Imagine studying the anatomy of an organism so large that it holds a million people. As an Urban Studies major, the Austin metropolitan area is not only your home, it is a living specimen that you can examine at any hour of the day or night, using methods recognized by professionals in urban planning and design, real estate development, and the non-profit sector, as well as by scholars in urban history, urban anthropology, urban sociology, and other related fields.
Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program at UT that combines classroom studies with real-world experience in the Austin metropolitan area. If you are curious about how cities are physically put together, the history of urbanization, the conflict and creativity that pervades urban life, the economic factors that affect urban growth and development, or the political dynamics shaping urban governance, you will find a home for your interests in Urban Studies. The Urban Studies major is also a great way to launch a socially and environmentally relevant career—you will be introduced to methods and theories that support constructive solutions to pressing problems such as poverty and homelessness, racial segregation, pollution, and inefficient transportation.
The major is designed to be quite flexible. Students choose from a list of courses with a variety of different disciplinary perspectives, depending on their interests and goals. After an introduction to the essential questions and issues in urban studies (URB 301) and a practicum in research methods (URB 315), students pursue their particular interests in cross-listed upper division classes. These are drawn from 18 different departments spread across 6 different colleges and schools on the UT Austin campus. In their senior year, students complete an internship and service learning course (URB 360), acquiring essential skills and experiences that help ease their entry into the job market. The major also includes a semester-long independent research project (URB 370) which is undertaken in consultation with a UT faculty member of the student’s choosing. This project allows students to develop in-depth skills and expertise in a way that showcases their interests and achievements for future employers or for applications to graduate school.