Urban & Regional Studies

Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies


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The Urban and Regional Studies Program is an interdisciplinary major which prepares students for careers in planning, public administration, policy analysis, community activism, and other fields related to urban development and urban change. The program incorporates resources from many departments and stresses the inherent interdependence in urban life, such as the connections between urban and rural development, cultural change and economic change, and uneven development. Students gain insight into the complexities of life in urban areas and are encouraged to understand the global context of current urban problems. The program also prepares students for graduate study in planning, public administration, law, and the social sciences.

The mission of the Urban and Regional Studies Program is to prepare the future generation of urban scholars and professionals in urban-related fields. The program seeks to integrate the following five principles into its curriculum:

  • Interdisciplinary– the program recognizes the importance of drawing from the disciplinary expertise of many different disciplines in order to form a sophisticated understanding of urban issues.
  • Practicality – the program seeks to be both theoretical and applied. Therefore students learn about real-world urban problems, draw upon the theoretical expertise of urban scholars, and combine these analyses in finding solutions to urban problems.
  • Sustainability – the program is formed around a commitment to finding politically, socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable solutions to urban problems and developing urban system that will serve future generations of urban residents.
  • Globalization – the program understands that urban issues are global in nature. Thus we stress the interdependence of urban systems in a globally interconnected world.
  • Diversity – the program views cities as places where diverse populations of people interact with one another and create their lives. Therefore we stress the skills needed to communicate and coexist in cities of difference.