Geography BS Urban & Regional Planning

Program Purpose


Planners guide the development of their neighborhoods, towns, and regions by applying conceptual, analytical, communication, and technological skills. Planners who have graduated from this program are employed in real estate and development, private consultancies, local governments, and federal or state land agencies.

This emphasis has a solid core of classes designed to give the student valuable understanding concerning the nature and importance of land use and resource planning. The focus is not only on conceptual knowledge, but on professional skills, including verbal and written communication, GIS and statistical analysis, creative and critical thinking, and working in teams with a variety of stakeholders. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities in the area to gain practical experience in an internship. The final result is a graduate who will work successfully with people to help fashion their communities with the skill of a professional land use planner. Graduates of this program have also pursued advanced degrees in geography, public administration, and real estate law.

Curricular Structure

BS Geography general information

Catalog Information

Major Academic Plan

Learning Outcomes


The Geography Core learning outcomes are correlated with five of the six essential elements of the 1994 National Geography Standards (NGS).  The specialized outcomes of this emphasis are focused on developing further competency in these six elements, the eighteen specific standardswithin these elements, and the five geographic skills in the standard; the correlated standards are cited in each outcome.  Planning emphasis outcomes are also correlated with the four curriculum standards in the 2006 Accreditation Document from the Planning Accreditation Board(PAB).

BS Geography Core: Students who successfully the core courses in the BS Geography degree should be able to (at a basic level):

Core geographic knowledge and skills

Understand, explain and apply the NGS-related foundational concepts of Human Societies and Spatiality, Physical Environments, Human-Environmental Interaction, Regional Geography, Critical Spatial Thinking, and Effective Communication.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 100
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge

Emphasis Specialization: Students who successfully complete the Planning Emphasis should be able to fulfill the core outcomes, and to:

Understand Human Settlement as it relates to Urban Planning

Identify and describe the social, economic, legal, and environmental structure of urban and regional systems and how these play out spatially in the urban landscape.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 310 GEOG 336 GEOG 410 GEOG 421 GEOG 422 GEOG 423 GEOG 424
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge
Understand Historical and Contemporary Planning Practice

Evaluate new and historic projects to identify patterns of failure and strategies for success.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 310 GEOG 410 GEOG 421 GEOG 424
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly
Possess the Skills Needed to Practice Planning

Develop coherent solutions to urban and other land management issues, that respect the diverse (and sometimes conflicting) needs of planners, engineers, architects, land developers, elected officials, and citizens including using the methods of of plan creation, plan adoption, and plan implementation to bring about the greatest pubic good while mitigating foreseeable negative impacts.

Courses that Contribute: GEOG 422 GEOG 423
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence, Character
Plan Development

Create plans, maps, ordinances, and reports to communicate effectively with citizens and officials concerning planning issues and solutions

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence

Evidence of Learning


Direct Measures

Indirect Measures

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


  1. Two standing committees of the department are involved: the Undergraduate Education committee (three members selected by the chair), and the program curriculum committee composed of all faculty focused in Planning. In both committees, most effort is concentrated during the summer to avoid distraction during the school year.
  2. Throughout the school year, the Undergraduate Education Committee uses university, college, and department tools to gather raw assessment data.
  3. At the end of the school year (late April-early May), this Committee analyzes and discusses the assessment data with respect to the learning outcomes. They identify significant successes, and problems that need to be resolved. They prepare a brief report.
  4. At the final faculty meeting of the year (mid-May), the Undergraduate Education Committee presents their findings to the rest of the faculty. The Undergraduate Education Committee (or another standing or ad hoc committee if appropriate) is charged with developing solutions to department-wide issues. The program curriculum committee is charged with developing solutions to program-specific issues. This should take 1-2 hours.
  5. During the summer, committees meet as needed and develop solutions. Each prepares a brief report outlining specific proposals. This may include program requirement changes, new or deleted courses, course alterations, teacher development, and such.
  6. At the department retreat (late August), each committee presents its proposals. Faculty discuss and vote on proposals. This should take 2-3 hours.
  7. The Undergraduate Education Committee prepares and submits applications for curriculum changes in September for consideration by the University for the following school year.