Welcome From the Director

Dear Prospective Student:

We are excited by the possibility of having you in our program!

I accepted the opportunity to lead the Urban and Public Affairs Program because it is a unique approach to higher education that brings together the disciplines of Urban Planning and Policy and Public Administration while embodying UIC’s philosophy of education - a practical approach to how cities and institutions operate that promotes efficiency, equity, and change.

Our current Bachelor of Urban and Public Affairs (UPA) degree offers students a great start in the fields of urban planning, public administration and public policy, preparing them for graduate school and jobs in public service or the non-profit sector. Undergrads keen on continuing to graduate school that excel in their performance may also be interested in our new "4+1" program, a program that allows students to take one additional year of coursework to simultaneously earn the UPA Bachelors and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) or in Public Administration (MPA).

UPA offers a multidisciplinary curriculum, drawing on fields as diverse as sociology, economics, political sciences, law, urban studies, community and economic development, urban planning, public policy and administration, and environmental sustainability. The program counts on the support of a Program Coordinator, who advises students and handles administrative matters, the staff of the department of Urban Planning and Policy where the program is housed, and the faculties of Urban Planning and Policy, and Public Administration. We are part of a small college and, as such, have a closely-knit environment.The program is organized by cohorts that allow students to advance together, learn from each other and hopefully get to know each other. The Students of Urban and Public Affairs Association (SUPAA) provides opportunities for leadership development, serves as a mechanism to provide ongoing feedback towards program improvements and organizes activities of the students’ choice. A truly exceptional feature of the program is its home in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, along with six urban-focused research centers or institutes offering multiple events that add tremendously to the curriculum.  Elements of the program such as the capstone and internships connect UPA students with research projects, community engagement, and public events.
Whether you are a potential new student to UIC, a current UIC student seeking a major that fits your interests, or a current UPA major, I wish to encourage you to peruse our website for a wealth of information. Our program seeks to offer a unique balance of broad appeal and practical focus. Please stay in touch with us by connecting with the UPA Facebook page. Thanks for stopping by.

John J. Betancur, PhD
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Urban Planning and Policy




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