Humanity is at a turning point: a majority of the world's population now lives in cities. With increasing urbanization, global challenges have become more pressing than ever.

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.

The Urban Studies major builds on our School’s social-ecological foundation by teaching students how to discover, engage, and transform complex urban systems. Majors 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
For further information, please visit the PP&D home page at or consult with your undergraduate counselors at Also, see the following sample of our program plan: 3-year and 4-year program plan