The field of urban studies investigates cities and urban life in their physical, environmental, social, economic, and political manifestations. It explores the causes, prevalence, and consequences of urban challenges, and considers the theory and practice of addressing such challenges. Its subjects range in scale from global social inequalities, to the local and personal ramifications of neighborhood design.
Students from any major can benefit from minoring in urban studies. Social scientists will learn public management and community organizing. Engineers will learn about urban infrastructure systems, including water supply and transportation. Humanities majors will discover that planning thought draws heavily on critical analyses of race, class, and ethnicity. Science majors will find that planners apply knowledge of statistics, engineering, and environmental systems to solve complex problems.
The Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program prepares students to play a significant role in creating a desirable future by confronting the complex physical and social challenges in our cities and regions. It is a two-year professional program that is a gateway to opportunities in Planning and Planning-related practice including work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Planners hold positions in all aspects of planning and development such as environmental sustainability, economic development, housing production and policy, land use and transportation planning, international development planning, and community organizing and development.
The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is a two-year, professional degree program that provides training for highly motivated and talented individuals to become leaders at the local, state, national and international level in the development and management of policies that lead to a more productive public sector, a more productive private sector, and more vibrant communities. Administered by both the School of Social Ecology and the School of Social Sciences, the program is rigorously interdisciplinary and draws on the strengths of an abundance of faculty with expertise in public policy across fields ranging from economics, criminology, political science and sociology, to urban planning, psychology and anthropology. In the first year, students will attend an introductory conference, participate in a workshop, and take seven core courses and two elective courses. In the summer after the first year, students will participate in a policy-relevant internship in an appropriate government, business, or nonprofit setting. In the second year, students take three core courses and five elective courses.
The Ph.D. program admits qualified students with a bachelor's or master's degree from a variety of social science, humanities, and physical science disciplines, or from professional fields, including planning, policy, and design. Students who are admitted have a strong background in at least one of the academic disciplines related to urban planning, public policy, or design-behavior research, and a demonstrated fit with existing faculty research interests and expertise.
The department offers concurrent degree programs in Civil Engineering or Law, with curriculum coordination allowing students to specialize and obtain two degrees in less time than if they were pursued separately. Eligibility requires separate applications and acceptance to each program. For information on concurrent degree programs, please visit the following links: