PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design Admissions

The PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design at CU Denver is the only doctoral program in planning, architecture, or landscape architecture in the state of Colorado. Since 1997, the program has trained students to become high-impact faculty members, professionals, and intellectual leaders in fields that address urgent social and environmental issues.

Applicants admitted to the PhD Program must already hold a Master's degree and will normally have completed the requirements for the Master of Architecture, Master of Planning, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Geography, or a related program. Students from allied fields are also encouraged to apply, and field specialization and background are open.

Application Information

Admission to the PhD in Geography, Planning, and Design program is competitive and based on merit. We do not admit students directly into research groups; all prospective students go through a single application process. If your background and qualifications are a good fit to the current needs and interests of the program’s faculty, they may accept you with funding from one of their research projects. In your statement of interest, please be sure to describe your research interests and skills, as they will be important for determining whether you receive an offer of admission. GRE scores are not required for admission.

Consistent with the University requirements, applications are evaluated on previous work/life experience, research interests and abilities, prior academic success, and, where applicable, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Applicants whose native language is not English must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or have a graduate degree from a university in the U.S. or another English-speaking country.

For more information, please visit our International Admissions office.

Application Deadline

Fall 2024

Applications Open September 1

International Applicant Deadline: December 15, 2023

Domestic Applicant Deadline: January 15, 2024

*Please note all application materials including letters of recommendation, domestic transcripts, ECE Evaluations (if applicable), and English language proficiency scores (if applicable) must be received by the deadline.

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: You will submit the contact information in your application for three instructors or other professionals who can attest to your potential for our PhD program. They will receive an email from CU Denver with a link to upload their letters directly to your application.
  • Examples of previous research and written works
  • Transcript(s):
    • Domestic transcripts: Transcripts from each institution you have attended, except for study abroad courses, should be sent to the following:
      • Electronic Transcripts:
      • Mailing Address:
        College of Architecture and Planning
        University of Colorado Denver
        Campus Box 126
        P.O. Box 173364
        Denver, CO 80217-3364
    • International transcripts: Do not submit transcripts from foreign (non-US) institutions to CU Denver. Instead, you must provide an international credential evaluation report from Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES). You will send your transcripts to the evaluation provider of your choice, and the provider will send their evaluation report to CU Denver. After you submit your application, our International Admissions office will send you an email with a link to the specific landing pages where you can order your report for CU Denver’s use. ECE or WES will charge you for this service. The cost is $163 to $208, depending on your chosen service, plus delivery fees. If this cost is prohibitive, please contact us at If you have questions about the international credential evaluation, please contact International Admissions at or read our FAQs.
    • Students who are admitted and enrolled in the program will be required to subsequently submit official college transcripts. Notifications will be sent out prior to the start of the semester.
  • Statement of Personal and Professional Goals (Statement of Purpose)
  • Scores of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for non-U.S. residents whose native language is other than English. For more information, please visit our International Admissions office 
  • Students admitted into this program must have completed a Bachelor’s degree before they will be able to begin this program. An official conferred degree transcript is required by the university.

Did You Know?

Nearly all accepted students receive multi-year financial packages that cover some or all tuition and fees and a living stipend. PhD students also have opportunities to teach their own courses or work as research or teaching assistants alongside faculty from the college and across the university.

Current students are funded by grants and contracts from agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Babbitt CenterDenver Housing Authority (DHA), the Water Research Foundation, and the Gates Family Foundation.

The doctoral program also provides two additional internal funding opportunities:

  • $5,000 Dissertation Completion Fellowships for candidates in the dissertation phase
  • $1,000 Conference Travel Fellowships for students/candidates presenting papers at national conferences

In-State Tuition is available to Western state residents.

CAP has WICHE-WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program) status. This means that students who are residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States are granted in-state tuition.

Learn more about WICHE-WRGP for Graduate Students >>


Meet Our PhD Students

Our students come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is a shared interest in using critical and engaged research to assess the relationship between communities and the built and natural environment. We empower students with both academic and non-academic aspirations to become the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers, scientists, analysts, and decision-makers.

Contact Us!

Want to learn more about our PhD program, have questions about applying, and/or want to visit us on campus? Meet Advising and Admissions team.
Jeremy Nemeth

Jeremy Németh PhD

  • Administration and Instruction Services (CAP)
  • Urban and Regional Planning Department

I am a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Colorado Denver, where I have been a faculty member since 2007. My research looks at how planners, designers, and city dwellers can help create more socially and environmentally just places. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the built environment and social equity, and my recent work examines issues of "green gentrification," shrinking cities, disaster justice, and transportation equity.

My current projects focus on how planners can build more immigrant-friendly neighborhoods, and how COVID-19 rates have been shaped by legacies of redlining and other historically-racist urban policies. I have published several dozen peer-reviewed articles and my work has been highlighted in outlets such as the New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, USA Today, and The Guardian as well as NPR, Colorado Public Radio, and ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates. I also write editorials for the Denver Post and other newspapers and frequently produce articles of popular interest, such as a recent piece with Sarah Rowan published by the US News & World Report and PBS News hour.

