Program Overview

What will our world look like in 20, 50 or 100 years? What kind of positive influence can we have on it? If these types of questions interest you, then check out the GIS and Urban Planning program, where you’ll learn how to conserve and restore natural environments, while enhancing built environments, culminating in sustainable communities. Graduate with the essential technical and design skills needed for a rewarding career as a planning, design, or AutoCAD technician, or as a GIS technician, operator or analyst.

Program Details

Program Code
Ontario College Diploma
60 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2024 September
2024 September
Fully Online
2023 September
2023 September
Fully Online
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
2024 September

Your Learning Experience

The two-year GIS and Urban Planning diploma program will help you understand land use planning, land development, land conservation and resource management in both rural and urban communities from the perspective of both the public and private sector. As well, you’ll have access to cutting-edge technologies including GIS (Geographical Information Systems), AutoCAD, 3D Visualizations and Presentation Graphics applications. This training will be used in conjunction with our unique case study method that allows you to participate in the conceptualization of actual land development projects.


Two co-operative work terms give you practical, hands-on experience with government, planning consultants or land development companies. When you graduate, you’ll be prepared for an exciting career as a planning, design, or AutoCAD technician or a GIS operator or analyst. 


The GIS and Urban planning program provides technical and design skills related to land use planning, land development, environmental design, land conservation and resource management in both urban and rural communities and from both private and public sector perspectives. Three major computer software technologies including GIS (Geographical Information Systems), CAD (Computer Aided Design) and Presentation Graphics are learned using case studies and actual land development projects. Students acquire skills to build and maintain spatial (geographic) databases; plan and design land development projects within a community context and prepare graphic presentations including 3D visualization of urban spaces. 


Upon graduation, students are eligible to become a full member of the Canadian Association of Certified Planning Technicians and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), as well as a Registered Professional Planner through the Ontario Planners Institute (when combined with a related degree). Graduates of this program may also be eligible for advanced standing credit to the Honours Bachelor of Environmental Design and Planning Degree program at Fanshawe College.


With flexible learning options, you can choose between studying online or in a blended learning format and graduate with the skills and experience you need to hit the ground running in the workplace.

Laptop requirements

Please note: a laptop is recommended for this program. It is recommended that students use a PC laptop vs. a Mac laptop, as Windows is required to be able to load program-specific software. For more information on preferred requirements, visit the Laptop Requirements page on the Fanshawe CONNECTED website.

Co-op Opportunities & Career Information

Co-Op Opportunities 

The GIS and Urban Planning program offers a cooperative education component, which provides students the opportunity to gain invaluable first-hand workplace experience in their chosen field. Here are some co-op jobs that have kick-started the careers of some GIS and Urban Planning students before even graduating! 

Student Planner
Assist with day-to-day tasks, research, and long-range planning projects.

GIS Heritage Assistant
Refine and deploy an app-based tour designed to enhance awareness of heritage preservation.

Planning Assistant
Help with preparations of zoning bylaws, perform research, update planning documents, and undertake special projects.

For more information regarding co-op, please check out our co-op site or contact the Co-op Office at to connect with a consultant.


Career Information

Graduates of Fanshawe’s GIS and Urban Planning program can pursue a variety of careers including:

  • planning technician
  • urban design technician
  • 3d graphic specialist
  • GIS technician
  • GIS analyst
  • mobile mapping technologist
  • geomatics technologist
  • field GPS operator
  • design technician
  • environmental planning support technician
  • design technologist
  • cartographer
  • research analyst
  • zoning plans examiner
  • by-law enforcement officer
  • development technician
  • planning assistant
  • transportation technologist
  • cad technician
  • spatial database specialist
  • AutoCAD designer
  • cartographic technologist
  • draftsperson
  • GIS and data technician
  • survey technician
  • planning & design technician
  • drafting technician

Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s GIS and Urban Planning program:

GIS/Planning Technician
Manage and evolve a municipality’s geographic information system, data management, produce cartographic products, conduct research and provide technical guidance.

GIS Specialist
Understand mapping standards around projections, coordinate systems, and work with geodatabases.

Planning and GIS Technician
Assist members of a Planning Department with various planning related tasks and GIS databases.


