BA in Urban Studies

Required courses for the BA in Urban Studies

The processes and patterns of urbanization and urbanism are at the forefront of many of society’s challenges and opportunities in the twenty-first century. Urban dynamics influence the world’s population in direct and indirect ways. Climate change, unequal development, infrastructural disinvestment, health inequalities, and housing affordability all require the type of interdisciplinary problem-solving approach provided by Urban Studies. A degree in Urban Studies prepares you to address these issues with a 36-credit major based around a series of introductory, intermediate, and advanced electives that build mastery of skills and concepts. You may choose to focus on Urban Studies as a single major, or as part of a double-major within the Dietrich School. Beginning in Fall 2021, the requirements for the Urban Studies major are as follows:

1. Introductory Urban Studies Courses (12 credits)

These four courses should be completed early in a student's academic program. They may be taken in any order.

  • URBNST 0010 Introduction to Urban Studies (Offered each Fall & Spring semester)
  • URBNST 0030 Introduction to GIS (Offered each Fall & Spring semester)
  • URBNST 0050 Introduction to Urban Research (Offered each Fall & Spring semester)
  • URBNST 0070 Introduction to Urban Social Theory (Offered each Spring semester)

2. Intermediate Urban Studies Electives (12 credits)

Build on the introductory Urban Studies courses by selecting from a number of "intermediate" elective courses. Group A courses are taught by core Urban Studies faculty, and build on the core concepts and methods of the field with more detailed work in sub-fields of urban studies. Choose at least 6 credits (2 courses) from Group A. Group B courses include study abroad courses, internships and independent research opportunities, and a range of urban-oriented courses taught through other departments in the Dietrich School. Choose at least 3 credits (1 course) from Group B

Group A: Urban Studies Courses

(At least 6 credits from Group A)

Group B: Other Elective Courses

(At least 3 credits from Group B)

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

URBNST 04xx— any 'Global City’ Courses

URBNST 0810—Field Analysis of Global Urbanism

URBNST 0820—Advanced International Field Placement

URBNST 0413—Sustainable Cities 1

URBNST 0415—Sustainable Cities 2

EITHER URBNST 0200—Internship OR URBNST 0600—Independent Research


AFRCNA 1083—Black Life in the Postindustrial City

ARC 0110—Approaches to the Built Environment

COMMRC 1103—Rhetoric and Culture

ECON 0230—Introduction to Public Economics

ENGLIT 0628—Working Class Literature

ENGCMP 1400--Grant Writing for Non Profits

FR 0017—Paris: Urbanism Past and Present

HIST 1019—Cities in Historical Perspective

PUBSRV 0030—Public Policy Process

SOC 0444—Urban Sociology

3. Advanced Urban Studies Electives (9 credits)

Continue to develop your understanding of urbanism and urbanization through a set of advanced electives. Select at least 6 credits (2 courses) from Group C courses. Group C includes smaller seminar-style courses and occasional special topics courses (all taught by core Urban Studies faculty). Expand your interests through approved advanced electives in other Dietrich School programs and departments.

Group C: Urban Studies Electives

(At least 6 credits must come from Group C courses)

Group D: Other Elective Courses

URBNST 0300—Remaking Cities

URBNST 0320—US Housing & Property

URBNST 0340—Urban Mobility & Transportation Analysis

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

ANTH 1530— Origins of Cities

ARC 0300— Intro to Historic Preservation

ARC 1180—World Cities

ARC 1181— Pittsburgh Arch. & Urbanism

ENGCMP 0565—Writing Places

HIST 1135—Berlin: History of a European Metropolis

HIST 1669—History of Black Pittsburgh

HUN 1915—Comparative Urban Studies in Central Europe

JS 1160—Jerusalem: History and Imagination

PS 1252— State Government

PS 1261—American Public Policy

PUBSRV 1100— Practices in Public Admin.

SOC 1286—Race and the City

SOCWRK 1000—Introduction to Social Work

4. Senior Capstone (3 credits)

URBNST 0900 is an intensive reading and writing seminar open to juniors and seniors pursuing a major in the Urban Studies Program. This course acts as the culmination of the Urban Studies major and will deepen your appreciation and engagement with scholarship in urban research. While the field of urban studies is broad, students taking this capstone seminar will be united by an engagement with patterns and processes in urbanization and urbanism that are comprehended through attention to current theory and methodologies.

  • URBNST 0900 Urban Research Seminar
    • All four introductory URBNST courses must be completed prior to enrolling in URBNST 0900
    • At least 6 credits of URBNST Group A courses must be completed prior to enrolling in URBNST 0900 (3 may be taken concurrently with URBNST 0900)
    • 75 total credit hours must be completed prior to enrolling in URBNST 0900