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School of Urban and Regional Planning

Bachelor of Environmental Studies
(Honours Urban and Regional Planning Program)

Nature of the Program

The emphasis of the program is on planning as a process, conceived in broad terms to include policy making, research and decision making. The subject focus is regional; that is, the integrated planning of regions, large and small. It includes urban-centred or core regions and rural components in which the policy emphasis is on environmental issues and other contexts typical of the Canadian scene, in which resource potentials are not yet realized, and where development issues and problems of human adjustment are in the forefront.

To implement this approach, the School of Urban and Regional Planning has gathered a team of faculty with diverse academic and practical planning experience.

The broad aim of the School is to prepare the student for active participation in the planning process. This approach gives equal emphasis to the 'why' and 'how' of planning and requires that a style be adopted that strives for a continuum between classroom and field experience, between planning studies and related disciplines, and between academic studies and future professional practice. Realizing this concept requires integration within the program of selected elements from geography, social sciences and pure and applied sciences. For this purpose, the School of Urban and Regional Planning has been located in a Faculty with an interdisciplinary approach to a wide range of environmental issues.

The program gives a well-rounded preparation for a wide variety of professional or graduate work in urban planning, regional planning and resource development. Courses on the theory, methods and philosophy of planning provide an integrating framework. The student is also given an opportunity to pursue a special interest in economic, social, and ecological issues in planning, or in planning methodology. This is done through the selection of elective courses. Students are also encouraged to select Senior Honours Essay Topics from these special fields of interest.

The integration of practical work experience into the program is considered an important part of the educational process. Students will be brought into direct contact with the profession and will be exposed to problems typical of those encountered in practice, as well as being introduced to projects and operations beyond the scope of any university laboratory.

The Co-operative program provides for alternative terms of practical work experience and academic study. Planning Co-op is a limited enrolment program. Interested students must apply to this stream of study in November of their first term of Year Two. Admission is based on academic standing. An interview may be required. The first work term is in the Spring following completion of second year. A work-term report is required upon completion of each work term and four of these must be graded as "satisfactory" in order to graduate. Inquiries regarding Co-operative studies should be directed to the School's Co-op Program Coordinator, or the Department of Co-operative Education and Career Services.

The Regular program encourages students to actively seek work experience during the summer months of their second and third years.

Because of the importance of effective communication, an OAC English is required. Incoming students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in written English through the English Language Proficiency Examination (ELPE) offered by the English Department at the start of the fall term. Students who have a final grade of 80% or higher in English OAC 1 are exempt from writing the ELPE. If necessary, students will take the appropriate remedial work in addition to normal course and credit requirements. With an increased emphasis in the profession on quantitative techniques, students are encouraged to take at least one Ontario Academic Course credit in Mathematics. Finite is recommended. Students with deficiencies in these areas can elect to take equivalent or remedial courses in their first year of the program.


Additional Information

The Planning programs are recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners and an increasing number of employers as a satisfactory preparation for a wide range of careers.


