The School of Urban Studies at UW Tacoma offers a BA in Sustainable Urban Development. As one of the first such degrees in the nation, students will be prepared to address recent initiatives that have called for a significant “greening” of urban development, both locally and internationally. Graduates will be prepared for careers in planning agencies, corporations adhering to sustainability practices, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and environmental/resource related agencies at the local, state, and federal levels of government. The degree is also excellent training for further graduate study in fields such as urban planning, public administration, and law.
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.
The 3 E's of sustainable development
The interlocking goals of sustainable development: environmental quality, economic prosperity and social equality. Sustainable cities live at the nexus of these goals.
Did you know?
We are a majority urban society, worldwide
In 2008 we reached a global milestone: more than half of the world’s population is urban
Over 80% of the U.S. population already lives in a metropolitan region
Cities can be the solution, not the problem, when it comes to global sustainability
Accomplishing sustainable urban development is a crucial challenge for the twenty-first century. The University of Washington Tacoma is at the forefront of engaging and educating undergraduate students on this topic. The Sustainable Urban Development degree provides students with a critical and rigorous training in ecological, political, economic, and social aspects of urban development processes.
Sustainability is often treated as a synonym for environmentalism...but that's not the whole story. Sustainability is not just about the environment; it is also about social equity and economic prosperity. The Urban Studies faculty invites you to learn how cities and urban regions are the key to true sustainability — for the planet and for the people who populate it.
Students will learn how to understand, assess, and manage urban development processes through a carefully designed curriculum that includes urban policy, planning, and environmental science coursework. The degree provides students with a broad but concrete understanding of linkages between urban ecosystems, urban systems (planning, transit, energy, etc.), and the multi-dimensional problems of urbanization, especially as they relate to public policy and urban advocacy.
If you have completed the prerequisites listed below with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and have earned at least 40 credits, you can be considered for admission to the bachelor of arts in Sustainable Urban Development.
A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 in all college course work. Applicants with a completed application and a minimum GPA of 2.50 will be given priority consideration for admission.
Completion of a minimum of 40 transferable college-level credits.
Three years of high school math through intermediate (second year) algebra or a course in intermediate algebra at the college level
5 credits of English composition
How to Declare Your Major
If you are a current UW Tacoma student
Step 1: To declare Sustainable Urban Development as your major, please schedule an appointment with the Urban Studies Academic Advisor to discuss your academic plan.
Step 2: After you have met with the Academic Advisor an official request will be submitted on your behalf to the Registrar's Office.
If you are not a current UW Tacoma student
Please visit the UW Tacoma Admissions website to submit the appropriate application or to connect with them. You will need to be admitted to UW Tacoma prior to declaring your major.
The Sustainable Urban Development curriculum consists of a 74-credit set of courses. Students admitted into this major prior to Autumn 2016 can follow this degree plan or the previous degree plan under which they were admitted.
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 core courses provide foundational content related to urban sustainability, and major electives allow students to focus on topics that interest them. Graduates will be prepared for careers in planning agencies, corporations adhering to sustainability practices, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and environmental/resource related agencies at the local, state, and federal levels of government. The degree is also excellent training for further graduate study in fields such as urban planning, public administration and law.
The Sustainable Urban Development major admits students every quarter except summer. The curriculum consists of 74 credits of required courses:
Introductory courses (11 credits)
Core courses (43 credits)
Core electives (20 credits)
In addition to the coursework required for the major, students are required to complete general university requirements and electives, and to bring their total number of credits to 180. The degree planning worksheetcan help track your progress through the program.
Introductory Courses (13 credits) T URB 101 Exploring Cities (5) T URB 102 City in World Development (5) T URB 103 Urban Studies in Practice (1)
Foundation courses (27 credits) T SUD 222 Introduction to Sustainability (5) T SUD 240 The City and Nature (5) T SUD 444 Green Internationalism and the City (5) T SUD 445 Urban Ecology (5) T SUD 475 Community and Economy (5) T URB 403 Professional Development for Urban Careers (2)
Methods courses (16 credits) T GIS 311 Maps and GIS (6 credits) T URB 225 Statistics for Urban Analysis or TMATH 110 Introductory Statistics with Applications (or equivalent) (5) T URB 200 Urban Research (5) was T URB 350
Major Electives (20 credits)
Any T SUD or T URB course not among the required courses may be counted as a SUD major elective. A except that a maximum of 10 credits total of T URB or T SUD independent research or internship credit may be counted toward these 20 credits. In addition, any of the following courses may be counted as a major elective course toward the SUD major:
The balance of credits needed to meet University credit requirements are geneal electives. Students may focus on an in-depth area of study (ie., 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.
In order to graduate, you will also be expected to meet the following general university requirements, many of which can be fulfilled with lower-division coursework:
Two years in high school of the same foreign language or 10 credits of one language at the college level
5 credits in Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) coursework1
10 credits of writing-intensive coursework (not including the 5 credits of English composition required for admission)2
10 credits in Visual, Literary or Performing Arts (VLPA) coursework
10 credits of Individuals and Societies (I&S) coursework
10 credits of Natural World (NW) coursework
10 additional credits in any of the above areas of knowledge (VLPA, I&S, and NW)
50 credits of upper division (300- and 400-level) coursework (upper division courses counting toward major or general university requirements may count toward this requirement)
Overall GPA: minimum 2.0 cumulative
Major GPA: minimum 2.0 in each course required for the major
1 Students who first enrolled in college prior to Autumn 1985 are exempt from this requirement.
2 Writing-intensive coursework may also count toward the Humanities, Social Science or Natural Science requirements.