Urban Studies

Urban Studies

Courses & Curriculum

Contemporary American society is an urban society. The future American society, with all its problems and prospects, will also be urban in nature. The Urban Studies program is designed to prepare students for professional work in urban and public administrative fields, and to give students who enter other fields a broad understanding of the urban context in which they will live their lives.

The program concentrates on issues that are very close to our experience — economic growth and decline, public education, health, housing, land-use planning, poverty, racial and ethnic relations, transportation, crime, community development and others. Since no one approach to understanding and resolving such complex problems is sufficient, the Urban Studies program acquaints students with a variety of approaches to, and tools for, analyzing the interrelationships of the 21st century urban milieu. As half of a dual major, the program allows for a necessary specialized grounding in a traditional discipline, while providing a planned, interdisciplinary program in place of free electives. The student must major in one of the traditional disciplines such as Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, History, or Sociology/Anthropology, and then use free electives in a coordinated, interdisciplinary program comprising a major in Urban Studies.

The program is organized to permit the student a choice between Option I (Liberal Arts) and Option II (Urban Public Management). Option I provides the student with an opportunity to examine the urban phenomena from a multiplicity of different perspectives and disciplines. Option II offers a specialized series of courses that are vital to a promising public administrator. 

The Urban Studies program offers a solid preparation for graduate programs in public administration, community development and planning, social work, public policy, criminal justice and urban affairs. It is also a recommended choice for pre-law students, and for those aspiring to careers in journalism, communications, teaching, government service, social work, law enforcement, community organization and land-use planning, as well as those industries that are increasingly conscious of the influence of urban society upon them and their impact on urban society.

Extensive internship and professional research experiences are an integral component of the Urban Studies program. Such activities are a vital aspect of preparation for graduate school and/or a professional career. Also, an intensive study of computer programming as applicable to the social sciences is provided.

Qualifications for the major

Students must maintain at least a “C” average in all coursework to remain in the program.  Satisfactory performance in basic Urban Studies courses is required for admission to the Internship and Independent Study. 

(NOTE: Students in those few majors that require thirteen or more courses for their majors may find difficulty fitting the Urban Studies program into their schedules.)

Urban Studies Curriculum:

A. Major requirements:  
a. Urban Studies requirements:   
PSC 104 American Political Process  
ECO 102 Principles of Microeconomics  3 credits
PSC 237 State and Local Politics  3 credits
PSC 334 Public Administration  3 credits
PSC 336 Urban Government and Politics  3 credits
HIS 237 The Birth of Modern America  
HIS 373 Urban Portraits: Topics in Urban History 3 credits
ECO 310 Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS 3 credits
ECO 311 Regional Economics and GIS  3 credits
ECO 312 Spatial Economics and GIS   
ECO 411 State and Local Finance   
URS 400 The Urban Challenge 1 credit
Urban Studies Electives: three courses to be chosen 
from the following: CRJ 227, ECO 101, ECO 310, ECO 311, 
ECO 312, ECO 411, FAH 109, HIS 237, HIS 381, 
HIS 382, HIS 396, HIS 460, PSC 103, PSC 215, 
PSC 217, URS 498, URS 499, RST 225, 
SOC 111, SOC 340
9 credits 
B. Requirements of second major  (varies)  

3.  Free electives: 
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours. 

Note: Additional courses may be substituted with permission of the Urban Studies director. Not more than two elective courses may be  double counted with the first major electives.

Dual Majors

A second major is required. Common second majors include Criminal Justice, Economics, English, Political Science, History, Religious Studies or Sociology/Anthropology.


URS 400 The Urban Challenge   1 credit
URS 498 Urban Internship   3 credits
Prerequisite: Placement by Urban Studies Director. Spring & Fall
URS 499 Independent Study   3 credits
Research and/or directed reading under direction of faculty members associated with Urban Studies Program. Prerequisite: Permission of Urban Studies Director.  Spring & Fall