Undergraduate Program

The Undergraduate Program

The Urban Studies Program teaches students to analyze the city, urban life, and urbanization through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Students learn where cities come from, how they grow, thrive, and decline, how they are organized, and how to construct meaningful, inclusive, secure, and sustainable places. The curriculum examines how urban problems arise, how they have been previously addressed, and how to plan cities of the future.

Liberal Learning Goals

Urban Studies embraces the overall goals of liberal education.  A quintessentially interdisciplinary program, it encourages comprehensive, synthetic approaches to complex problems.  Three writing-intensive research seminars and a rigorous quantitative methodology course provide students with skills in critical thinking, evidence-based problem solving, statistical literacy, and collaboration.  Through individual research or fieldwork projects, students learn to calculate, interpret, and communicate numerical and spatial data.  Seminar papers help students imagine real world applications of theories, communicate ideas effectively, and provide an opportunity to engage directly with their community.  In these ways, the Program trains socially responsible citizens while preparing students for a range of professions.

Urban Studies Faculty Advising

Advisors in Urban Studies aim to provide individualized attention so students can craft a set of courses that meet their own academic goals.  All members of the Urban Studies faculty serve as concentration advisors.  This reflects the inter-disciplinary nature of the field and the small faculty’s commitment to providing a good match with the students.  Faculty members welcome students to office hours that are posted on the Urban Studies faculty web page.

Community Involvement

The Urban Studies Program has a close relationship with the City of Providence. Faculty members serve on local and state government commissions.  They also lend their expertise to a wide range of community organizations. The Program offers seminars that apply ideas to conditions in Providence.  As part of their fieldwork training, students work with local agencies and non-profit organizations. Summer internships are available for concentrators. Students are also encouraged to undertake research involving the study of Providence and nearby cities for their honors thesis projects.