Community and Environmental Planning Major (B.S.)

Community and Environmental Planning Major (B.S.)

Students in Community and Environmental Planning presenting to Dover Planning Board

Learn more about the planning degree program that was recently ranked in the top 25 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Urban Planning and Development by Great Value Colleges.

What is community and environmental planning?

Community and environmental planning is about making our communities better places to live, work and play. Students pursuing this major explore subjects such as economic development, transportation, affordable housing, green space, sustainability and local agriculture. They gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage development, assess the consequences of proposed changes, protect natural resources and recommend program, policy and regulatory changes.

Why study community and environmental planning at UNH?

Students in the community and environmental planning program do more than sit in a classroom. Through an interactive and dynamic curriculum that includes outreach work, students develop a solid foundation in the basic principles of community planning and critical related topics such as natural resources, economics and political science and apply their knowledge in the real world through the program’s internship requirement. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Semester in the City program in Boston, a rigorous 30+ hour per week internship with a leading social change organization designed to equip a new generation of leaders dedicated to the public good.

Potential careers

  • Community and economic development
  • Environmental advocacy
  • Environmental planning and urban design
  • Government planning
  • Parks and recreation
  • Public policy
  • Regional planning
  • Transportation planning


Mary Friedman

Program Coordinator for Community and Environmental Planning
Phone: (603) 862-4456
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm G62, Durham, NH 03824

Wendy Rose

Phone: (603) 862-3933
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm 114, Durham, NH 03824
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of New Hampshire
James Hall, Rm 114
56 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-1022

Connect with us

  • Tyler Quinn Smith ’18, who dual majored in community and environmental planning and ecogastronomy, talks about his time at UNH and his future.
    Tyler Quinn Smith ’18, who dual majored in community and environmental planning and ecogastronomy, talks about his time at UNH and his future.

Curriculum & Requirements

The Community and Environmental Planning (CEP) program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to become effective community planners in the public or private sector. There are 16 courses required for the major. All of the courses are designed to give the student a diverse skill-set in planning for the sustainability of communities. CEP students are provided a solid planning background with planning courses covering local, state and regional planning topics and methods. CEP students also take foundational courses in natural resources, geographic information systems, economics, and statistics, as well as a political science course, and a social issues course. The internship requirement (CEP 794) allows the planning student to apply their knowledge in the real world for instrumental hands-on experience. Semester in the City is also an option for the internship experience. CEP students are encouraged to focus their remaining hours on skills that can enhance their CEP major such as a dual major, a minor, or study abroad.

Expected CEP Student Outcomes:

  • The foundational education in planning, natural resources, economics and sustainability.
  • The fundamental values of diversity, equity, justice, and protection of community and the environment.
  • The ability to assess, discuss, and engage others in the problems and potential solutions associated with impacts of land use changes.
  • The ability to work with community members and professionals in the design and implementation of community improvements in building and transportation while protecting natural and built resources.

Students may go on to work in the community development or community planning departments in local communities. They may also choose to work in regional planning agencies, or with a state or federal office. Other options include the private sector, such as architectural or development companies, or the non-profit sector, such as with community development corporations or conservation groups. The American Planning Association provides a certification process for the planning profession (American Institute of Certified Planners) after several years of planning experience. Students may also choose to go on to graduate studies in Community and Environmental Planning, Natural Resources Management, Public Administration, or a related field.

Sample Course Sequence for Community and Environmental Planning

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
CEP 415
or TOUR 510
Community Development Perspectives (Also counts as Discovery Social Science)
or Tourism and Global Understanding
NR 435
or NR 502
or NR 507
Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness
or Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Change
or Introduction to our Energy System and Sustainable Energy
EREC 411 Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing (Counts as Discovery Writing) 4
Choose any Discovery courses. Here are some suggestions:  
Discovery Biological Science with Lab (Consider BIOL 430 or NR 433) 4
Discovery Historical Perspectives (Consider ARTS 574) 4
Discovery Humanities (Consider PHIL 430) 4
Inquiry Course (Choose any) 4
Second Year
EREC 525 Statistical Methods and Applications (Also counts as Discovery Quantitative) 4
POLT 502
or POLT 500
or POLT 595
State and Local Government
or American Public Policy
or Smart Politics
Choose any Discovery course. Here are some suggestions: 4
Discovery Physical Science (Consider ESCI 409, ESCI 405, or NR 504)  
Discovery Fine and Performing Arts (Choose any) 4
CEP 508 Applied Community Development 4
SOC 450
or SOC 565
or INCO 505B
Contemporary Social Problems
or Environment and Society
or Social Innovator's Toolbox
NR 602 Natural Resources and Environmental Policy 4
Discovery World Cultures (Choose any) 4
Third Year
CEP 614 Fundamentals of Planning 4
CEP 673
or CEP 672
Green Real Estate
or Fundamentals of Real Estate
EREC 627 Community Economics 4
TOUR 767 Social Impact Assessment (Or NR 724 in Spring) 4
May consider CEP 794 Internship or Semester in the City  
NR 658
or FORT 581
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
or Applied Geospatial Techniques
NR 724 Resolving Environmental Conflicts (or TOUR 767 in the fall) 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
May consider CEP 794 Internship or Semester in the City  
Fourth Year
Elective 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
May consider CEP 794 Internship or Semester in the City  
CEP 777 Topics in Community Planning 4
NR 785 Systems Thinking for Sustainable Solutions 4
CEP 794 Community and Environmental Planning Internship 4-12
Elective 4
 Total Credits128-136

