List of All U.S. Colleges with an Urban Studies Major

Have you ever wondered why Paris’ arrondissements are arranged in a “snail shell” pattern? Do you wish you could make Atlanta’s public transportation system more efficient?

 

If so, you may want to consider majoring in Urban Studies. Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary field that uses sociology, economics, history, and humanities to study city life and government. Urban Studies majors study the political, economic, social, physical, and cultural landscapes of the city.

 

Overview of the Urban Studies Major

 

In Urban Studies classes, you’ll study why people live in cities, how the landscape and built environment affects behavior, and how to address complex problems like wealth inequality, gentrification, climate change, and educational access.

 

Topics covered in Urban Studies courses may include some of the following:

 

  • Sustainability
  • Social justice
  • Urban economics/political economy
  • Urban planning/design
  • History and contemporary analysis of urbanization 
  • Theoretical frameworks for understanding cities, like economic analysis, statistics, social science theory, research methods, and visualization

 

You may be a good fit for Urban Studies if you:

 

  • Enjoy reading, writing, and analyzing data;
  • Are passionate about issues that affect city residents;
  • Are prepared to plan and execute all aspects of a research project: create a proposal, interview people, and write a paper or present findings.

 

There’s no general guideline on whether Urban Studies majors go to grad school or not—some continue on to academic careers in Urban Studies; others go on to complete professional degrees; others do not go to grad school at all.

 

Majoring in Urban Studies will prepare you for career paths in some of the following fields:

 

  • Government, Law, Public Policy
  • Nonprofit and Social Justice
  • Business and Real Estate

 

What to Look for in a College as an Urban Studies Major

 

Support in finding internships in related fields

 

Urban studies is a liberal arts major that doesn’t directly lead to a career, so it’s important to have the support to explore professional options. This generally means a knowledgeable career and academic advisors, and a strong alumni network in urban government, nonprofit, and business fields.

 

A strong major community

 

This is related to the point above; having a strong major community means better access to real-life connections and potentially involvement with urban communities.

 

Senior project/capstone research project

 

Urban Studies’ interdisciplinary nature means that there many subjects, frameworks, and focuses within the field. Completing a larger research project helps build knowledge and expertise in a specialized topic for future endeavors.

 

A wide interdisciplinary curriculum

 

Having a wide variety of courses will allow you to apply Urban Studies tools to real situations. In many cases, the Urban Studies department will provide a list of approved courses from other departments, along with their own course options. For example, at Brown University, students may fulfill major requirements by taking classes in American Studies, Anthropology, English, Geology, History of Art and Architecture, Political Science, and Sociology (among many other departments).

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

List of All U.S. Colleges With an Urban Studies Major

 

School

City

State

University of California, Irvine | UC Irvine

Irvine

California

University of Connecticut | UConn

Storrs

Connecticut

Connecticut College

New London

Connecticut

Trinity College

Hartford

Connecticut

Rhodes College

Memphis

Tennessee

University of California, San Diego | UCSD

La Jolla

California

Rutgers University-Camden

Camden

New Jersey

Northwestern University

Evanston

Illinois

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie

New York

College of Charleston

Charleston

South Carolina

California State University, Northridge | CSUN

Northridge

California

University of New Orleans | UNO

New Orleans

Louisiana

University of Missouri‚ Kansas City | UMKC

Kansas City

Missouri

Furman University

Greenville

South Carolina

Ohio University

Athens

Ohio

Ohio Wesleyan University

Delaware

Ohio

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor

Michigan

Rutgers University, New Brunswick | Rutgers

New Brunswick

New Jersey

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn

New York

Manhattan College

Riverdale

New York

Fordham University

Bronx

New York

The State University of New York at Buffalo | SUNY Buffalo

Buffalo

New York

University of Nevada, Las Vegas | UNLV

Las Vegas

Nevada

Stanford University

Stanford

California

Elmhurst College

Elmhurst

Illinois

San Diego State University | SDSU

San Diego

California

Boston University | BU

Boston

Massachusetts

Lipscomb University

Nashville

Tennessee

Tennessee State University | TSU

Nashville

Tennessee

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | Minnesota

Minneapolis

Minnesota

Lehigh University

Bethlehem

Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr

Pennsylvania

Jackson State University | JSU

Jackson

Mississippi

The State University of New York at Albany | SUNY Albany

Albany

New York

New York Institute of Technology | NYIT

Old Westbury

New York

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati

Ohio

University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

Austin

Texas

University of California, Berkeley | UC Berkeley

Berkeley

California

Worcester State University

Worcester

Massachusetts

Dillard University

New Orleans

Louisiana

Portland State University | PSU

Portland

Oregon

Morehouse College

Atlanta

Georgia

University of San Francisco | USF

San Francisco

California

San Francisco State University | SF State

San Francisco

California

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee | UWM

Milwaukee

Wisconsin

University of Pittsburgh | Pitt

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

Towson University

Towson

Maryland

Georgia State University

Atlanta

Georgia

University of Nebraska Omaha | UNO

Omaha

Nebraska

Brown University

Providence

Rhode Island

College of Wooster

Wooster

Ohio

Hobart and William Smith Colleges | HWS

Geneva

New York

Saint Louis University | SLU

Saint Louis

Missouri

Washington University in St. Louis | WashU

Saint Louis

Missouri

Wayne State University | WSU

Detroit

Michigan

University of Illinois at Chicago | UIC

Chicago

Illinois

Loyola Marymount University | LMU

Los Angeles

California

University of Minnesota Duluth | UMD

Duluth

Minnesota

Cleveland State University | CSU

Cleveland

Ohio

University of South Carolina Upstate | USC Upstate

Spartanburg

South Carolina

University of Utah

Salt Lake City

Utah

University of Toledo

Toledo

Ohio

Wright State University

Dayton

Ohio

Wheaton College (Illinois)

Wheaton

Illinois

Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU

Richmond

Virginia

University of Pennsylvania | UPenn

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

University of Southern California | USC

Los Angeles

California

New York University | NYU

New York

New York

Barnard College

New York

New York

Columbia University

New York

New York

Hunter College | CUNY Hunter

New York

New York

City College of New York | CCNY

New York

New York

New School

New York

New York

Trinity University

San Antonio

Texas

Seattle Pacific University | SPU

Seattle

Washington

 

Did we miss your school? Email us and let us know!

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

Colleges don’t usually have specific criteria for Urban Studies majors prior to application. As with other applicants, grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and essays will determine the likelihood of acceptance.

 

Most selective schools first screen applicants by their grades and test scores using a tool called the Academic Index. You’ll have a good chance of being accepted if your numbers fit or surpass those of previously admitted students.

 

If your quantitative data looks good, the next step is to make sure your extracurricular activities and essay topics demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the school and the Urban Studies major.

 

Demonstrating an enduring interest in city life and its challenges will make your application more focused. You might consider volunteering with nonprofits or participating in activism. You should also study economics, history, politics, and environmental science if you can.

 

If you want to know your personal chances of acceptance, we recommend using our Chancing Engine (it’s free). Unlike other calculators, it takes into account a large portion of your individual profile, including academic stats and more qualitative factors like extracurriculars.

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Alura Chung-Mehdi
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Alura Chung-Mehdi graduated from Amherst College with a degree in English. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking, rock climbing, and daydreaming.