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Program in Urban Studies


M. Christine Boyer

Executive Committee

Stanley T. Allen, Architecture

M. Christine Boyer, Architecture

Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Douglas S. Massey, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Gyan Prakash, History

Associated Faculty

Jeremy I. Adelman, History

Roland Benabou, Economics, Woodrow Wilson School

John W. Borneman, Anthropology

Miguel A. Centeno, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School

Mitchell Duneier, Sociology

Susan T. Fiske, Psychology

Mario I. Gandelsonas, Architecture

Maria Garlock, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Peter R. Jaffé, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Harold James, Woodrow Wilson School, History

Kevin M. Kruse, History

Sara S. McLanahan, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Devah Pager, Sociology

Catherine A. Peters, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Alejandro Portes, Sociology

Gyan Prakash, History

Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, Woodrow Wilson School, Economics

James A. Smith, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Marta Tienda, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

The Program in Urban Studies is an interdepartmental plan of study for undergraduates that offers an interdisciplinary framework for the study of cities, metropolitan regions, and urban and suburban landscapes. With courses in diverse departments--including art and archaeology, history, music, civil and environmental engineering, sociology, and politics--along with the School of Architecture and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the program encourages students to think about metropolitan centers in all their complexity--as physical spaces; social, cultural, political, and economic nexuses; and historical artifacts.

In addition, students are advised about opportunities to acquire field experience in urban settings through the Community-Based Learning Initiative (CBLI) and, when appropriate, encouraged to participate in that program to gain practical experience in urban policy and service delivery. Those students with appropriate background and training are also encouraged to study and conceptualize cities via a comparative, international perspective, using the resources of Princeton's area studies and international relations programs.

Admission to the Program

The Program in Urban Studies is open to all undergraduate students, regardless of discipline. Students apply for admission during their sophomore or junior year and are accepted into the program on the basis of interest and a coherent academic plan. In their application, students are asked to propose a tentative course of study.

Program of Study

As soon as possible after applying for admission to the program, students meet with the program director to establish an approved course of study. Every student is encouraged to take the program's core course, URB 201, as soon as possible.

Along with URB 201, which students must pass with a grade of B or above, students must complete three electives from the list of approved urban studies electives (or a substitute course approved by the program director). This list of approved electives should be considered a starting point for the student to develop a customized course of study in consultation with the program director. Students should be aware that it is usual for special one-time-only courses to be added to a department's course offerings to take advantage of a visiting professor. When these courses contain substantial urban content, they may be used to fulfill the requirements of the certificate program. These courses must be in addition to course work taken to fulfill the requirements of the student's department of concentration, although they may be used to fulfill distribution requirements. Each course must be from a different division (natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, or humanities) and no elective course may come from the student's department of concentration. To be counted toward the certificate, all courses must be taken for a grade.

While urban studies students' senior theses are written in their home departments, their work must contain an urban component, approved by the program director. A faculty member from the student's home department serves as the primary adviser and first reader. A member of the urban studies program faculty serves as an additional adviser and outside reader. Over the course of the senior year, students participate in a senior thesis colloquium, which brings students from different departments together to discuss their urban-related thesis research and present their work to each other and to interested faculty members. The colloquium does not carry course credit, though regular participation is required for completion of the certificate.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in urban studies upon graduation.


URB 201 Introduction to Urban Studies (also SOC 203)   Fall, Spring

Introduces students to the phenomenon of urbanism by summarizing the social structure and ecological organization of cities from their inception through the present and then presents selected aesthetic, humanistic, architectural, and philosophical reactions to cities in the 19th and 20th centuries. M. Boyer

URB 262A Structures and the Urban Environment (see CEE 262A)

URB 262B Structures and the Urban Environment (see CEE 262B)

URB 303 Introduction to Environmental Engineering (see CEE 303)

URB 471 Introduction to Water Pollution Technology (see CEE 471)