Master of Urban Planning Transnational Planning Stream

Many academic planning programs in the U.S. structure their specializations and areas of concentration such that international planning issues are covered in a separate subfield labeled "international planning" or "international development planning" that is intended to serve a distinct professional career path. In contrast, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning recognizes that even students preparing to practice solely within the United States benefit from exposure to international best practices in various planning subfields as well as an understanding of the implications of growing international linkages among cities and regions. Moreover, those students that are seeking careers specifically in international development planning and related fields are best served by developing expertise within one or more substantive planning concentrations (land use and transportation, community development, economic development, sustainable design and development, GIS) in addition to knowledge of the international planning field.

DURP's Transnational Planning Stream is therefore not designed as a separate concentration, but rather as a set of courses and learning opportunities supplementing the Department's other concentrations. This is a unique aspect of the curriculum at UIUC: transnational planning education is designed to work with, rather than in lieu of, other planning subfields.

The Transnational Planning Stream seeks to promote critical thinking and analytical skills by focusing on the history of international development planning, globalization as an influence on the growth and development of foreign and domestic cities and regions, the ethics and politics of contemporary development, and international planning theory and practice. To achieve these, Transnational Planning Stream stresses combining classroom learning with field-based experiences, study and research abroad, and internship with local and international organizations.

Recommended Courses




Highly recommended
UP 423 Introduction to International Planning (Offered every Fall)
Suggested: Other DURP courses of interest to students in TNP stream
UP 494-KS Investigating International Sustainable Development (field-based component offered every summer in Ecuador)
UP 521 Seminar in International/Transnational Development Planning (to be offered every other year)
Also, UP494 and UP594 Special Topics in Planning which are unique course offerings offered each semester.

Other TNP-Related Courses in the University

Students may also consider electives from among the vast range of offerings on campus. For example, in addition to the course offerings through the area studies centers and programs listed here, the Department of Sociology, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, Geography, and Economics regularly offer courses of relevance to transnational planning.

Courses with specific language or regional focus Courses with international and global focus
Number Course Number Course Number Course
AAS 297  Asian Families in America ACE 411 Environment and Development LAW 657  International Human Rights Law 
AFRO 460 Slavery in the United States ACE 451 Agriculture in International Development  PS 380  International Cooperation
EALC 421 Soc-Econ Historic Modern China ACE 455 Intl. Trade in Food & Agriculture  PS 386 International Law
GEOG 455 Geog of Sub-Saharn Africa ANTH 504 Colonialism & Post Colonialism PS 389 International Communications
GER 401 Global Issues in German ECON 420  International Economics  PS 396  International Conflict 
HIST 472 Immigrant America ECON 450  Development Economics  PS 398  Strategic International Relations 
LLS 379 Latina/os and the City  EPS 530 Education and Globalization PS 587  Research Seminar in International Relations 
PS 418 Language & Minorities in Europe  GWS 575 Transnational Feminism SOC 562 Seminar in Transnational Studies
SOC 321 Gender and Latina/o Migration HIST 519 Colonialism & Postcolonialism    
UKR 113  Ukrainian Culture      

Career Paths

Living in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, exposure to transnational issues, gives an increased range of opportunity for students. DURP international planning activities and programs and its Transnational Planning Stream opens several such career paths for a graduating student. The students may combine their understanding of transnational processes with any of the concentration areas to develop the right skills for the career of their choice. Most concentrations also provide a list of career options for students who wish to combine their concentration with the TNP stream, and this information is available on the respective concentration webpage. This stream also provides opportunities for students who want to work domestically but are also interested in opportunities abroad. In short, wishing to work abroad or within the US upon graduation, students who combine their area of concentration with the TNP stream, only widen their future career opportunities.

Faculty in Transnational Planning Stream

Nearly all DURP faculty are engaged in research with a focus on international and transnational planning issues. Examples are:

  • Arnab Chakraborty: Developing locally-based theories and tools for urban planners in developing countries, especially in India; data development, modeling and measuring the impact of land use change on infrastructure demand and public services; 
  • Brian Deal: Urban growth and development modeling activities in rural Korea;
  • Marc Doussard: Low-wage work, community organizing, economic development policy, inclusive innovation, impacts of the military build-up in Guam;
  • Bumsoo Lee: Comparison of travel behavior in US and international cities;
  • Faranak Miraftab: Grassroots urban movements for housing and basic services in South Africa; immigration and transnational community development in Rustbelt US, Latin America, West and South Africa;
  • Ken Salo: Environmental justice and environmental racism in South Africa and Illinois;
  • Daniel Schneider: Community-based ecological management in Mexico and the US.


The Department's collective efforts to expand and improve its international and transnational curricula, programs, and offerings are led by the department's International Programs and Activities Coordinator, currently Professor Faranak Miraftab. Specific courses and programs are often led by individual faculty. For general questions about international and transnational offerings in the Department or on campus, contact Professor Miraftab at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-265-8238.

TNP Potlucks

TNP potlucks are held once or twice each semester bringing interested faculty and students together to share a meal and a good discussion provoked by an invited speaker. The presenters are sometimes students returning from fieldwork research abroad or visiting scholars and practitioners who have important insights to share with students and faculty who have an interest in transnational and international development planning issues. These informal talks/presentations hosted through the TNP potluck offer a relaxed environment to foster debate and build a community of scholars with shared interests. The TNP potlucks are open to all students and faculty at DURP.


Join the TN planning listserv to keep track of happenings in the Department and on campus in this field. This listserv was created to communicate with students and faculty interested in the Transnational Planning stream in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. List members post information about lectures, conferences, courses, internships and related matters and opportunities. To join, go to and submit your email address.

Internship Opportunities

Students in the Transnational Planning stream are strongly encouraged to complement their course work with practical experience in organizations that focus on transnational and international development work. Remunerated or volunteer work experience with organizations located in the US or abroad addressing development planning issues is invaluable both to students' education and to their career development and employment opportunities once they graduate from our program. Towards that goal students can register in UP 590 Internship to receive credit units for their practical experience and also apply for a newly instituted DURP International Travel Grant to receive partial support for their internship and research experience abroad. Students are encouraged to work with the Stream's coordinator to identify and seek internship placement at an organization that can provide them with applied work experience in the field.

Reading Group

Occasionally UIUC faculty and graduate students form a multi-disciplinary reading group on transnational issues. In the past, these reading groups focused on Transnational Urbanism and were funded by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH). Currently, the Cities, Communities and Social Justice Group (CCSJ) bring together faculty and graduate students with interest in transnational and social justice issues in urban communities to collectively examine the complexity of urban development, urban life and citizenship in a transnational era. It calls for reconsidering how cultural, political and economic urban processes are shaped locally and trans-locally. For more information, contact faculty coordinators David Wilson, Ken Salo and Andrew Greenlee.

 Additional Information

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