Urban Studies

View the Fall 2018 Course Bulletin (Major)

View the Fall 2018 Course Bulletin (Minor)

View the Spring 2018 Course Bulletin


Approximately half the world’s population lives in urban areas. In industrialized countries, such as the United States, less than a quarter of the population remains rural. What does this mean for students at an urban university? Notwithstanding the effects of globalization, most of our work, living, and recreational spaces, cultural institutions, ethical development, and commercial activities exist within the context of cities and their surrounding metropolitan regions.

Raising basic questions about the dynamics of modern life — for example, how living in New York City differs from living in Los Angeles, Berlin, Johannesburg, or Rio de Janeiro — Urban Studies is designed for both the student who wants to think critically about the urban setting and the student who seeks graduate training or a career in education, law, community development, journalism, urban management, public policy, or public health. Students can develop individual paths in areas such as urban geography, urban history, urban culture, urban policy, and urban development. New York, a dynamic, diverse city that faces a range of challenges, serves as an educational laboratory and resource. Urban Studies is part of a suite of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs at The New School that examine the 21st century’s greatest challenges — globalization, urbanism, social justice, and sustainability.

Major in Urban Studies

The major in Urban Studies, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, provides you with an understanding of the peoples and structures that make up cities both in the United States and internationally. Courses explore

  • the city as contested social, political, and imaginary ground, examining the interplay of urbanization, migration, and racial/ethnic identity
  • the impact of labor markets on diverse populations
  • how the city shapes and is shaped by cultural life and the natural environment
  • the interaction of municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations in areas such as housing and homelessness, health, and social welfare
  • how people in the city work with and against one another
  • how neighborhoods are created, destroyed, and revitalized
  • the role of the city in the national and global economy
  • urban politics as a reflection of and protagonist in these questions

Minor in Urban Studies

The Urban Studies minor provides a foundational, interdisciplinary understanding of urbanism and the social, spatial, material, ecological, political, and institutional conditions that shape cities and metropolitan regions. With experiential learning as a key component, the minor provides a strong foundation for students’ engagement with the city, whether as citizens, scholars, artists, designers, architects, bloggers, activists, journalists, educators, curators, or other actors with a stake in the urban.

Learn more about minoring in Urban Studies.

















Spring 2018 Senior Thesis Projects

Spring 2018 Senior Thesis Projects

  • “belong.now: An exploration of sense of place in the age of algorithms” – Samiha Ahmed
  • “Building Just Communities” – Sade Swift
  • “How Transit Oriented Development & Placemaking Can Redefine San Antonio’s Urban Core” – Michael Klunder
  • “Gentrification or Nah: And what that means to teens” – Desiree Rodriguez-St Plice
  • “That Didn’t Work Out Well for Them: The American Dream and the Suburban Horror Film” – Julia Foote
  • “Biomimicry to Inform Urban Design” – Courtney Sprigg