  1. Academic Standing
    Students must obtain a minimum average of 65% in the overall average and 70% in the major average (Planning and Environmental Studies courses) throughout the four years of their program. In order to proceed to subsequent years, students must also obtain minimum credits and term courses as follows: Year One - five credits (ten term courses); Year Two - ten credits (20 term courses); Year Three - 15 credits (30 term courses); Year Four - 20 credits (40 term courses).
    Students may be granted conditional standing at the discretion of the School, which permits a student to proceed to a subsequent year on a conditional basis. Should the student be permitted to continue on the basis of "conditional" due to average and/or course credit standing, and if subsequently the required averages are not met this second time, or credit deficiencies not cleared, withdrawal from the program will be required.
  2. Course Loads and Sequencing
    Year One students must select courses from first-year level only with the exception of ENV S 200. Students in the School of Planning are expected to carry a minimum load of ten term courses in each of the four years of the program. However, students interested in taking extra courses are free to take a six term course load in any given term without approval from the School; preregistration for more than six term courses may only be done with the Undergraduate Advisor's approval.
  3. First-Year Term Courses
    No more than 12 term courses (six credits) at the first-year level will be allowed toward the 40 required to graduate (20 credits).
  4. Admission to Year Two
    To enter Year Two of Urban and Regional Planning from Year One, a student must obtain a minimum cumulative overall average of 65.0% and 70.0% in Planning and Environmental Studies courses and must obtain credit standing in ten term courses. In subsequent years, a student must maintain a cumulative overall average of 65.0% and 70.0% in Planning and Environmental Studies courses, as well as obtain credit standing in an additional ten term courses each year of the program.
    It is possible for non-Planning students to apply for admission to Year Two. Advanced standing may be obtained through the transfer of credits from other programs and institutions. However, advanced standing will not be granted to transfer students beyond the Year One level (ten term course credits). All transfer students are required to complete a minimum of three full academic years in the program Years Two - Four) before being eligible for graduation.
    All students admitted to the program with advanced standing must have their program for each year approved by the Undergraduate Advisor.
  5. Joint Honours and Minors
    Although the School does not share in Joint Honours programs, Planning students are encouraged to participate in the Minors offered by other departments. Students choosing Minors (in such programs as Canadian Studies, Political Science, and Management Studies) are referred to the regulations of those programs. See other faculty and department sections in this Calendar regarding Minors available.
  6. A Business Option, offered jointly with Wilfrid Laurier University, is available. The requirements of the Business Option are outlined in "Academic Programs".
  7. The School reserves the right to make changes to the curriculum as necessary. Please consult the School prior to registration.
  8. Program Manual
    A number of important program guidelines and regulations are covered in the Undergraduate Program Manual available from the Undergraduate Advisor. Program areas covered include: Admission, Courses, Examinations, English Language Proficiency Requirement, Records and Transfers, Registration, Co-op, Appeals and Discipline, Academic Standing, Senior Honours Essay, and Leave of Absence. Students are expected to refer to this manual in all matters concerning academic conduct.


Honours Urban and Regional Planning Program (Regular and Co-op)

Year One
Required Planning Courses

PLAN 100 Introduction to Urban Planning Concepts and Techniques
PLAN 101 Urban Planning Concepts and Techniques
ENGL 109 Introduction to Academic Writing
PLAN 110 Graphics for Planners
PLAN 130 Social Concepts for Planners
ENV S 178 Introduction to Environmental Research Methods
ENV S 200 Field Ecology
ARTS 000Y English Language Proficiency Program (No credit)

Year One Elective Courses (3)

Choose one elective from each of the three areas listed below. 1. Biophysical 2. Economics/Politics 3. General Interest

For a listing of the courses included under each area, see the current School Undergraduate Program Manual.

Required and elective courses together will total ten term courses - all courses to be at the first-year level except ENV S 200. Before making a final selection in these courses, students must check that prerequisites have been covered for courses which they might take in Years Two, Three and Four.

Year Two
Required Planning Courses

PLAN 210 Principles of Environmental Design
PLAN 250 The Small Group in the Planning Process
PLAN 255 Introduction to GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
ENV S 201 Introduction to Environmental and Planning Law
ENV S 278 Advanced Environmental Research Methods

Year Two Elective Courses (5)

Choose two or more second year Planning courses and any other electives, for a total of 10 term courses. For a listing of the second year Planning courses see current School Undergraduate Program Manual.

Year Three
Required Planning Courses

PLAN 300 Planning Theory
PLAN 302 Studio 1
PLAN 350 Social Research Techniques in Planning
PLAN 390 Senior Honours Essay Proposal

Year Three Elective Courses (6)

Choose three or more third year Planning courses and any other electives, for a total of 10 term courses. For a listing of the third year Planning courses see current School Undergraduate Program Manual.

Year Four
Required Planning Courses

PLAN 400 Challenges and Ethics in Planning
PLAN 401 Studio 2
PLAN 403 The Organizational, Political and Economic Contexts of Planning Practice
PLAN 404 Organization and Issue Analysis
PLAN 490 Senior Honours Essay

Year Four Elective Courses (5)

Choose two or more fourth year Planning courses and any other electives, for a total of 10 term courses. For a listing of the fourth year Planning courses see current School Undergraduate Program Manual.

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