Program in Urban Studies

Academic Unit

Program Information

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

Classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020:  Core course requirements are URB200 and/or URB201.  Please consult the archived 2016-2017 Undergraduate Announcement for more details.

Class of 2021 and beyond: As soon as possible after applying for admission to the Urban Studies undergraduate certificate program, students meet with the program director or Urban Studies faculty adviser to establish an approved course of study. Every student is strongly encouraged to take the program's two required courses, URB 200 and ARC 205, as soon as possible, although the courses can be taken at any time. ARC 205 and URB 200 are designed to be accessible to all majors. URB 200 is offered in the fall and ARC 205 is offered fall and spring semesters each year. Students must pass both required courses 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. A list of approved electives is posted on the website (http://urbanstudies.princeton.edu/). 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 which is monitored in TigerHub. To be counted toward the certificate, all courses must be taken for a grade. Course overlap with another certificate program is permitted.

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. Students' urban studies advisers selected from the program's associated faculty list 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.