By: Mia Alfonsi

The University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning Ph.D. program’s recent STEM designation signifies a greater future for its students and faculty.

Effective fall 2020, the program transitioned from the non-STEM CIP code 04.0201 to STEM CIP code 04.0902. This change indicates the program’s adaptation to advancements in the profession and expands research funding opportunities and impact. Additionally, it will attract prestigious talent and provide greater opportunities for students.

As the program grew from a sheer 11 students in 1988 to more than 100 as of 2019, the fields of design, construction and planning have advanced. Over the years, DCP has continued to transform itself so that it remains at the forefront of research and addresses current industry and professional demands. New technologies, a reliance on evidence-based knowledge, big data and technology-driven solutions are rapidly changing the fields and raising curriculum standards. DCP enhanced its offerings by incorporating data science skills that are actively taught via course content and applied student research. More advanced mathematical modeling courses and STEM-related electives have also been embraced.

“The STEM designation means we are moving and leading in the same direction as the field,” according to UF DCP Ph.D. Program Director Dr. Zhong-Ren Peng.

Students specializing in non-STEM-related topics, such as the humanities, architecture history and planning history remain welcome and encouraged to enroll. The CIP code change does not affect scholarly exploration of these subjects, nor program quality.

“Regardless of students’ backgrounds and interests, the program will offer a range of opportunities for them,” Peng said. “This STEM designation only broadens that range.”

Those most positively affected by the change will be international students studying under an F-1 visa. A STEM CIP code extends the OPT period from one to three years. F-1 students will be afforded firsthand career exploration and practical training as well as extended time to secure long-term U.S. employment. This invaluable change will ultimately elevate cultural diversity.

Once again, DCP has mastered the ability to advance its profile by creating new and enriching experiences for both students and faculty. We hope you will join us in this new venture.

To learn more about the DCP Ph.D. program, please visit: https://dcp.ufl.edu/academics/phd8/

To learn more regarding the DCP Ph.D. application process, please visit: https://dcp.ufl.edu/academics/phd8/phd-admissions/

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