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Program in Urban Studies


Douglas S. Massey

Acting Director

Maria E. Garlock (fall/spring)

Executive Committee

Sigrid Adriaenssens, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lucia Allais, Architecture

Bruno M. Carvalho, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Maria E. Garlock, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Alison E. Isenberg, History

Douglas S. Massey, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Gyan Prakash, History

Associated Faculty

Roland Benabou, Economics, Woodrow Wilson School

John W. Borneman, Anthropology

M. Christine Boyer, Architecture

Vera S. Candiani, History

Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Miguel A. Centeno, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School

Janet Y. Chen, History, East Asian Studies

Esther da Costa Meyer, Art and Archaeology

Jill S. Dolan, English, Lewis Center for the Arts

Mitchell Duneier, Sociology

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Sociology

Mario I. Gandelsonas, Architecture

Simon E. Gikandi, English

William A. Gleason, English

Joshua B. Guild, History, African American Studies

Peter R. Jaffé, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Harold James, History, Woodrow Wilson School

Kevin M. Kruse, History

Sara S. McLanahan, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Jan-Werner Müller, Politics

Guy J. Nordenson, Architecture

Stephen J. Redding, Economics, Woodrow Wilson School

Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, Woodrow Wilson School, Economics

James A. Smith, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Marta Tienda, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Janet A. Vertesi, 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 anthropology, art and archaeology, history, African American Studies, English, Latin American Studies, Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures, civil and environmental engineering, energy studies, sociology, politics, theater and Princeton Environmental Institute 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 other programs. 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 programs.

Each fall, certificate students are invited to be part of the Urban Studies Student Advisory Board. This student board serves in an advisory capacity to help shape the future of the program and the future of urban studies at Princeton University.

Admission to the Program

The Program in Urban Studies is open to all undergraduate students, regardless of discipline. Students apply for admission by filling out the application on the Urban Studies website and arranging an interview with the director of the program. Students are accepted into the program on the basis of interest and a coherent academic plan. Students are asked to propose a tentative course of study in their application.

Program of Study

As soon as possible after applying for admission to the program, students should meet with the program director or with an Urban Studies faculty advisor to establish an approved course of study. Every student is encouraged to take one or both of the program's core courses, URB 200 and/or URB 201, as soon as possible, although it can be taken at any time. URB 200 is typically offered in the fall and URB 201 is offered during the spring term each year. In Fall 2015, however, URB 300 will replace URB 200. Please refer to the Registrar's Course Offerings website for the detailed course descriptions of the fall course (offered by Professor Douglas Massey), and the spring course (offered by Professor Christine Boyer).

Along with URB 200 or URB 201, which students must pass with a grade of "B" or above students must complete three electives: one from social sciences; one from humanities; and one from engineering or the natural sciences. Students may take either core course URB 200 or URB 201 as the course requirement. The course not taken as the course requirement may be taken as an elective toward the certificate. A list of approved electives will be posted on the Urban Studies website. The electives are drawn from departments and programs across the University. Courses not on the approved list may be used as electives with the approval of the Urban Studies Director. However, each selected course must contain substantial urban content 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. Students can double count one of the three electives toward their major and the certificate with the permission of the Urban Studies Director. To be counted toward the certificate, all courses must be taken for a grade. Course overlap with another certificate program is permitted. In the fall of 2015, the program will again offer URB 202, Documentary Film and the City, taught by documentarian Purcell Carson.

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 advisor and first reader. Students' urban studies advisors provide additional consultation and layer of expertise as they write their thesis and think about potentially urban-related careers. The thesis title and abstract must be sent to the program director for final approval. The program provides additional support for independent student research through offering methods workshops, and through a May thesis colloquium.

Certificate of Proficiency

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