantships, tuition scholarships and other financial support are available through the School, Department, research centers and faculty research projects. These sources of support vary from year-to-year. Applicants to the PhD program should check the department’s website periodically for announcements about new opportunities for financial support. Applicants should express their interest in being considered for financial support during the application process. Decisions about financial support are made after admission is offered to the PhD program.