Urban Studies
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Urban Studies Overview

Do you get energized by the hustle-and-bustle of cities and want to make them better places to live? If so, a major in Urban Studies might be right for you! This major focuses on the application of social science principles to the study of urban living. You will learn how city dwellers live and what influences their social and political life. Upon graduating with a degree in Urban Studies, you will be prepared to solve complicated issues that affect cities.

Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary major. Since cities are made up of many different facets, it is important to gain a working knowledge of many related fields. Classes include subjects like history, public policy, government, economics, sociology, social theory, urban theory, history of urban areas, principles of urban and social planning, and the politics and economics of urban government and services.

Required Skills

The field of urban development and planning is a dynamic and diverse profession requiring a broad range of skills. No matter what career direction you take, you will be asked to look and solve problems of urban life. This means you should be able to understand people and have a passion for improving human life. You will spend much of your time analyzing demographic information to dissect trends and draw conclusions.

Students should gain an understanding of local, state, and federal government programs and processes. Other important skills to have are the ability to think critically, problem solve, and analyze data. Cities have diverse populations so you should be prepared to work well with many different people.


Urban Studies majors will be able to go in careers in business, government, law politics, public policy, advocacy, and academics. Common career titles for an Urban Studies major are city planner, community organizer, director of housing development, homeless advocate, transit planner, and zoning administrator. Some careers may require advanced training.

Graduates with a degree in Urban Studies average $35,497 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $64,078.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Urban Studies might open up.

Managers, All Other
Social Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary, All Other
Urban and Regional Planners
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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