Urban Studies

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dean: Joel Kassiola

Urban Studies Program
HSS 261
Fax: 415-338-2391
Director: Deborah LeVeen


Professors--LeGates, LeVeen, Schneider

Associate Professor--Rivera-Pinderhughes


B.A. in Urban Studies

Minor in Urban Studies

Program Scope

The Urban Studies major offers an Interdisciplinary curriculum in planning and policy analysis designed to prepare students for a wide variety of professional careers.

The program is founded upon the conviction that urban universities have unique opportunities as well as responsibilities to help shape the future of city life. Because of their organic connection to the city, urban universities can provide educational programs which articulate directly with the ongoing activities of the city and which help to produce the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary to address the central issues of contemporary urban life.

The curriculum combines a liberal arts education with an applied, problem-solving focus, training in research methods, and practical hands-on experience in a carefully supervised internship and a senior practicum. Course requirements consist of two parts: core courses designed to present appropriate social science perspectives, develop the research and analytic tools necessary for planning and policy analysis, and offer hands-on experience; and electives designed to apply the basic core courses to a policy or professional focus of interest.

For a copy of the Urban Studies Advising Handbook or further information about the program, contact the Urban Studies Program.

The Minor in Urban Studies is designed to complement a wide range of majors by offering students an opportunity to develop competence in urban planning or policy analysis. The minor consists of a three course core and three specialized courses in urban planning or policy analysis. For further information about the minor, contact the Urban Studies Program.

The Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies is recognized as a solid basis for graduate study. Recent program graduates have gone on to graduate work in schools of city and regional planning (Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, the New School for Social Research, University of Texas at Austin), schools of public policy and administration (Kennedy School, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State), and other fields including law, architecture, social work, public health.

Career Outlook

The Urban Studies Program has been fortunate in attracting talented and motivated students whose central concern is the effort to make our cities more liveable, humane, and sustainable. These students have made important contributions as interns and researchers and as alumni they have gone on to work as planners, analysts, and managers in private, non-profit, and public organizations throughout the area. Urban Studies alumni are employed in local planning departments, housing and community development corporations, transportation planning agencies, programs, health and social service organizations, private consulting firms, environmental organizations, general public management positions, and in political organizations. The network of contacts maintained by the department with alumni provides solid evidence of the job opportunities available to Urban Studies graduates and their continuing contributions to the larger community and offers an invaluable resource to new graduates as they begin their employment search.


Courses within the Urban Studies Program are included in the course descriptions section, which is organized alphabetically by discipline. Many of the Urban Studies courses included below in the list of program requirements are cross-listed with other departments; information on cross-listings is included in the course description section. Consult Index for page reference.

Core Courses (required of all majors)

Historical and Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives
URBS 400	Dynamics of the American City				3

Three of the following courses:						11-12
URBS 535	Urban Economics
URBS 432	Urban Geography (4)
URBS 512	Urban Politics and Community Power (4)
SOC 480		Urban Sociology (4) or
URBS 555	Urban Anthropology (4)
Research Methods Sequence
URBS 492	Data Analysis						4
URBS 493	Research Methods					4
Foundation Course in Policy or Planning
One course chosen from the following:					4
URBS 480	Policy Analysis (4)
URBS 658	Land Use Planning (4)
Field Work and Practical Applications
URBS 603	Public Service Internships				3
URBS 604	Internship Seminar					1
URBS 680	Senior Seminar						4

Total for core								34-35

Electives/Focus of Interest

Three (3) upper division electives chosen byeach student with the approval of a 
faculty adviser, designed to develop competence in policy or professional 
areas of interest. See the Urban Studies Advising Handbook for a description of 
possible foci of interest.						9-12
Possible foci
Environmental Planning
Policy Analysis
Housing and Community Development
Health Policy
Land Use Planning
Computer Applications in Urban Analysis
Urban Law
Community Organizing
Social Services

Total for major								43-47


Core Courses (required of all students)

URBS 400	Dynamics of the American City				3
URBS 492	Research Methods					4
Emphasis (select one of the emphases listed below)			13-16

Total units								20-23


Urban Policy Emphasis
URBS 480	Policy Analysis						4

Three courses selected from the following:				9-11
URBS 560	Urban Poverty and Policy (4)
URBS 565	Social Policy and the Family (4)
URBS 570	Urban Health Policy
URBS 580	Urban Housing Policy
URBS 582	Homelessness and Public Policy
URBS 660	Nonprofit Organizations in Urban Life
Approved substitute(s) with consent of adviser (3-4)

Total for emphasis							13-15
Urban Planning Emphasis
URBS 658	Land Use Planning					4

Three courses selected from the following:				11-12
URBS 433	Urban Transportation (4)
URBS 513	Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment (4)
URBS 515	Race, Poverty, and the Urban Environment (4)
URBS 580	Urban Housing
URBS 652	Environmental Impact Analysis (4)
URBS 655Urban Environemntal Design (4)
Approved substitute(s) with consent of adviser (3-4)

Total for emphasis							15-16

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