Urban Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Elihu Rubin, RDH, 180 York St., 436-4641; urbanstudies.yale.edu

Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary field grounded in the physical and social spaces of the city and the larger built environment. The Urban Studies major is situated within Yale’s liberal arts framework and draws on the broader academic context and expertise of the Yale School of Architecture, including the areas of urban design and development, urban and architectural history, urban theory and representation, globalization and infrastructure, transportation and mobility, heritage and preservation, and community-based planning. The major introduces students to the following bodies of knowledge: history, theory, and contemporary analysis of urban morphologies, spaces, societies, and political economies; conceptual tools and analytical methods to understand urban environments and issues through spatial terms; and practices of and speculative approaches to urban planning and design.

The major prepares undergraduates for a variety of future careers and fields of graduate study related to urban planning, design, and development. These include professional and practice-oriented fields such as urban planning, landscape architecture, law, nonprofit management, public policy, real estate, and architecture; as well as research-oriented fields such as geography, sociology, anthropology, history and theory of urban planning, and urban and architectural history. For additional information visit the Urban Studies website. 

Requirements of the Major

Thirteen term courses are required for the major, including the senior requirement. Each student, in consultation with the DUS or a departmental faculty adviser, bears the responsibility for designing a coherent program, which must include the following elements: 3 surveys; 3 methods courses; 4, 5, or 6 electives (depending on the senior requirement); and a one- or two-term senior requirement.

Surveys Students choose three survey courses from the following list, of which one URBN course is required. Surveys should be completed by the end of the second year.

Surveys: URBN 160, 280341345, AMST 163, 196, ANTH 414, ARCH 385, EVST 226, HSHM 211

Methods Courses Students choose URBN 353360, or 362 as one of the three required courses from the following list that introduces various methods of understanding and analyzing urbanism and the city. Students should consider completing at least two of these courses by the end of their junior year.

Methods Courses: URBN 200230, 353360362, AMST 348ANTH 303, EVST 290SOCY 160, 169

Electives Students choose five electives if enrolling in the two-term senior requirement; six electives if opting for the one-term senior requirement. Each student is responsible for selecting their elective courses from the approved list or by petition of the DUS. Students who take two Urban Labs (1.5 credits each) may take 4–5 electives depending on the selected senior requirement.

Credit/D/Fail No course taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the Urban Studies major.

Senior Requirement

All majors must satisfy a senior requirement undertaken during the senior year. Students have the option of pursuing a yearlong senior project, which includes URBN 490, Senior Research Colloquium in the fall and URBN 491, Senior Project in the spring. The senior project may be a written paper or a project that could encompass a variety of media. The primary adviser must be a member of the architecture faculty. Students not choosing a yearlong project may enroll in an advanced seminar (URBN 400–490), and produce a final paper of twenty to twenty-five pages in addition to existing course work. The seminar should be selected in consultation with the DUS. Note that students pursuing this option must also take an additional elective.

Advising and Intent to Major

Students are encouraged to declare their intent to major by the end of their second year. The intent to major process includes submission of an Intent to Major form with requested materials (see form) followed by a meeting with the DUS to discuss the intended course of study. More information regarding this process, the relevant forms, and the submission link are available on the program website. Schedules for majors must be discussed with, and approved by, the DUS in Urban Studies. Only then may a schedule be submitted to the residential college dean's office.

Courses in the School of Architecture Unless otherwise indicated in the course descriptions, all courses in the School of Architecture are open to majors and nonmajors with permission of the instructor and the graduate registrar. They are not available for the Credit/D/Fail option. Students are admitted on the basis of their previous course work and previous performance.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 13 courses (incl senior req)

Specific courses required URBN 353360 or 362

Distribution of courses 3 surveys, inc 1 URBN course (to be completed by second year); 3 methods courses, one of which is URBN 353360 or 362; 4–6 electives as specified

Senior requirement URBN 490 and 491; or adv seminar (URBN 400–490) and an addtl elective

Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary field grounded in the physical and social spaces of the city and the larger built environment. The Urban Studies major is situated within Yale’s liberal arts framework and draws on the broader academic context and expertise of the Yale School of Architecture, including the areas of urban design and development, urban and architectural history, urban theory and representation, globalization and infrastructure, transportation and mobility, heritage and preservation, and community-based planning. The major introduces students to the following bodies of knowledge: history, theory, and contemporary analysis of urban morphologies, spaces, societies, and political economies; conceptual tools and analytical methods to understand urban environments and issues through spatial terms; and practices of and speculative approaches to urban planning and design.

The major prepares undergraduates for a variety of future careers and fields of graduate study related to urban planning, design, and development. These include professional and practice-oriented fields such as urban planning, law, nonprofit management, public policy, real estate development, and architecture; as well as research-oriented fields such as geography, sociology, anthropology, urban planning, and architecture. 

Students interested in urban studies are encouraged to take courses open to first years, especially the following survey courses: URBN 160, 200280, 341, 345.

FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH URBAN STUDIES

Professors Elijah Anderson (Sociology), Keller Easterling (School of Architecture), Jennifer Klein (History), Marcella Nunez-Smith (School of Medicine), Alan Plattus (School of Architecture), Karen Seto (School of Environment), Helen Siu (Anthropology), Jing Tsu (Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Literature)

Associate Professors Laura Barraclough (American Studies), Erik Harms (Anthropology), Bill Rankin (History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health), Elihu Rubin (School of Architecture, American Studies

Assistant Professors Anthony Acciavatti (Visiting) (School of Architecture), Joyce Hsiang (School of Architecture), Bimal Mendis (Adjunct)(School of Architecture)

Lecturer Jay Gitlin (History)

Critics Marta Caldeira (School of Architecture), Andrei Harwell (School of Architecture), Surry Schlabs (School of Architecture), Beka Sturges (School of Architecture)