For the first time in human history, more people lived in cities than not in 2007. This trend of urban-dwelling is projected to reach 70% by the year 2050. Meanwhile, the pace of technological innovation centered in cities far outpaces traditional infrastructure -- the foundations of our built environment.

Cities are the most complex things humanity has created. As such they require cross-disciplinary study and praxis. CU Denver, a university in the CU system embedded in a growing, thriving city, is well-positioned to address this complexity, disentangling seeming contradictions in our received notions of what cities are and what they can be in the future. Data analysis, advances in simulation and modeling, breakthroughs in materials science and transportation, and instrumented infrastructure change the way we know our urban world.

Why pursue a graduate certificate in Smart Cities?

The graduate certificate in Smart Cities is an interdisciplinary program designed for working or aspiring professionals and upper-level students interested in expanding their knowledge-base in the fields of emerging urban technologies, data science, sustainable design, and public-private partnerships. 

The multidisciplinary Smart Cities graduate certificate can be completed in one year by nondegree or degree-seeking students, with flexible entry, employing a combination of fully online and mixed online/in-person learning.

Specifically, the certificate has tracks designed for current public sector professionals aiming to expand their understanding of the impact of data and technology on their careers; technologists and entrepreneurs who understand the growth and potential of the urban domain as a market of unsolved problems; and architects and planners who understand that technology is not simply a tool but a medium that must be designed for like other aspects of the lived urban experience.


The certificate requires completion of four courses in one of four tracks, listed below. Two courses, Intro to Smart Cities and Data Science for Innovators, are common to all four tracks and provide the essential knowledge and skill-base for further specialized inquiry. The remaining two courses in each track provide focus in a specialized area of importance. While these two are recommended in the curriculum, they can be substituted with other approved CU Denver offerings.

Certificate Tracks

The Smart Cities certificate provides four specialized study tracks to meet the needs of learners from myriad backgrounds and prepare them for success in diverse contemporary careers. Courses span the College of Engineering, Design and Computing, College of Architecture and Planning, School of Public Affairs, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH). Over time, additional tracks can be created.

The Planned City

  • ENGR 6299 - Introduction to Smart Cities
  • IWKS 5200 - Data Science for Innovators
  • URPL 6265 - Visualization for Planning
  • URPL 6560 - Transit, Pedestrian, and Bicycle Planning

The Built City

  • ENGR 6299 - Introduction to Smart Cities
  • IWKS 5200 - Data Science for Innovators
  • CVEN 3602 - Transportation Engineering
  • PUAD 5130 - Collaboration Across Sectors

The Livable City

  • ENGR 6299 - Introduction to Smart Cities
  • IWKS 5200 - Data Science for Innovators
  • URPL 6225 - Urban Policy Analytics
  • PUAD 5628 - Social Problems and Policies

Other relevant coursework