B.A. in Urban Studies

Main page content

Program Overview

The School of Urban Studies offers a BACHELOR OF ARTS IN URBAN STUDIES with several formal options - Community Development & Planning; Global Urbanism; and GIS & Spatial Planning.  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, GIS, transportation, government agencies, and social services. The program is also excellent preparation for those interested in graduate study in such fields as community development, spatial analysis, public administration, law or urban planning/design.

Degree Options

BA Urban Studies – 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.

BA Urban Studies – GIS & Spatial Planning.  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.

BA Urban Studies – 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.

BA Urban Studies (2+1 Track for MS in Geospatial Technologies)This degree option offers students who have completed the first two years of their higher education (i.e., 90 credit hours in a quarter system or 60 units in a semester system) the possibility of earning a Bachelor’s degree offered by Urban Studies (Urban Studies or Sustainable Urban Development), a GIS Certificate, and a Master’s degree in Geospatial Technologies in 3 years.


Advantages of our 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