Urban Studies

Students interested in career opportunities in the urban setting should consider a major in urban studies. This interdisciplinary major focuses on the urban community, its environment, and problems.

An understanding of the adaptations humans have made in past and present societies to the conditions of urban life serves as the basis for a study of broad issues and theoretical concerns. Students explore such topics as urban origins, migrations and ethnicity, economic conditions, spread of cities, types of urban personalities and groups, power structures and reform movements. Specialized training is provided in methods of analytical research in urban studies.

In lectures, class discussions, and practical field studies connected with specific courses, students have the opportunity to gain knowledge regarding urban problems and analyze areas such as housing, land use and growth, border issues, organization and management of urban governments, transportation, urban decline, neighborhoods, recreation, and social conflict. Problems and proposed solutions are evaluated. Discussions often center around the city of San Diego and urban areas within the State of California.

Program Overview

Preparation for the major includes coursework in anthropology, economics, geography, political science, sociology, and statistical methods. In addition, competency (equivalent to that which is normally attained through three consecutive courses of college study) is required in one foreign language as part of the preparation for the major.

A minimum of 30 upper-division units are required for the major, to include required courses in the subject areas of anthropology, economics, geography, Mexican American border studies, political science, public administration and urban studies, and sociology, each related to urban studies topics. Students must also select a specialization in one of these subject areas and complete 18 units in that specialization.

Special Features

The unique features of the urban studies major at SDSU include:

  • Internship opportunities exist in many departments for gaining practical experience in nonprofit organizations and various public and private sector agencies around California and the country.
  • Research opportunities available for students to work with faculty members in the area of specialization on current research projects.
  • Research and computer training opportunities are available at the Social Science Research Laboratory.
  • Work Experience. Many of the participating departments offer internship possibilities. However, students must have prior approval of the adviser before engaging in an internship. Opportunities can be found at all levels of government, the private sector, and various nonprofit organizations.

Career Opportunities

Students with degrees in urban studies can find entry-level positions in a variety of areas and organizational settings. A graduate may find employment in the public sector as a researcher, technician, field agent, policy analyst, planner, or staff assistant to a public official. Employment may also be found in a variety of consulting firms, banks, development firms, and research firms. Many nonprofit organizations operating in an urban setting also offer employment opportunities to urban studies graduates.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Urban Studies program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.