Urban Studies Major & Minor

Undergraduate Program. A group of people walking together.

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.
Two people studying together.
Learn About Careers In Urban Studies

As an Urban Studies Major or Minor, you can follow in the footsteps of our graduates who now work for the city, state, and federal government or in the non-profit sector for community-based organizations. Others have gone on to graduate work in fields like public administration, law, urban planning, and social work. And others work in the private sector.

Many of our students are mid-career workers in state and local government, some are teachers or school administrators, and many work in community planning. All of our students wish to upgrade their skills and their understanding of urban issues while getting the credential of an undergraduate degree.

For assistance in career planning, please contact the Urban Studies Undergraduate Advisor or visit the Center for Career Engagement and Internships.

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



  • 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?

The Department of Urban Studies’ Service Learning Program fosters ongoing and mutually beneficial relationships between students, faculty and community partners. Going beyond the traditional internship model, we combine academic learning with meaningful and relevant work with local public service agencies. In this way, we maximize students’ abilities to integrate research, theory and practice, while preparing them for active civic participation and real-world careers in Urban Studies. The cornerstone of our program is Urban Studies 370/372: Service Learning Practicum (aka Fieldwork in Urban Studies). In this one semester, three-credit course students work a total of 70-80 hours at one of our pre-selected Community Partner agencies while attending class every other weekOn successful completion of all aspects of the course, students earn three credits towards their degree. All students who wish to receive credit for a Service Learning Internship must enroll in and attend URBST 370/372. The course meets approximately every other week for two hours.

  • A list of current Community Partners can be found here.
  • This course is required for Environmental Studies and Urban Studies majors*** and is LIMITED to ENSTD and URBST students!
  • Typically students take the course during their senior year.
  • Students work 7-10 hours/week, over a period of approximately 10 weeks.


  • In the course, students will read academic materials that are relevant to their Service Internships. This way they can see the direct connections between academic research, analysis and theory and real-world practice.
  • Through written assignments, students analyze their new experiences using urban studies research and theory.
  • The course also includes time for students to work on career development and skill-building and to collectively discuss, reflect upon and problem-solve issues that arise during their job placements.

FAQs can be found here