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Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program

Program at a Glance

  • Complete in as few as 36 months
  • 14 courses
  • $7,250-$8,050

Learn How to Plan Like a Pro

Planning professionals come from a variety of backgrounds—social science, natural science, engineering and even the humanities, facilities and interior design. Regardless of your background, the UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program will give you the foundation you need to master the body of knowledge every planner should have. Through theory and practice, this program delivers—addressing practical aspects of planning in the context of larger issues, future implications of present decisions and processes for examining alternatives.

What You’ll Learn

Through comprehensive training from industry experts, you’ll:

  • Broaden your conceptual framework in land use planning
  • Develop ideas, strategies and skills for more effective job performance
  • Learn to work more effectively within the increasingly complex regulatory and environmental context of planning
  • Improve your ability to solve problems and work with a wide range of constituencies

What You’ll Get

Our program offers:

  • UC-quality courses that are approved by UC Davis and count toward professional association credits through AICP and MCLE
  • One-on-one interaction with veteran planning professionals from a variety of industries
  • Unique networking opportunities with instructors and fellow students that can help advance your career
  • Class projects and case studies that provide dynamic, real-world training in emerging best practices and new planning theory
  • Practical planning knowledge and regulatory updates that can be applied immediately to your job

3-Year Certificate Agreement

Thinking about earning your Land Use and Environmental Planner Certificate? If you started the certificate by taking a core class after September 1, 2018, agree to complete the entire program in three years or less and we will cover the cost of your final course (up to a $675) and waive the $125 registration fee. Learn more.

This program is designed for professionals in disciplines associated with land use policy, analysis or development, including:

  • Planners
  • Resource managers, administrators and analysts
  • Environmental consultants
  • Engineers
  • Lawyers

You must complete 20 units of required core coursework and eight elective courses with grades of "C" or better.

Other than the required courses listed below, all courses in the Planning and Sustainability area of study count as an elective towards the Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate. If you have questions, please contact us.

Course content is frequently revised to ensure that the program is up-to-date with the latest industry standards. For this reason, you must complete all of the course requirements of your certificate within five years from the day you enroll in the first course. A certificate will not be awarded if the requirements are not completed and your application for candidacy is not received within this timeframe.

Required Courses

Community Involvement and Communication in Planning
Quarter Academic Credit

Learn the theoretical background and the hands-on practice of involving stakeholders in urban planning and design decisions and natural resources policies. Practice selected communication and facilitation techniques that create mutually beneficial solutions. Examine how to assess a case situation and determine what type of public process is right for each situation. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of techniques used in public involvement. Explore different approaches to communicating complex and technical planning information to community groups. Using several simulated negotiations, engage as stakeholders or facilitators to resolve complex public policy problems in urban planning. Examine case studies and analyze what went well, what went wrong and why.

Course Code
Financial Aspects of Planning
Quarter Academic Credit

Gain an understanding of how planning decisions impact the economic feasibility of a proposed project for the public agency and developer.  Learn how money flows into a governmental agency, what they can or can’t do to increase that flow and how debt fits into the whole equation.

Topics in this course include:

  • Fiscal impact analysis and its importance
  • Local government revenues
  • Public debt and its alternatives
  • Fiscal and financial analysis and how they fit into the planning process
  • A developer's perspective of how planning decisions affect the bottom line 
  • The balance between the goals and objectives of public and private-sector participants

Approximately 20 hours of study and full attendance to all course meetings are required. 

Course Code
Planning in California: An Overview
Quarter Academic Credit

Learn the concepts, structures and processes of land use planning and development decisions. This four-day course delivers an overview of general plans, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulation, permit processes, property rights, environmental review, public finance, natural resources and urban design. The instructor and guest presenters place these topics in wider contexts, valuable for both experienced planners who need a review and others who want solid introductions.

By the end of the course, the participants will:

  • Understand the basic legal tools of land use planning and decision making
  • Be able to apply those tools to specific problems facing California communities
  • Understand the connections among land use, public finance and governance
  • Demonstrate insight into how public policies affect land uses
Course Code
Environmental Planning and Site Analysis
Quarter Academic Credit

Examine the major components of physical planning and site design as they relate to achieving planning objectives. Review regional landscape analysis, physical and man-made factor analysis and watershed and program analysis. Special focus is given to analyzing site suitability and sensitivity for development, site selection and feasibility studies and conceptual design that responds to site conditions.

