School of Planning
Location: O'Brien Hall
5217 Morris Street
6th Floor
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS
B3J 1B6
Telephone: (902) 494-3260

Community Design (Planning)

The Bachelor of Community Design (Honours) program provides experiential learning opportunities to become professional planners accredited by the Professional Standards Board (PSB) and recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners. Planning is a  dynamic profession, which involves activities that shape the form and structure of communities, the quality of the environment and the character of daily life. The School of Planning is the hub of planning education in Atlantic Canada.

The School offers two four-year Honours programs:

1. BCD Honours (Urban Design and Planning); and

2. BCD Honours (Environmental Planning).

Students with a strong commitment to sustainability may pursue a Double Major in Community Design and Sustainability (Honours).

The Community Design programs will generally interest students who care about the character and the future of our communities, who are committed to sustainable approaches to the environment, and who want to learn design and communication skills that will allow them to make a difference in how we build cities and communities. 

The study of community design at Dalhousie is distinguished by:

  • an emphasis on physical planning.
    The School recognizes the importance of visual and spatial information and understanding, and introduces design as a method of learning, analyzing, and resolving problems. Design is comprehensive, integrative, context-sensitive, and synthetic. It seeks to enhance community and environmental resilience.
  • a focus on planning practice that is collaborative, creative, and responsive.
    Courses will attract students eager to help communities make changes in the world they inhabit. They will develop knowledge and skills to allow them to analyze community issues, test policy proposals, and propose and implement appropriate courses of action to achieve desired outcomes.
  • interdisciplinary studies.
    The planning programs are interdisciplinary. They involve the application of scientific, humanistic, and creative approaches  to plan for resilient, equitable and smart communities.

Students may also pursue a three-year general undergraduate program, Bachelor of Community Design. Alternatively, they may pursue a four-year Double Major in Community Design and Sustainability.

In addition to their regular program, BCD students are eligible to take certificates; for example, the Certificate in Geographic Information Science is offered by the Faculty of Science. Furthermore, students in any four-year BCD program have the option of taking approved minors within Dalhousie's College of Arts and Science.

Students wishing to enter the program must have completed grade 12 with a 70% or greater average in five grade 12 subjects including English, Math, and one Science (Biology or Geology are recommended). Grade 12 Geography is recommended, and a background in art or design is an asset. Students who have successfully completed a full year of university or college level studies may apply to transfer to the Bachelor of Community Design and may be considered for advanced standing. (Those admitted as transfer students should consult the Undergraduate Advisor in Planning for advice on course selection.)

All students admitted to the BCD must meet the Dalhousie requirement for a full course or equivalent in courses with a significant writing requirement, usually completed in the first year of university study. Students must complete at least six credit hours in a science subject, and six credit hours in an arts, humanities, or social sciences subject to graduate.

Students must complete at least 42 credit hours (seven full course equivalents) at the 2000 level or higher for the three year (90 credit hour) degree, or at least 72 credit hours (12 full course equivalents) at the 2000 level or above for a four year degree (120 credit hours).