Undergraduate Program

If you Major in Urban Studies at Queens College, you will develop a critical understanding of the issues facing our cities, especially New York City, learn how to do urban-related research and perform urban policy analysis, and develop valuable skills including writing a policy brief, making an interesting oral presentation, and writing a paper that is full of critical insights. These skills will be useful to you in your future career and as an urban citizen.

The undergraduate curriculum stresses:

  • Exciting entry-level and advanced courses that address current issues, controversies, and debates on topics such as diversity, poverty, sustainability, segregation, environmental change, underemployment, gentrification, homelessness, community planning, health services, and urban politics.
  • Exposure to issues facing citizens and decision-makers in New York City and in other metropolitan areas in the United States and across the world.

  • The application of critical social theory to the formulation and evaluation of social and economic policies.
  • A new service learning program built upon ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships between students, faculty and community organization partners. This combines meaningful work at community organizations and public agencies with enhanced academic learning that prepares our students for active participation in public and community service.
  • New course offerings on immigration, diversity and immigrant diasporas.
  • A new emphasis on environmental studies.

Careers in Urban Studies


Urban Studies Major (Required Courses)

URBST 101: Urban Poverty and Affluence
URBST 105: Urban Politics
URBST 200: Urban Research Methods
URBST 221: Making Public Policy
URBST 330W: Contemporary Urban Theory
URBST 370 or URBST 371 VT: Service Learning Practicum or Service Learning Project

PLUS 18 credits in other Urban Studies courses.

ELECTIVES: For your electives, you are free to choose from among any of the department’s dozens of courses. See the Undergraduate Courses page for a full listing.

The Urban Studies Minor (Required Courses)

URBST 101: Urban Poverty and Affluence
URBST 200:
Urban Research Methods

And either

  • URBST 105: Urban Politics
  • URBST 221: Making Public Policy, or
  • URBST 330W: Contemporary Urban Theory

At least three other Urban Studies courses at the 200 level or above.


Service Learning

One cornerstone of our service learning program is Urban Studies 370: Urban Studies Practicum, which is required for all majors who do not take URBST371 VT. In this one-semester course, students participate in a weekly or bi-weekly seminar while working about one day per week at one of our community partner agencies. In this way, we built our students’ ability to integrate research, theory and real- world practice while preparing them for careers in the urban setting.

Want to Learn More?

Resources for Urban Studies Students

In addition to the library and other resources available on the campus, the Urban Studies Department has special facilities for our students. This includes a wide-ranging library, computer facilities, and our Office of Community Studies whose staff are available at select times to help you to make maps, charts, graphs, and demographic reports. Also, we have developed several websites that are designed to help you in your coursework. They include:

Demographic and other data on the communities of New York
The Office of Community Studies
Service learning
The Environmental Studies Program


Awards for Graduating Students

Undergraduate students are eligible for three departmental awards, as well as department Honors in Urban Studies. Awardees are selected by the faculty, but you should be aware of them and feel free to suggest yourself or your fellow classmates for an award. Please contact an Undergraduate Advisor if you would like to suggest someone for an award. The awards come with a small cash prize. The awards are named in honor of past members of the Department and are:

  • Matthew Edel Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Paul Davidoff Award for Community Activism
  • Herbert Bienstock Award for Excellence in Research

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