The certificate trains students to make decisions that are not only technically efficient, economically sound, environmentally aware, but also socially, ethically, and politically informed. In addition, the certificate equips students with essential foundational skills that arise from actively engaging in data science combined with an understanding of cities as systems. In doing so, the certificate promotes the educational mission of Virginia Tech to offer its students an innovative, interdisciplinary learning environment in which they can take leadership roles in data sciences for the cities of tomorrow. The certificate seeks to meet the increasing workforce demand for analytical skills and literacy.

Course Requirements

Students will be required to complete coursework to develop knowledge and skills related to data analytics and public policy for cities and urbanized places. Students will gain an understanding of the fundamental competencies needed for data collection, cleaning, management, and analysis as well as manage teams that conduct analyses related to cities. Students seeking the Certificate must complete the following four courses (click course name for most recent syllabus):

UAP 5114: Computer Applications in Urban Planning and Management

UAP 5224: Planning Methods and Technologies

UAP 5494: Advanced Quantitative Techniques for Urban Research

UAP 5564: Information Technology, Society, and Public Policy

(Note: UAP 5114 can be taken more than once because topics change from year to year)


Open to Virginia Tech students located at either the Blacksburg or National Capital Region campus who are pursuing a Masters or Ph.D. We welcome students from disciplines across campus, such as:

  • Urban Affairs and Planning
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Architecture
  • Building Construction
  • Sociology
  • Statistics