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Urban Studies

Dr. David Shefferman
Director of the Program

Cities are places where human life is at its most intense - everything seems to be faster, louder, and more frenetic. They are where economies grow, where political movements emerge, and where cultural treasures are preserved. Cities are also where inequalities are most apparent. It seems safe to say that in cities you find the best and the worse that human societies have to offer. And, in the 21st century, cities around the world will only continue to grow.

Whether you are interested in business, history, engineering, sociology, political science, environmental sustainability, art, or education, it all happens in a city. Come learn how cities work. The Urban Studies Program at Manhattan College offers the perfect major, double major, or minor for your time in New York City! 


Requirements for a Major in Urban Studies

Ten courses totaling at least 30 credits are required. These courses must come from the list approved for Urban Studies credit and they must be taken from at least 3 departments.

All majors are required to take:

1) the introductory course in urban studies, URBN 202 Introduction to Urban Studies;


2a) either the senior Research Seminar, URBN 401 Seminar - Urban Studies,


2b) senior thesis,  URBN 406 Urban Honors Thesis I and URBN 407 Urban Honors Thesis II

3) a supervised field experience/internship in an urban context. This requirement may be satisfied by URBN 475 Internship or URBN 205 Urban America and Catholic Social Teaching. A field-oriented independent research study, URBN 402 Independent Study, may substitute for the internship/field experience only by permission of the program director.

No more than 4 courses in any department can be counted towards the Urban Studies major.

A minimum grade of C is required in all courses to fulfill the requirements for the major.


The minor in Urban Studies is available to students in all schools of the College. 15 credits or 5 courses are required, including the introductory course in Urban Studies: URBN 202 Introduction to Urban Studies . No more than two courses from any one discipline can be counted towards the minor. A minimum grade of C is required to fulfill the requirements for the minor.

Courses for Urban Studies Majors and Minors

Courses are approved for Urban Studies credit on an ongoing basis. List below is not comprehensive.

AHS 206Introduction to Public Health3
ART 358The New York Skyscraper3
ART 360New York City Architecture, Urbanism and Design3
ART 370Current Trends3
CIVL 201Introduction to Civil Engineering3
CIVL 202Transportation3
CIVL 403Civil Engineering Economy and Law3
COMM 400Political Communication3
ECON 332Introduction to Environmental Economics3
ENGL 212Latino/Latina Literature3
ENGL 285Literary New York3
ENGL 338Studies in Twentieth-and Twenty-first-Century American Literature3
ENGL 348Postcolonial Literature3
ENGL 400The Theater and the City3
ENSC 101Intro to Environmental Science3
ENVL 406Water and Wastewater Treatment Processes3
HIST 231Introduction to African American History3
HIST 358The Industrial Revolution3
HIST 387New York City and the American Urban Experience3
HIST 390Terror and Terrorism3
LABR 301Field Work3
MGMT 430Business, Government, and Society3
MUSC 300History of Rock and Roll3
MUSC 310History of the Broadway Musical3
MUSC 325Modern Music & The Avant-Garde3
MUSC 330History of Jazz3
POSC 210Research Methods in Political Science3
POSC 212Wall Street3
POSC 221Urban Govt & Politics3
POSC 222Power in the City3
POSC 322Public Administration3
POSC 223Environmental Politics3
POSC 254Global Cities3
POSC 315State and Local Government in the United States3
POSC 318Community Organizing for Social Change3
PSYC 321Social Psychology3
RELS 202U.S. Latino/A Catholicism3
RELS 204Religion and Social Justice3
RELS 312Muslims in America3
RELS 363
RELS 399Criminal Justice Ethics3
SOC 204Urban Anthropology3
SOC 210Introduction to Social Services3
SOC 220Social Problems3
SOC 225Telling Stories with Maps3
SOC 250Introduction to GIS3
SOC 262Contemporary Latin American Development3
SOC 270Criminology3
SOC 273Mass Incarceration and Collateral Consequences3
SOC 275Issues in Contemporary Policing3
SOC 294Gender, Crime & Justice3
SOC 295Capitalism3
SOC 296 Introduction to Human Geography3
SOC 303Urban Planning3
SOC 302Race and Resistance3
SOC 304Social Inequalities3
SOC 307Research Methods3
SOC 308Juvenile Justice3
SOC 310Sociology of Deviance3
SOC 312Social Service Practice3
SOC 318Community Organizing for Social Change3
SOC 324Sociological Theories3
SOC 327Power and Conflict3
SOC 332Labor Studies Colloquium3
SOC 333US Labor Patterns and Movements3
SOC 334Sustainable Development3
SOC 350Advanced Topics in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)3
SOC 338Schools and Society3
SOC 361Criminal Justice Administration3
SOC 362Modern American Gangs3
SOC 364Law and Society3
SOC 366White Collar Crime3
SOC 367Criminal Justice Ethics3
SOC 380Sport and American Society3


URBN 202. Introduction to Urban Studies. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the complexities of urban life and space emphasizing the interaction of socio-cultural, political, economic, natural, and built environments. The course will examine the factors that influence urbanization, the distinct patterns of soical interaction that typify urban life, motivations for various patterns/strategies of urban development, and the effect of globalization on urban expansion and decline. These points of emphasis are founded on the understanding of cities as unique environments with distinct challenges to social organization, economic growth and inequality, and sustainability.

URBN 205. Urban America and Catholic Social Teaching. 3 Credits.

An interdisciplinary, service learning course. Sociological, political science, economic analysis of urban poverty, combined with reflections on Catholic social teaching, provide the framework for student-volunteer work at various Bronx-based community organizations.

URBN 301. Special Topics in Urban Affairs. 3 Credits.

Course descriptions will be announced when courses are offered.

URBN 302. Sustainable Cities. 3 Credits.

This course examines issue related to urban environmental sustainability through classroom instruction and field experience in New York City. Primary topics will include an introduction to the methods used by environmental scientists to measure environmental conditions, historical and contemporary environmental issues facing urban communities, the potential for sustainable urban development and growth, and issues pertaining to urban inequalities and environmental justice.

URBN 303. Urban Planning. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the principles and techniques of urban planning. Practical application of knowledge from many disciplines in forming physical design for urban spaces. Consideration of demographic, political, economic, and legal factors in the planning process.

URBN 375. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts.

URBN 401. Senior Seminar in Urban Studies. 3 Credits.

An in-depth, interdisciplinary analysis of specific research and practical problems. A capstone course intended to help students integrate the various courses they have taken in Urban Studies.

URBN 402. Ind Sty: Urban Affairs. 3 Credits.

Supervised reading and/or research designed to allow majors to pursue areas of special interest. Topic and outline of plans must be approved by director of program and supervising professor.

URBN 406. Urban Honors Thesis I. 3 Credits.

The first of a two-semester progression, Urban Honors Thesis I allows exceptional junior and senior students the opportunity to engage in an independent research project under the direction of the program director and a committee drawn from Urban Studies faculty. In the first semester, the student will conceptualize and propose the independent project and pursue advanced study in theory, method, and analysis. Open only to Urban Studies majors who meet program criteria. Approval of program director required.

URBN 407. Urban Honors Thesis II. 3 Credits.

The culmination of a two-semester progression, Urban Honors Thesis II, allows exceptional junior and senior students to collect and analyze data to complete an original independent research project. Open only to Urban Studies majors who meet program criteria and successfully complete URBN 406. Approval of program director required.

URBN 475. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts. Open to majors only.