Urban Systems (PhD)

Program Description

The NYU Doctoral program in Urban Systems offers an interdisciplinary learning and research environment designed to meet the needs of students pursuing careers in academia, research organizations, local and national government and public service agencies. This Ph.D. program expands upon the unique legacy of decades of collaboration in education and research, development and training between NYU faculty, city agencies, and industry. The program is administered by NYU Tandon in partnership with other NYU schools including: the Stern School of Business, Langone Health, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and NYU research centers including the Center for Urban Science and Progress and the Center for Connected Mobility C2SMART.

This program is aligned with the vision and commitment of the university to work within the ‘city as a lab’ to accelerate the field deployment of innovative solutions to emerging urban needs. Areas of study include sustainability and climate action, infrastructure and resilience, public health and equity. This interdisciplinary laboratory of urban research and innovation brings together expertise and the research excellence of NYU faculty in New York as well as our global campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and study abroad sites in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Florence, and Prague. Drawing from the expertise of the Urban Faculty across the university, we have built a unique and competitive interdisciplinary educational environment based on the following disciplinary pillars:

  • Data Science & Informatics
  • Communication and Information Science
  • Social Studies, Health, and Policy
  • Systems Engineering
  • Economics, Finance, and Planning

The program is available to students with diverse educational backgrounds pursuing their studies across disciplines, including Engineering, Environmental Science, Architecture, Urban Planning, Computing, Data Science, Systems Science, Economics, Finance, Public Health, Public Policy, and Law. Development of skills in mathematics, statistics, and programming is included in the course of study, depending on the need associated with the student’s dissertation topic.


Admission to graduate programs in the Tandon School of Engineering requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

The NYU Tandon Graduate Admissions website has additional information on school-wide admission.

Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

See the program's How to Apply for department-specific admission requirements and instructions.

Application Requirements

  1. Master's or Bachelor's degree from an accredited program in physical and mathematical sciences, social sciences, or engineering (other fields upon approval of program administrator).
  2. Minimum Master's and Bachelor's degree GPA of 3.5/4.0, and 3.0/4.0, respectively.
  3. Submission of GRE, and English language proficiency test scores (when applicable).

An applicant who has not yet earned a master’s degree may be directly admitted into the Ph.D. program with the written approval of the program director. Applicants with a master’s degree in any discipline other than Master of Science may be required to have prerequisites in the subjects listed below:

  • Calculus with analytic geometry
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Introduction to computer programming

In addition to these degree requirements and the NYU Tandon general admission requirements, acceptance to the program will depend on:

  1. academic excellence,
  2. research interests congruent with areas of urban scholarship and faculty research at NYU including the global campuses, and
  3. positive recommendations (e.g., from former employers or research advisors).

Note: Application and/or admission to the program does not require prior identification of a research advisor. Acceptance to the program is not automatically accompanied with financial support.