Program Progression
Fall Winter Summer 
Academic Level 1 Academic Level 2 Co-op 
Academic Level 3 Academic Level 4 Co-op 



Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Describe the meaning, goals, and rationale of urban and rural planning and how it contributes to conserving and restoring natural environments and enhancing built environments, culminating in sustainable communities;
  2. Plan and design sustainable land development projects for urban and rural communities, such as: a) community plans and plans of subdivision b) site plans, generalized landscape plans, building plans and elevations, sections and 3D visualizations, c) community improvement and renewal plans;
  3. Identify the participants, tools, and processes of municipal land use planning in Ontario, specifically the distinction between `policy' (Provincial Policy Statement and Official Plans) and `implementation' (Zoning By-Laws, Subdivision Control, Site Plan Control);
  4. Access and utilize data, evaluate the accuracy and meaning of the information for urban and rural planning projects;
  5. Conduct research and field surveys for planning reports/documents;
  6. Build and maintain spatial and tabular databases for Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and add value to projects through data collection, conversion, development, and management;
  7. Apply GIS analysis techniques for planning applications, projects, and case studies;
  8. Demonstrate a comprehensive working knowledge of digital design and drafting to create maps, plans, and report graphics in both 2D and 3D;
  9. Select and integrate software within the capacity of workplace and technology capabilities, to optimize workflows for urban and rural planning projects;
  10. Collaborate and contribute as a member of a multi-disciplinary team to the effective completion of a planning project;
  11. Employ inquiry and critical thinking skills for research, analysis, and design in response to urban and rural planning issues.


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Russell Schnurr


Admission Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalent, or a mature applicant with the following courses:

- Grade 12 English (C or U)

- Grade 11 or 12 Math (C, M or U)

          - MCT4C is the preferred college math to ensure adequate academic preparation for this program.

Students who do not meet these requirements are recommended for academic upgrading. A conditional offer may be possible with proof of enrolment.

Graduates of this program may also be eligible for advanced standing credit to the Honours Bachelor of Environmental Design and Planning degree program at Fanshawe College.
International Admission Equivalencies
Admission equivalencies for Fanshawe depends on your country of study. Please enter your location to see the requirements for your country below.
English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Test Score
IELTS Academic Overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands
CAEL Overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands. score of 80 in listening
PTE Academic 53
Cambridge English Overall score of 169 with no language skill less than 162
ESL4/GAP5 Minimum grade of 80% in Level 8, 75% in Level 9, or 70% in Level 10
Duolingo Overall score of 105, with no score lower than 95


Learn More about English Language Requirements

Recommended Academic Preparation

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • Grade 11 Introduction to Computer Science (U)
  • Grade 12 Computer Science (U) 
  • Any Grade 11 or Grade 12 Geography (C), (U), or (M)
  • Grade 11 Housing and Home Design (O)
  • Grade 11 or Grade 12 Technological Design (M)
  • Grade 12 Business and Technological Communication (O)
Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing

  • Credit for any courses in the program will be given to students who can demonstrate that they have the required skills to meet the objectives of the course.
Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

See Post-Admission Requirements


Level 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
WRIT-1036Reason & Writing 1-Art & Design3
This course introduces students to essential principles of reading, writing, and reasoning at the postsecondary level. Students will identify, summarize, analyze, and evaluate multiple short readings and write persuasive response essays to develop their vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and critical thinking.
COMP-1556Presentation Graphics 13
In this course students will study graphic design principles and apply them to a variety of planning related documents. A number of software applications will be utilized to prepare presentations and custom graphics. Students will develop research skills, prepare supporting documents, and present their findings in an open forum. The key components of a comprehensive portfolio will also be discussed and students will be required to develop their own professional portfolio.
CADD-1079CAD-Urban Planning 14
Urban and regional planning involves the preparation of a broad range of maps and plans for land development and land conservation from a wide range of sources and formats. This course introduces computer aided design and mapping covering drawing, editing and plotting of maps and plans for land based development projects from a planning perspective using AutoCAD.
METH-1039Geographical Information Systems 14
This introductory GIS course will cover basic GIS theory and concepts in the lecture portion and provide an introduction to ArcGIS software in the lab portion. A series of lab assignments will cover data views, tables, map layouts, spatial data creation, cartographic elements, labeling, and legends using the ArcGIS software. In the lecture portion the structure of ArcGIS, data acquisition, processing, storage, display and analysis, and the application of GIS to Urban and Rural planning will be covered.
PLAN-1016Land Use Planning3
This is a lecture/discussion course about the fundamentals of planning and design land based development projects within a Municipal land use planning context. The meaning and rationale for land use planning, basic land uses with urban and rural environments, historical perspectives, planning institutions, tools and decision processes, the relationship with transportation planning, and current issues such as sustainable development are studied.
PLAN-1014Site Planning2.5
This course will introduce students to digital drafting, illustration techniques, and the importance of graphics for urban and regional planning applications. Exercises and studio projects will introduce the digital drawing techniques; and emphasize the effectiveness to illustrate real land planning and design problems and projects. Site design solutions for various land development projects will be explored and prepared using digital drafting methods and techniques. Each site plan will be completed to a final draft, within a case study context, using typical design standards and zoning regulations.
COOP-1020Co-operative Education Employment Prep1
This workshop will provide an overview of the Co-operative Education consultants and students' roles and responsibilities as well as the Co-operative Education Policy. It will provide students with employment preparatory skills specifically related to co-operative education work assignments and will prepare students for their work term.
View all courses

Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.