The Program on Urban Studies treats urbanism as an interdisciplinary field; it brings together students, faculty, and outside specialists concerned with cities and the impacts of cities on society and people’s lives. The Urban Studies major encourages students to inquire deeply into the nature of cities and the techniques used to modify urban environments. It prepares students to address urbanization, and gives students a knowledge base and theoretical, analytical, and practical skills to understand urban social systems and effect social change.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program on Urban Studies

Cities are now home to more than half of humanity. The mission of the undergraduate Program on Urban Studies aims to develop students' understanding of the nature of cities and their impact on the world. The dynamic and complex nature of cities challenges traditional disciplinary boundaries, so the program is interdisciplinary, drawing from fields in the social sciences, the humanities, engineering, and education. Courses in the program focus on issues in contemporary urban society and the forces and practices that shape urban life. Courses also address how cities have changed over time and how they continue to change today in cultures around the world. Through a comprehensive program that includes course work, community engagement, and independent research, a major in Urban Studies prepares students for careers and graduate study in fields including architecture, business, education, environmental planning, law, public policy, real estate development, social services, urban design, and urban planning. It also prepares students to be critical thinkers, engaged citizens, and informed leaders who can help to transform cities for the better.

Declaring the Major

Students interested in declaring Urban Studies as a major must meet first with the co-director and one of the program’s advisors; they then declare the Urban Studies major on Axess.