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. Concentrators enjoy the breadth of courses in American Studies, economics, history, literature, history of art and architecture, political science, sociology, and planning as well as provide in-depth courses integrating those perspectives. We introduce the fundamentals of Urban Studies scholarship as well as intense examination of an urban problem in focused seminars. These advanced seminars offer opportunities to write extensive and synthetic interdisciplinary analyses that serve as capstones to the concentration.

The program's 10-course curriculum provides sufficient flexibility to allow students to pursue specific urban interests or to take courses in urban focus areas of Built Environment; Humanities; Social Sciences; and Sustainable Urbanism. The Program insures that students master at least one basic research methodology and perform research or fieldwork projects, which may result in an honors thesis. Fieldwork training includes working with local agencies and nonprofit organizations on practical urban problems. Capstone projects entail original research papers in Urban Studies seminars; academically supervised video, artistic, or community service projects; and Honors Theses for eligible concentrators.

Concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their curriculum and long-term engaged activities such as internships, public service, humanitarian and development work, and many other possible forms of community involvement might consider the Engaged Scholar Program in US. The program combines preparation, experience, and reflection to offer students opportunities to enhance the integration of academic learning and social engagement.

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Learn a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approach to solving complex urban problems
  • Become conversant in diverse and international perspectives on cities and urban life
  • Engage the local community through fieldwork, research, internships, and summer experiences
  • Master basic writing and statistics and develop critical thinking and collaborative skills
  • Conduct a research, fieldwork, or capstone project that integrates urban-related courses

Department Undergraduate Group (DUG)

Student Leaders: Adrienne Wolff, Emily Winston, Josh Danielson, Rose Carillo

Graduating Class

Class Year Total Students Capstones Completed Honors Graduates
2014 11  10 
2015 16  16 
2016 31  31 
2017 30  30 
2018 21  21 
2019 31 31 3


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dietrich Neumann