Urban Studies, BA

Urban Studies students are interested in making a difference and connecting to real world issues. To do this well, students learn about urban history and current challenges. They come to understand how policy at the national level and global economic trends affect what we see at the local, even neighborhood level. In a broad, theoretical sense, the central intellectual frame of Urban Studies is about understanding people and place at different spatial scales. Individuals, groups, and public officials make decisions and design policy that in turn affects how people and resources are distributed in space and defines what kinds of places result. Urban Studies students take this understanding to explain the conditions of urban places and work towards creating places that foster equity, better health outcomes, environmental sustainability, and a better quality of life. In addition to urban studies coursework and coursework in a disciplinary concentration, all of our students complete an internship for credit and carry out an original research project.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 34. Double majors may entail more course units.

Urban Studies is a flexible major and requires conferring with an advisor to tailor a set of courses that fit your interests. This online worksheet is meant as a planning tool; before you will be accepted to the major, you are required to meet with an Urban Studies advisor to go over your plans and address your questions.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Introduction to Urban Research
URBS 2000Introduction to Urban Research1
Fieldwork Seminar
URBS 3000Fieldwork Seminar2
Senior Seminar
URBS 4000Senior Seminar1
The Disciplinary Focus
Select 3 course units of Discipline Cluster courses in a particular department or program3
Urban Studies Themes
Select 1 course unit in History of Cities1
Select 1 course unit in Comparative and Theoretical Dimensions1
Select 1 course unit in The Built Environment1
Select 1 course unit in Urban Economics / Finance1
Select 1 course unit in Public Policy / Government1
Select 2 additional course units in any theme2
Total Course Units34

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Requirement. A minimum grade of A- in URBS 4000 Senior Seminar.

URBS 4010Urban Studies Honors (or Honors Paper)1


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.