Big Idea

The big idea behind the concentrations at Harvard is to help students understand the range of courses in various common planning specialties offered by Harvard. Concentrations are broad and there are no required courses. However, the online concentration memos specify more introductory and more specialized courses.

Concentration Topics

Details about current concentrations are online.

Topical Concentrations:

  • Housing, community, and economic development
  • Transportation and infrastructure
  • Environment, health, and climate
  • Real estate and urban development
  • Urban design

Cross-cutting Concentrations:

  • International and comparative planning
  • Urban analytics


  • Self-directed concentrations which are useful for those in joint and concurrent degrees or with highly specialized interests. Most people can fit within one of the concentrations above.

Timing and Meetings

Students choose a concentration at the start of the second year. It is possible to change the concentration before graduating. Many students do two concentrations. However, concentrations do not appear on your transcript.

Each year there is an orientation to concentrations in the Fall, often part of another meeting. HUPO organizes concentration breakfasts in the spring. If students wish to have additional concentration meetings that is totally fine.

Many concentrations have related student groups such as the Real Estate Development Club, Community Development Project (housing and neighborhood development), and an emerging Healthy Green club (Environmental Planning), and various groups related to parts of the world (International planning).


In terms of faculty each concentration has one or two lead advisers and four to seven affiliated faculty. If you want to petition to add a course to the listing see the Program Administrator in room 312 for the process.