Program Options:
Area of Concentration, Joint Concentration

As an Urban Studies student at New College, you will learn about cities throughout the world, as well as the range of issues that these cities grapple with. 

About the Urban Studies Area of Concentration

Students in Urban Studies draw on multiple disciplines from across the curriculum in order to understand the social, political-economic, cultural and ecological processes of growth and decline that have shaped the structure and development of human settlements, from rural villages to metropolitan regions.

The focus of urban studies is the city, but this is not as narrow as it might seem. Urban studies covers the history and development of forms of human settlement from rural villages and small towns to sprawling metropolitan regions and contemporary global “mega-cities.” To understand the city as a form of human settlement, it is necessary to understand the history and processes of urban growth (and decline); the patterns of urban vs. suburban development; the politics, economics and sociology of the way we create and occupy the built landscape; the contested nature of the city as a site of inequalities of class, race and gender; and the relationship of the built environment to the underlying natural systems of the planet.

For an area of concentration in Urban Studies, students design a multidisciplinary program of course work that includes a core introduction to urban issues, tools for urban analysis, and foundational work in disciplines related to the student’s particular interests and career aspirations. Advisers work closely with students to explore career possibilities and craft a coherent and focused program, oriented towards a career path.

Recent Courses

  • Urban Sociology
  • Introduction to Sociological Research Methods
  • Research Methods in Political Science
  • Ethnography
  • Introduction to Sociology through Inequality
  • Science, Policy, Media and Politics
  • Medieval Cities
  • Rise of Urban America
  • Death, Hell, and Capitalism
  • Urban Ecology
  • Sustainable Cities

Career Pathways

  • Government Research
  • Urban Planning
  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Law
  • Education
  • Social Science Research

Contact Us

David Brain

Urban Studies Program Director, Professor of Sociology
Image of David Brain
Phone Number
Email Address
College Hall 207
Social Science 102
Office / Division / Concentration
Urban Studies
Environmental Studies

Urban Studies Steering Committee

Uzi Baram Professor of Anthropology
Director of New College Public Archaeology Lab
Office / Division / Concentration Social Sciences Division Anthropology Urban Studies Museum Studies Environmental Studies
Carrie Beneš Professor of History
Chart Your Course Director
Office / Division / Concentration Social Sciences Division Medieval and Renaissance Studies History Urban Studies
David Brain Urban Studies Program Director
Professor of Sociology
Office / Division / Concentration Social Sciences Division Urban Studies Environmental Studies Sociology
Brad Oberle Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
Office / Division / Concentration Natural Sciences Division Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center Biology Environmental Studies Marine Biology Urban Studies
Jack Reilly Associate Professor of Political Science
Office / Division / Concentration Social Sciences Division Political Science Public Policy Applied Data Science Graduate Program Quantitative Social Science Urban Studies
Maria D. Vesperi Professor of Anthropology
Office / Division / Concentration Social Sciences Division Anthropology Urban Studies