Urban Studies Major

What will you do once you graduate? Here are just a few options:

Build affordable housing.

Reduce traffic congestion.

Make cities safer.

Clean the air.

Make democracy work.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, you can do all of this and more. 

The Urban Studies major is an interdisciplinary program for students who want to learn how to foster more equitable, inclusive, sustainable and livable cities. It integrates theories, analytical tools, and experiences from the fields of planning, policy, and design to investigate the causes, prevalence, and consequences of urban challenges and to develop approaches for addressing them.

By gaining understandings of modern cities and the social, historical, political, economic, and cultural forces shaping urban areas, Urban Studies graduates will play an important role in changing the way our cities work, with employment opportunities in a wide variety of government, business, nonprofit, law, education, and research settings. For more specific ideas of where your path might lead, take a look at the "Urban Studies - What Can I Do With This Major?" website, and view our Urban Studies Careers page.

Urban Studies is also excellent preparation for graduate or professional education programs in many fields, including urban and regional planning, public policy, law, business, public administration, public health, and social services.

The Urban Studies major builds on our School’s social-ecological foundation by teaching students how to discover, engage, and transform complex urban systems. Students learn about:

  • Theoretical frameworks for assessing the social, institutional, and cultural contexts of human-environment relations within cities
  • Conceptual and analytical tools for understanding complex and interconnected urban processes and systems across multiple spatial scales
  • Critical perspectives on historic and contemporary planning and governance strategies to address challenges including social inequality, sustainability/resilience, and inclusiveness
  • Technical and communicative skills for developing and implementing solutions to urban problems which are sensitive and responsive to local conditions, needs, and aspirations

Urban Studies Major requirements

One great source of information about the breadth and scope of urban studies is the UCI Libraries' Urban Planning and Public Policy Collection. Thanks to the department's librarian liaison, Julia Gelfand, the collection had been developed to support instruction and current research by our faculty and students, and reflects global coverage of relevant issues across many media formats. Take a look!