Students seeking an Area of Concentration in Urban Studies work with their adviser to develop a plan of study that covers the requirements but also includes courses relevant to their particular interests within the broad scope of Urban Studies.

The requirements for completing an area of concentration in Urban Studies are organized into four parts:

Core. What is Urban Studies?
Tools for Urban Analysis. What are the tools available for an integrated and practical study of urban development?
Disciplinary Foundations. What disciplinary knowledge do I need as both foundational to work in Urban Studies, and where do I need more advanced courses to develop my skills?
Internship or practicum. How are the tools and knowledge of Urban Studies put into practice in different settings?

The requirements are designed to ensure that every student acquires a foundation in some common courses while retaining enough flexibility that each student can plan a course of study (in consultation with their advisers) that is tailored to their particular interests. Since specific courses may not always be available, and faculty often introduce new courses appropriate to students’ interests within Urban Studies, students should expect to work with their adviser and discuss options with the Urban Studies faculty as they put together their plan to complete the area of concentration.

For a full Area of Concentration


  • Introduction to Urban Studies.
  • Urban-related course in the social sciences: Urban Anthropology, Urban Sociology, Introduction to Geography.
  • A course in urban history (e.g. Medieval Cities; Rise of Urban America; History and Theories of Urban Form).

In addition to the core courses, every student must schedule a career exploration session with a counselor at the Center for Engagement and Opportunity.

Tools for Urban Analysis (3 courses):

  • One course related to spatial analysis. (Intro to GIS, Introduction to Mapping, or equivalent).
  • One course related to either quantitative or qualitative analysis.
    • i. Quantitative. (e.g. Dealing with Data I, Statistics for the Social Sciences; Quantitative Political Analysis).
    • ii. Qualitative (e.g., Introduction to Sociological Research Methods; Research Methods in Political Science; Historical Methods; Ethnography).
  •  One course related to visual communication (or an additional course in quantitative or qualitative analysis). (e.g., Drawing; Photography; Data Visualization and Communication; advanced GIS).

Disciplinary Foundations:

Five courses from the following list, including at least one advanced seminar with an urban focus. At least five courses from the list of courses eligible for credit (depending on the student’s specific interests and focus). A key part of planning an individual student’s program will be consideration of the foundational work necessary to prepare for an eventual career in the field. Advisers will work closely with students to craft a coherent and focused program, oriented to a potential career path. These courses can be drawn from the following areas:

  • Space & Place: Urban Geography. (For example Postcolonial Geography or Geography of Globalization.)
  • Understanding Power & Inequality: Race, Class, Gender. (For example: Introduction to Sociology through Inequality.)
  • Urban Politics & Public Policy: (For example: Citizenship, Political Authority and the Public Sphere; Sustainable Development. Research Design Workshop in Political Science. Climate Change: Science, Policy, Media and Politics. Political Geography.)
  • Urban History. (For example: Medieval Cities; History & Legacy of Rome; Rise of Urban America; Death, Hell, and Capitalism; The Gothic Cathedral.)
  • Culture and Place: (For example: Cultures of the Contemporary U.S.; Heritage: History and the Past Today; Tourism: Culture, Power, Place; Landscapes: Past & Present; Visual Anthropology; Race & Ethnicity in Global Perspective. Public Art and its Publics (Art History). The City in World Literature: Globalized Gentrification (Literature).
  • Urban Economics. (For example: Intro to Micro; Intro to Macro; Environmental Economics; Public Finance.)
  • Urban Ecology. (For example: Foundations of Biology. Urban Ecology. Biology of Urbanization. Microbiology, Microbiology Lab.
  • Urban Planning. (For example: Sustainable Cities; Cities and Suburbs; Collaboration by Design: Facilitation, Consensus Building and Conflict Resolution.)

Internship or Urban Lab (practicum)

Each student is expected to complete a semester (or summer) internship in a related field. The Urban Lab is a practicum in which students will participate in a group project in collaboration with local community partners. Availability of an Urban Lab project varies year to year.

Thesis Project

Students may choose to participate in a capstone thesis workshop.

For a joint concentration

In order to combine Urban Studies with another AOC, students will be required to complete eight courses in Urban Studies (including a practicum or internship), in addition to related foundational work in the other area of concentration.

  • Core Courses (3 courses)
  • Spatial Analysis (1 course) e.g., GIS, introduction to mapping).
  • Urban Analysis (1 course, e.g., Statistics, research methods, quantitative or qualitative analytical skills).
  • Urban-related Practicum or Internship (1 full term equivalent).
  • Relevant disciplinary coursework (2 courses, to be determined in consultation with faculty).

In addition, it is expected that they will take courses as part of the other AOC that contribute to the development of critical perspectives and communication skills relevant to Urban Studies. A member of the Urban Studies faculty will serve on the baccalaureate committee and the thesis or senior project will reflect the joint nature of the concentration. (For example: Biology/Urban Studies. Data Science/Urban Studies. Economics/Urban Studies.)

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