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Smart Cities

With the development of information and computer technologies, wearable devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and other innovations, cities and communities are getting smarter. We see new technologies deployed in our cities in numerous ways, from the smart grid for energy to autonomous vehicles, among many other applications. So what is a “smart city”? How can these technologies improve how cities deliver services and enhance the quality of life for all residents? And how can we ensure that these technologies are employed in ethical and socially helpful ways? The Smart Cities BDP will help you answer these questions and equip you with skills and applied learning to advance the development of smart city technologies, and prepare you for smart cities-related careers in public, private, and non-profit sectors. At the same time, you will learn about the complex ethical and human dimensions of these changes to our urban environments. The program includes classes from a variety of disciplines, such as urban planning, public policy, computer science, information studies, engineering, liberal arts, communication, and business.

For a complete list of courses and requirements, view the Smart Cities BDP curriculum sheet.


With 18 credit hours of coursework and Connecting Experiences, students may earn a BDP certificate in Smart Cities.

Courses counting toward a BDP in Smart Cities may also satisfy core, major, and elective requirements in a student’s degree plan. With planning, the BDP should not add time to students’ UT careers, but instead helps students choose the courses they already have to take in an integrated way.

Foundation Courses [6-9 hours]

Foundation courses introduce key methodologies and issues related to Smart Cities.

  • Smart Cities Foundation Course
  • Skills & Methods Foundation Courses

Effective fall 2022, the Forum Seminar is no longer required for the Smart Cities BDP. Please email the BDP office with any questions about this change.

Courses in a Strand [6-9 hours]

Students should work with their BDP advisor to choose strand courses that will focus the BDP on specific interests, and that will provide an interdisciplinary perspective. In order to create an interdisciplinary experience, students must choose courses from a variety of disciplines.

Connecting Experiences [3-6 hours]

BDP advisors assist students in finding meaningful connecting research and/or internship experiences related to Smart Cities.

Required Technology Course

All students in the Smart Cities BDP must, in the process of completing their certificate requirements, take at least one course designated as including a substantial focus on smart cities-relevant technologies. These courses are designated with “-T” on the curriculum sheet.

Integration Essay

Students write a three to four-page essay at the end of the BDP experience, drawing together the different pieces of the BDP.

Faculty Panel

An interdisciplinary faculty panel guides students in choosing courses and identifying connecting research and internship experiences that allow them to explore issues related to Smart Cities as they connect to students’ majors and career goals.