New Master of Science in Urban Analytics Launches Fall 2021: Urban Planning, Computing, and Industrial and Systems Engineering Combine to Fix Big City Problems

A construction crane overlooks a lit up Midtown Atlanta.

May 24, 2021 • Atlanta, GA

The Georgia Tech College of Design is proud to announce its newest interdisciplinary degree, the Master of Science in Urban Analytics (MSUA). The School of City and Regional Planning will administer the degree in partnership with the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), School of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE), and School of Interactive Computing (IC). 

Urban analytics is an emerging field that incorporates smart cities, urban informatics, and urban science. The goal of urban analytics is to leverage data science in addressing major issues cities continue to face, including air, water, and land pollution, carbon emissions, traffic congestion, inadequate housing options, and disparities in the access to urban services. We believe the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle such challenging urban problems require an integrated multidisciplinary approach, which this degree is designed to provide. 

The degree is designed for students who are interested in tackling urban problems through the acquisition, integration, and analysis of various forms of data. Undergraduate preparation for this degree can include a range of fields such as engineering, planning, computing, and various social science disciplines. 

Georgia Tech is the only university in the University System of Georgia offering an urban analytics degree. Programs of this kind are quickly gaining national relevancy—similar graduate programs exist at Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, Northeastern University, and the University of California at Berkeley. 

Subhro Guhathakurta, chair of the School of City and Regional Planning and the director of the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization, noted that the Georgia Tech Urban Analytics program stands out from all others given its strategic partnership with top-ranked programs in engineering and computing to offer this multidisciplinary degree.

“The objective is to harness Georgia Tech’s recognized strengths and expertise in data analytics to focus on the critical problems facing urban regions,” he said.

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Additionally, there are many aspects of industrial engineering that can be applied to urban analytics, Pascal Van Hentenryck, associate chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor in ISyE, said. 

“For example, many supply chain logistics concepts and solutions can be applied to address the inefficiencies in public transportation, accessibility, and the relationship between mobility and the built environment. This program is pioneering in that it links many viewpoints holistically, from the concepts to the mathematical and computational tools, and their applications to problems faced by our growing cities,” he said.

Georgia Tech’s ISyE program is ranked as the No. 1 graduate program in in the industrial/manufacturing/systems specialty and has held the top rank for 31 years.

Additionally, advances in computation are essential to ensure the sustainable development of modern cities and guarantee that they operate effectively, Haesun Park, Regents' Professor and chair of CSE, said. 

“Understanding and planning for the interdependent and interactive quality of city infrastructures requires computational models and tools of increasing complexity and scale. This is where data, computing, and networks are ubiquitous, with computation playing unprecedented new roles in the management and operation of cities,” she said.

Besides new introductory courses, several existing classes in the degree-participating schools are available as part of a well-rounded curriculum. These courses are carefully selected to meet four core competencies: urban systems; spatial analysis; computational statistics including machine learning; and modeling and visualization.

The curriculum will place special emphasis on social end-values such as sustainability, justice, and resilience, and on individual data rights including: permission for collection; privacy through aggregation; and transparency through open data.

"One of the most exciting aspects of this new degree is the diversity of academic programs working together on this topic of urban analytics. It will unite faculty and students from across campus to work on solving many important challenges," John Stasko, Regents' Professor and interim chair of IC, said.

Specialization within the degree is encouraged. The one-year program spans Fall and Spring semesters, with a Summer workshop. Tuition estimates per semester are $7,032 for in-state students and $14,570 for out-of-state residents.

Applications for the fall 2021 cohort are now open. The deadline to apply is July 8, 2021. For more information, please click here.

Apply for Fall 2021

Applications for Fall 2021 are open! The deadline to apply is July 8, 2021.

The deadline has passed for international applicants to enroll for Fall 2021, with the exception of international students already pursuing study at Georgia Tech. International applicants outside the Georgia Institute of Technology are invited to apply now for consideration for the Fall 2022 cohort.

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Ann Hoevel
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College of Design
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