Planning is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient and attractive places for present and future generations. It helps communities find the right balance of new development and essential services, environmental protection and innovative change. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes this as a growing career field.
In Appalachian State University’s Community and Regional Planning (BS) program, you will learn to research, design and develop programs that help a community or region reach its goals. The work of community and regional planners includes policy recommendations, economic development strategic plans, neighborhood plans, regulatory and incentive strategies, historic preservation or redevelopment plans, smart growth strategies and disaster preparedness plans.
This degree program is housed in the Department of Geography and Planning, which has a strong sense of community. Faculty and students work closely together and alumni remain networked with the department for interns and new hires.
Employment: Most students go straight into employment. Employers of Appalachian’s Community and Regional Planning graduates include: Disney, Lowe’s Hardware, and local and state governments throughout North Carolina.
Graduate Schools: Some students have pursued advanced study at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee, University of Oregon and Arizona State University.
Core courses include Introduction to Physical Geography, World Regional Geography, Intro to Human Geography, Cartographic Design & Analysis, Introduction to GIS, Town, City, & Regional Planning, Geospatial Data & Technology, Planning Techniques, Land Use Regulations, Introduction to Quantitative Methods, Senior Seminar and an internship.
A minor is not required. Popular minors include:
- GIS Certificate
- Sustainable Development
- Building Science
Engagement Outside the Classroom
- The Student Planners Association (SPA) and Appalachian Geographical Society are student-run, university-recognized organizations consisting of major and non-major members who are interested in fellowship, outings, fun and learning more about planning and geography.
- Gamma Theta Upsilon Honor Society is an international honorary academic society for geographers founded in 1928. To join, you must be enrolled in any of the geography majors and meet one of two GPA requirements.
- North Carolina ArcGIS Users Group is a non-profit organization that creates a forum for the exchange and distribution of knowledge, techniques, and data for people across North Carolina using associated with ESRI and GIS software.
- North Carolina Geographic Alliance - Since 1987, the North Carolina Geographic Alliance has sought to enhance geographic education in North Carolina Schools. Over the years the NCGA has produced teaching materials, provided professional development, and advocated for geography as an integral part of the curriculum.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society. There are currently faculty led trips to study planning and community development in Ecuador and Peru. Dr. Baker Perry also takes 15 students to study climate change in the Andean region each summer.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Undergraduate students have many opportunities to work with faculty on research projects, such as developing an alternative transportation system for Watauga County. See more research
- Students have the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate GIS certificate, which makes them even more employable in a high-demand job market.
- The Department of Geography and Planning offers a graduate certificate in planning and a Master of Arts in Geography.
- Students can pursue Appalachian’s accelerated master’s program and receive their graduate certificate in planning or Master of Arts in Geography in one year as opposed to two years by taking graduate coursework during their senior year.
Number of Students
Approximately 60 students in the Department of Geography and Planning
Method of Delivery
On campus only
- City Planner
- Community Developer
- Environmental Impact Analyst
- Geographic Information Systems
- Industrial Developer/ Planner
- Land Developer
- Map Curator/Librarian
- Park Ranger
- Planning Director
- Real Estate Agent/Broker/Appraiser
- Soil Conservationist
- Transportation Planner
- Urban/Regional Planner
Dr. Kathleen Schroeder