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Why a Planner Might Want a Doctorate Degree in Urban Planning That's not a Ph.D.
A professional doctorate in urban planning is not a Ph.D. It's a relatively rare degree. The University of Southern California has a professional doctorate degree program, but even that program was only recently reinstated after being terminated for a few years. Ph.D.s are typically pursued by those who plan on careers as tenured professors in universities. In contrast, a professional doctorate or more formally, Doctor of Policy, Planning, and Development (D.P.P.D.), is designed more for the planning professional. However, in the planning profession, a master's degree unlocks access to the highest levels of the profession. So why would anyone in the planning profession pursue a D.P.P.D. degree? Well, in short, for the love of learning, writes Clement Lau, a Los Angeles County planner and holder of such a degree from USC's D.P.P.D. program. Lau goes on to explain his own experience in attaining the degree, and some of the options for those who might want to do the same.