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.
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
The Sustainable Urban Development major admits students every quarter except summer.
How to Declare Your Major
If you are a current UW Tacoma student
Step 1: To declare Sustainable Urban Development as your major, please contact the Academic Advisor to discuss your academic plan.
Step 2: 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.
Transfer students meeting the above requirements may apply directly to the major.
Freshmen will need to be admitted to UW Tacoma and complete the above requirements prior to declaring your major.
The curriculum consists of 74 credits of required courses:
Introductory courses (11 credits)
Foundation courses (27 credits)
Methods courses (16 credits)
Major electives (20 credits)
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.
Introductory Courses (11 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 (5) T URB 200 Urban Research (5)
Major Electives (20 credits)
Any T SUD or T URB coursenot among the required courses may be counted as a SUD major elective. A 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:
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, including the above requirements, to 180.
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.