In this course, you will:

  • Develop an understanding of how to conduct site opportunity and constraint analysis that contribute to good land use decisions.
  • Understand the basic natural and cultural components of a site and region and how these components are interrelated.
  • Achieve basic skills necessary to evaluate and compare the value of mapped data.
  • Acquire critical thinking skills to be able to use complex data, synthesize information and select that which is most significant for decision making.
  • Learn graphic methods of compiling, recording and displaying information on environmental, cultural and economic factors. 
  • Understand the value and importance that analysis of the natural and the manmade environment have in planning, design and environmental decision-making.
Course Code
Planning and Environmental Law
Quarter Academic Credit

This course provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the legal framework in planning and environmental careers. The course reviews the various legal sources of planning and environmental law, including statutes, regulations, and case law. It provides students with a working understanding of how to apply planning and environmental legal requirements, especially within the context of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the State Planning and Zoning Law, and other local, state, and federal environmental laws. Students will also learn how and when to coordinate with, provide support to, and get support from lawyers throughout the planning process.

    • Students will develop a working knowledge of where to find applicable policy guidance, statutes, regulations, case law, etc. when approaching planning tasks and environmental review in California.
    • Students will be introduced to CEQA, NEPA, State Planning and Zoning Law, and other environmental laws.
    • Students will learn how to review and analyze judicial rulings, discuss salient legal points in a professional manner, and communicate legal principles with members of the public, decision-makers, and other planners and governmental counsel.
    • Students will understand when and how, as part of their chosen profession, to communicate and work with attorneys to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and to assist attorneys with defending lawsuits.


Approximately 20 hours of project work and regular attendance are required. 

Course Code
Urban Planning and Design Studio
Quarter Academic Credit

Receive hands-on practice in professional urban planning and design skills in a studio/lecture format. Immerse yourself in planning and design principles, examples and case studies for today's communities. Critique land use plans and site designs, create and prepare site plans, and analyze and develop planning staff reports. Emphasis is placed on urban infill and sustainable community design, and the challenges and complexities of planning and urban design in growing communities. In-class studio work and critique, as well as guest lectures, a hands-on downtown design modeling charrette and field visits are also included. There will be a minimum of 24 hours of planning and design work conducted outside of class.

Course Code

Other than the required courses listed below, all courses in the Planning and Sustainability area of study count as an elective towards the Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate. If you have questions, please contact us.

View courses currently open for enrollment

Required Courses

Required Courses Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
Financial Aspects of Planning 4 Online
Planning in California: An Overview 4 Online
Environmental Planning and Site Analysis 4 Online
Planning and Environmental Law 3 Online
Urban Planning and Design Studio 3 Online
Community Involvement and Communication in Planning 2 Online
  • At Your Own Pace: Take individual courses for a total cost of $7,250-$8,050, depending on when you enroll.
    • A one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $125 must also be paid in order to receive your certificate.
  • 3-year Accelerated Path: Agree to complete the entire program in three years or less and we will cover the cost of your final course (up to a $675) and waive the $125 registration fee. Learn more.
  • Textbooks are not included in the tuition fee.

Here are your options:

Ready to enroll in the certificate program?

  • Register. Fill out a brief certificate registration form. By doing so, you declare your intent to complete the program in 5 years or less, lock in program requirements and will be contacted by a program adviser who will work with you to map out your academic path.
  • 3-year Accelerated Path. Fill out a brief form and you will be contacted by a program adviser who will work with you to map out your academic path. Agree to complete the program in three years or less, and the registration fee ($125) and cost of your last course will be waived (up to a $675 value).
    • Please note: the 3-year accelerated path option is only available to new students. If you have taken one or more courses towards the Land Use and Environmental Planning Certificate Program, you will be required to cover the full cost of the program, and pay the $125 registration fee, in order to receive your certificate.
    • If you have questions or would like to enroll in the 3-year accelerated path option, please contact us by email or call (530) 757-8777.

Not ready to commit yet?

  • Enroll in an individual course. Check out individual courses that are currently open for enrollment. Courses will be applied to the program if you later decide to complete your certificate.
  • Sign up for an information session. Learn more about the program by enrolling in a free information session. If an information session for this program is not currently open for enrollment, click on “notify me,” and we’ll contact you when the next one becomes available.

Questions? We’re here to help. If you’ve got a question, email us or call (530) 757-8777.

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