Undergraduate Major in Urban Studies

Committee Interdisciplinary Major in Urban Studies

The undergraduate major in Urban Studies provides the opportunity for students to explore scholarship on cities, suburban communities, and metropolitan regions with an interdisciplinary lens. The major, although sharing the interdisciplinary character of the certificate program, is more tightly focused, drawing on coursework from the social science and humanities disciplines (sociology, geography, history, political science, and urban studies), and the professional and technical field of urban planning.

Although the major is interdisciplinary, Urban Studies encompasses a distinct body of knowledge. Four required Urban Studies courses form the foundation of the major: Urb Std 150 Multicultural America, which is a core course that includes a service learning component in which students complete part of the course requirements working in an urban organization or agency; one of two urban studies survey courses (UrbStd 250 or 360); a theory course on urbanism and urbanization (UrbStd/Sociol 377), and a Capstone Seminar, to be taken in a student’s senior year. Students also take a statistics course, which is a standard requirement for social science majors. In addition, students complete five elective courses selected from urban studies, the four affiliated disciplines (sociology, history, geography, political science), and urban planning.

Students may (and are encouraged to) complete some of their elective credits in internship (UrbStd 289 or 489). Students in the major are encouraged to participate in various USP-sponsored events, such as the annual Urban Studies Student Forum conference and the Henry Maier State of Milwaukee Summit, and to also contribute to the e.polis e-journal which publishes one undergraduate submission each issue. The major in Urban Studies is designed to be flexible to allow the student to develop a strong foundation from the core course work and to build a set of elective courses that address particular urban histories and problems from a variety of different disciplines, depending on student interest and future goals.

To declare a major in Urban Studies, make an appointment with the Urban Studies Associate Director, Dr. Jamie Harris (jmh@uwm.edu) at 414-229-4629 to discuss and complete the declaration form and written statement.

Major Requirements and Approved Courses

  • Coursework from at least two L&S departments; no more than 9 credits in one department outside Urban Studies
  • Minimum of 30 credits; 18 credits must be taken in L&S courses of which 15 credits must be in 300 or above courses
  • Students must attain a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all UWM credits attempted for the major

A student wishing to major in Urban Studies must complete 30 credits in approved Urban Studies or urban-related courses that include:

Core Course:
UrbStd 150: Multicultural America (this courses includes a service learning component), 3 credits
Urban Studies Survey Courses - one of the following:
UrbStd 250: Exploring the Urban Environment, 3 credits
UrbStd 360: Perspectives on the Urban Scene (any topic), 3 credits
Theory Course:
UrbStd 377: Urbanism and Urbanization, 3 credits
Capstone Seminar:
UrbStd 600: Capstone Seminar in Urban Studies (note: this course satisfies the research requirement and is taken in the senior year), 3 credits
Statistics course:
Sociology 261, Geography 247, Political Science 390, History 595, or an approved equivalent course, 3 credits

Besides the 15 Credits, from the above, you will need 15 additional credits of course electives from Urban Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Geography, History, and Urban Planning (see list of approved courses, below).

Approved Courses

An additional 5 course electives (15 credits) to reach the 30 credit minimum in the major can come from the following:

All Urban Studies courses:
UrbStd 250 Exploring the Urban Environment (if not taken as the survey course)
UrbStd 297: Study Abroad
UrbStd 360: a second course with a different topic or first course if 250 taken as survey course)
UrbStd 289/489: Internship in Urban Studies
UrbStd 499: Ad Hoc: The Crisis of the American City - Viewed Through HBO's The Wire
UrbStd 601: Fundamental of Urban Planning
UrbStd 607: Aging and Public Policy
UrbStd 625: Law and Urban Poverty
UrbStd 639: Health Care and Public Policy
Geog 140: Our Urban Environment: Introduction to Urban Geography
Geog 114: Geography of Race in the United States
Geog 215: Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences
Geog 440: City Systems and Metropolitan Development
Geog 441: Geography of Cities and Metropolitan Areas
Geog 443: Cities of the World: Comparative Urban Geography
Geog 464: Environmental Problems
Geog 520: Physical Geography of the City
Geog 525: Geographic Information Science
Geog 540: Globalization and the City
Geog 564: Urban Environmental Change and Social Justice
Geog 625: Intermediate Geographic Information Science
Hist 192: Freshman Seminar: "The Burbs: History of American Suburbs"
Hist 404: Topics in American History: "Big City Life Viewed Through HBO's The Wire subtitle
Hist 436: Immigrant America Since 1880
Hist 440: History of the American Working Class
Hist 446: African Americans Since the Civil War
Hist 450: Growth of Metropolitan Milwaukee
Hist 460: History of Poverty
Hist 463: History of American City
Political Science:
PolSci 213: Urban Government and Politics
PolSci 243: Public Administration
PolSci 387: Seminar in American Politics: "Urban Politics" subtitle
PolSci 413: Governing Metropolitan Areas
PolSci 444: Politics and Bureaucracy
PolSci 450: Urban Political Problems
PolSci 452: Administrative Law
Sociol 193: Freshman Seminar: "College in the City" subtitle
Sociol 224: American Minority Groups
Sociol 235: Social Change in the Global Economy
Sociol 307: Industrial Sociology
Sociol 323: Perspectives on Latino Communities
Sociol 324: Comparative Race Relations
Sociol 325: Social Change
Sociol 330: Economy and Society
Sociol 423: Immigration and Incorporation: (all topics)
Sociol 450: Environmental Sociology
Sociol 472: Population and Society
Sociol 610: Reproduction of Minority Communities
Urban Planning:
All Urban Planning courses