Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies

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The School of Urban Studies offers a BACHELOR OF ARTS IN URBAN STUDIES with Formal Options in,

  • Community Development & Planning
  • GIS & Spatial Planning
  • Global Urbanism

The degree starts with an introduction into the discipline of urban studies with course topics on exploring cities, world development, and urban studies "in practice". The formal options deliver focused theory and skill-based courses that teach how to understand and impact the local and global dynamics of urban society. Graduates are prepared for public or private-sector jobs in areas such as housing and community development, planning, transportation, government agencies, and social services. The program is also excellent preparation for those interested in graduate study in such fields as community development, public administration, law or urban planning/design.

Formal Options

Global Urbanism.  Teaches theories and practices of the process of global urbanism and how flows of people, outcomes, and ideas cut across social, political and spatial divisions. Prepares students to be solution-thinking global citizens who understand urban conditions and processes in various parts of the globe in relation to Tacoma and the South Puget Sound region.

Community Development and Planning. Examines the production and development of cities from different community perspectives and teaches how cities are planned and built, and the power dynamics that influence inclusion and exclusion from urban spaces and political processes. Explores new strategies for producing better cities and improving urban conditions.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Design. Prepares students to solve complex social, economic, and environmental problems by combining GIS (geographic information systems) based approaches to mapping and spatial analysis with a classical and theoretically critical foundation in urban planning.

Benefits of the degree program:

  • Urban setting
  • Small class sizes
  • Flexible class offerings
  • Close interaction with faculty and staff
  • Diverse and growing student body
  • Collaboration with communities and institutions
  • Career and graduate school workshops
  • Interdisciplinary and innovative course of study
  • Study abroad opportunities
  • Scholarship opportunities

Major Requirements

The School of Urban Studies admits students every quarter except summer. The curriculum consists of 68 credits of required courses:

  • Introductory courses (11 credits)
  • Core courses (32-33 credits)
  • Formal option (18-20 credits, depending on option)

In addition to the courses required by the major, students are required to complete general education requirements and electives for a total of 180 credits. Transfer students can bring up to 105 lower-division credits into the program.

Introductory Courses (11 credits)

Core Courses (32-33 credits)

Foundational Courses (22 credits, all required)

  • T URB 220  Introduction to Urban Planning (5 credits)
  • T URB 316  Cities and Belonging (5 credits)
  • T URB 345  Urban Governance (5 credits)
  • T URB 403  Professional Development for Urban Careers (2 credits)
  • T URB 432  Understanding Metropolitan Regions (5 credits)
Methods Requirement (10-11 credits)

Formal Options

Students need to declare one of the following three formal options and complete four courses within chosen option.

Global Urbanism

 Complete 4 Courses

Development & Planning

 Complete 4 Courses

GIS & Spatial Planning

T URB 210 Urban Society and Culture (5)
T URB 235  Community Development (5)

Complete all four:

T GIS 312: Intermediate GIS (6)

T GIS 313: Applied GIS and Project Design (3)

T GIS 414: Advanced GIS (5)

T GIS 415: Critical GIS and Project Practicum (5)

T URB 250 Immigration, Race, American Cities (5)
T URB 312 Race and Poverty in Urban America (5) 

Select two of the four:

T GIS 350:  Remote Sensing (5)

T GIS 450: Participatory Mapping (5)

T GIS 460:  Cartography and Data Visualization (5)

T GIS 470:  GIS Scripting and Automation (5)

T URB 305 Data and the City (3)
T URB 340 Urban Social Change (5)

Select two of the three:

T URB 322: Land Use Planning (5)

T URB 325: Urban Transportation (3)

T URB 480: Housing in the United States (5)
T SUD 444 Green Internationalism (5)
T URB 480 Housing in the United States (5)
T URB 430 Pacific Rim Cities (5)
T SUD 475 Community and Economy (5)

General Electives

The balance of credits needed to meet University credit requirements are general electives. Students may focus on an in-depth area of study (i.e., a minor or certificate) or explore the liberal arts, business, social work or health-related fields, or may take further T URB or T SUD courses. Transfer credits from other institutions may apply toward general electives. Contact an academic advisor for details.