Courses with the prefix CEP must be completed with a C- or above (6 courses total). In addition to the CEP degree requirements (below), students must complete the University Discovery Program and the University Writing Requirements. 

Planning Courses:
CEP 415Community Development Perspectives (Discovery Course)4
or TOUR 510 Tourism and Global Understanding
CEP 508Applied Community Development4
CEP 614Fundamentals of Planning4
CEP 673Green Real Estate4
or CEP 672 Fundamentals of Real Estate
CEP 794Community and Environmental Planning Internship 14-12
or INCO 505I Semester in the City Internship
CEP 777Topics in Community Planning (Capstone for the major)4
Natural Resources Courses:
NR 435Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness4
or NR 502 Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Change
or NR 507 Introduction to our Energy System and Sustainable Energy
NR 602Natural Resources and Environmental Policy4
NR 658Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
or FORT 581 Applied Geospatial Techniques
NR 785Systems Thinking for Sustainable Solutions4
TOUR 767Social Impact Assessment4
or NR 724 Resolving Environmental Conflicts
Economics and Statistics Courses:
EREC 411Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives4
EREC 525Statistical Methods and Applications4
or BIOL 528 Applied Biostatistics I
EREC 627Community Economics4
Political Science Course:
POLT 502State and Local Government4
or POLT 500 American Public Policy
or POLT 595 Smart Politics
Social Issues Course:
SOC 450Contemporary Social Problems4
or INCO 505B Social Innovator's Toolbox
or SOC 565 Environment and Society
Total Credits64-72

CEP students are encouraged to have a study away/abroad experience, a dual degree, a minor, or focused area of study which add value to the CEP degree. Consider the following to complete the minimum of 128 credits:

  • Semester in the City (if you have not done this in the CEP major)
  • EcoQuest New Zealand (16 credits in electives - must qualify with EcoQuest)
  • Study Away
  • Study Abroad
  • Minor as approved by the minor program
  • Courses to round out a focus area. It is recommended that you choose upper level courses in NR and EREC.

Explore Program Details

UNH undergraduates have the opportunity to spend a semester in Boston in a rigorous 30+ hour per week internship with a leading social change organization (nonprofit, business, or public sector) – in community development, social justice, health, education, environment, and other areas dedicated to the public good. 

Learn more

What kinds of jobs can you get with a degree in Community and Environmental Planning (CEP)?

According to the American Planning Association (the national professional organization for planners), see Employers:

What is the pay level for this career?

According to the American Planning Association:

According to Indeed:

What kinds of classes would a student take for a degree in CEP?

Four specific planning classes take a first-year student from learning about all of the stakeholders in community development and planning and the various perspectives in landscape changes to the sophomore level course in applied community development and planning which focuses on shorter-range action planning, to a junior-level course in the fundamentals in planning which focuses on long-range planning and public involvement, to the senior capstone course on advanced topics in planning which helps students apply all of their coursework in a real and timely community planning project.

These courses focus on planning processes, planning methods, basic research, and written and oral presentations to a variety of audiences. Students also take a course in real estate to better understand the concepts of building and selling property. In a student’s junior or senior year, an internship in planning helps the student apply their planning coursework in the field.

Besides the planning courses, students study the environment, economics, sociology, and political science.
The CEP requirements make up from 64 to 72 credits (depending on the number of credits taken toward the internship). Students need 128 hours of credit to graduate. Discovery courses are part of the University requirements for a bachelor’s degree, and students start taking these courses in their first year on campus. The CEP student has a lot of options with Discovery courses, including working towards a minor or dual/double major.

Does a CEP student have time for other opportunities while at UNH?

CEP students can do a double major if they start planning for this right away. Most students do at least one minor. A student can also do study away/abroad. We encourage students to consider Semester in the City – Boston and EcoQuest New Zealand. But there are hundreds of opportunities at UNH including student organizations such as the UNH Planning Student Organization

Xi Sigma Pi is facilitated through the UNH NREN department. Its goal is to unite likeminded individuals through service and fraternal spirit through a shared enjoyment of the environment. In addition, members receive recognition for their service by earning a cord to wear during graduation. Opportunities to take up leadership roles and give back to the NREN department are abundant.

XI SIGMA PI NREN Honor Society

Rigorous academic pursuit and hands-on learning from the mountains to the sea. Full immersion learning at a diversity of sites in the North and South Islands.


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