I am dedicated to community impact, and I currently serve as a TIAA Chancellor’s Urban Engaged Scholar, which recognizes “outstanding contributions to the Denver metro region through community-engaged scholarship.” I am in the midst of a five-year term as a Fulbright Specialist, and in 2015-16 was a Fulbright Scholar at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre and a Visiting Professor at the University at Autónomade Barcelona.

In the College of Architecture and Planning, I previously served as Chair of the Department of Planning and Design from 2012-15 and Director of the Master of Urban Design program from 2008-15. I have taught a number of courses at CU Denver including Planning History and Theory, Social Justice and Planning, Parks and Public Spaces, Planning Capstone, Planning Project Studio, and Form and Formation of Cities.

I sit on and have chaired a number of dissertation and thesis committees for students in planning, landscape architecture, geography, and environmental design. I received my PhD in Planning and Public Policy from Rutgers University, an MSc in Development and Planning from University College London, and an AB in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. For more information about me, visit my website.

Areas of Expertise


Urban design, urban politics, land use planning, land use conflict, politics of public space, environmental justice, shrinking cities

Education, Licensure & Certifications


  • PhD, Planning and Public Policy - Rutgers University (2007)  
  • MS, Planning and Development - University College London (2001) 
  • BA, Architecture - University of California Berkeley (2000)



  • 2019-2024. Fulbright Specialist. US Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
  • 2019. TIAA Chancellor’s Urban Engaged Scholar. University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2018. Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2016. U.S-Italy Fulbright Scholar. Department of Architecture, Università degli Studi Roma Tre.
  • 2015. Public Health Hero Award (for Department of Planning and Design). Tri-County Health District.
  • 2012. Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2011. Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2010. Urban Affairs Association (UAA) Conference Travel Award. Stipend for travel to annual conference, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • 2008. American Planning Association(APA) Colorado Student Project Award. Supervisor. “Denver Union Station public space study”.
  • 2007. Urban Geography Graduate Student Fellowship. Association of American Geographers.
  • 2006. Fannie Mae Foundation Travel Award. Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Conference, Kansas City.
  • 2005. Alumni Scholarship Award. Rutgers Association of Planning and Policy Students.
  • 2005. Book review in Journal of the American Planning Association chosen by editor as a “Best Review” for Volume 71. 2004-7. Graduate Research Assistantship. Full tuition/stipend. Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University.
  • 2003. Pre-Dissertation Research Travel Grant – Havana. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University.


  • 2020. Open streets, for whom? COVID-19 responses, active living, and social equity. Office of Research Services, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2020. Diversity, social capital, and resilience: How can diverse communities resist gentrification? EVOLVE Grant Program, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2018. Designing for difference: Planning for integration in immigrant arrival neighborhoods. College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Research Innovation Seed Programs (CRISP), University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2018. Designing for difference: Planning for immigrant integration in Metro Denver’s arrival neighborhoods. EVOLVE Grant Program, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2017. Green gentrification in Chicago: Development, displacement, and community activism. Office of Research Services, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2016. Bringing Stein back in: Regional planning and equity in the 21st Century American West. Clarence S. Stein Institute, Cornell University.
  • 2013-15. Tri-County Health Department, Health Impact Assessment Grant, funded by Pew Trust.
  • 2015. Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism. Gates Family Foundation.
  • 2012-2015. National Park Service internship program. Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2014. Sustainable Communities Initiative: Outcome Assessment and Knowledge Sharing. Denver Regional Council of Governments.
  • 2014. NSF (RAPID): Affordable Housing and Equitable Recovery: A Study of the 2013 Colorado Flash Floods. National Science Foundation.
  • 2014. Income, Community Development, and Transit Quality in the Denver Region. Office of Research Services, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2014. Toward Equitable Recovery: Affordable Housing after the 2013 Colorado Floods. Office of Research Services, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2013. Understanding Household Recovery Following Colorado Flash Floods. Natural Hazards Center.
  • 2011. Privatization of public space: Incentive Zoning programs in the US. Center for Faculty Development, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2010. Spatial inventory training using various geospatial technology platforms. Center for Faculty Development, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2010. Development of sustainable joint urban design studio with Tongji University. Institute of International Business (IIB) CIBER program, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2009. Perceptions of publicness in NYC’s privately owned public spaces. Institute for the Social Sciences, Cornell University.
  • 2008. Lost space: Security zones and the shrinking of public space. Center for Faculty Development, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2008. Denver Union Station public space studio course. Open Space Initiative Group, Denver. **Winner of APA Colorado Student Project Award**
  • 2007. Control by design: Encouraging diversity in Denver’s public spaces. Center for Faculty Development, University of Colorado Denver.
  • 2007. Inner ring suburb design/redevelopment study. Wheat Ridge 2020.