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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Feb 29, 2024
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Urban Studies, BA

The Urban Studies Program offers a major for students who have an interest in unraveling the complexities of the urban world. The major is interdisciplinary, meaning that students learn about cities as historical, social, cultural, economic, and political phenomena. The major is real world, meaning that students take this learning with them and apply it to the world beyond the classroom. Finally, the major is career-oriented, meaning that students attempt to find a role for themselves in the urban environment. To accomplish all of these goals, the Urban Studies Program has designed a curriculum which integrates knowing with doing. The urban studies major combines courses offered by the program itself with courses offered through other social science departments. Students are encouraged to take URBNST 0010 Introduction to Urban Studies as early as possible, ideally in the fall or spring of the freshman year, and to develop a broad background in the social sciences among lower-level social science courses.

The Urban Studies major requires the completion of 36 credits distributed as follows.

Major Requirements

Core courses

All of the following courses; these courses should be completed early in the student’s academic program

  • URBNST 0010 Introduction to Urban Studies
  • URBNST 0030 Introduction to GIS
  • URBNST 0050 Introduction to Urban Research
  • URBNST 0070 Urban Social Theory

Intermediate Electives

Students must take at least four courses according to the following guidelines.

Urban Studies courses

At least two of the following Urban Studies courses.

  • URBNST 0100 World Urban Patterns
  • URBNST 0108 Urban Economic Geography
  • URBNST 0112 Social Justice and the City
  • URBNST 0114 Urban Sustainability
  • URBNST 0120 Urban Geography
  • URBNST 0130 Applied GIS
  • URBNST 0140 Crime and Punishment
  • URBNST 0150 GIS & Community Data
  • URBNST 0160 Data Visualization

Other electives

At least one of the following courses

  • URBNST 0200 Internship
  • URBNST 0400 ‘Global City’ Study Abroad Courses
  • URBNST 0413 Sustainable Cities 1
  • URBNST 0415 Sustainable Cities 2
  • URBNST 0600 Independent Research
  • URBNST 0810 Field Analysis of Global Urbanism
  • URBNST 0820 Advanced International Field Placement
  • ARC 0110 Approaches to the Built Environment
  • COMMRC 1103 Rhetoric and Culture
  • ECON 0230 Introduction to Public Economics
  • ENGLIT 0628 Working Class Literature
  • FR 0017 Paris: Urbanism Past and Present
  • HIST 1019 Cities in Historical Perspective
  • PUBSRV 0030 Public Policy Process
  • SOC 0444 Urban Sociology

Advanced Electives

Advanced elective courses

Students must take three courses according to the following guidelines.

Urban Studies courses

Advanced Urban Studies courses; choose two courses

  • URBNST 0300 Remaking Cities
  • URBNST 0320 US Housing & Property
  • URBNST 0340 Urban Ethnography
  • URBNST 0360 International Urbanism
  • URBNST 0380 Field Research Seminar
  • URBNST 0710 Urban Culture: Special Topics
  • URBNST 0750 Urban Methods: Special Topics
  • URBNST 0770 Urban Theory: Special Topics

Other electives

Advanced courses from another discipline; choose one course.

  • ANTH 1530 Origins of Cities
  • ARC 0300 Intro to Historic Preservation
  • ARC 1180 World Cities
  • ARC 1181 Pittsburgh Arch. & Urbanism
  • HIST 1135 Berlin: History of a European Metropolis
  • JS 1160 Jerusalem: History and Imagination
  • PS 1251 Urban Government and Politics
  • PUBSRV 1100 Practices in Public Administration
  • SOC 1286 Race and the City
  • SOCWRK 1000 Introduction to Social Work
  • SOC 1476 Urban Policy and Planning

Capstone course

  • URBNST 0900 Urban Studies Research Seminar

Additional Requirements

Grade requirements: A minimum GPA of 2.0 in departmental and concentration courses is required for graduation.

Satisfactory/No Credit option: There is no limit to the number of courses in the major that can be taken on an S/NC basis.

Writing requirement: Students must complete one W-course in the major. URBNST 0900 Urban Studies Research Seminar fulfills this requirement.

Study abroad: It would be desirable for students to add an international dimension to their undergraduate education through their participation in a study abroad program.

Urban Students Association: The Urban Students Association (U.S.A.) is an official student organization formed by students in the Urban Studies Program. Through U.S.A., students have been actively involved in issues related to the major throughout the Pittsburgh region. U.S.A. has invited guest speakers to appear on campus, organized field trips, and participated in numerous community projects.

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