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Urban Studies Degree Plan (Catalog Year 2020-2021)

Degree planning worksheet     2020-21 Course Offerings

The School of Urban Studies offers a BACHELOR OF ARTS IN URBAN STUDIES with formal options in the following:

  • Community Development & Planning
  • Global Urbanism
  • 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 students 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, 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, urban planning, or urban 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 & 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 & 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.

Major Requirements

The School of Urban Studies admits students every quarter except summer. The curriculum consists of approximately 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 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 worksheet can help track your progress through the program.  

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)

Core Courses (32 - 33 credits)

Foundation Courses (22 credits, all required)

T URB 220, Introduction to Urban Planning (5)
T URB 316, Cities and Belonging (5)
T URB 345, Urban Governance (5) or  T URB 490, Urban Industry & Sustainability (5) Winter 2018 and 2019 only
T URB 432, Understanding Metropolitan Regions (5)
T URB 403, Professional Development for Urban Careers (2)

Methods Requirement (10-11 credits)

T URB 225, Statistics for Urban Analysis (5) or T GIS 311 Maps & GIS (6)
T URB 200, Introduction to Urban Research (5) was T URB 350

Formal Options

Students need to declare one of the following formal options:

A.  Global Urbanism 
     Select four courses from the list below:

T URB 210, Urban Society and Culture (5)
T URB 250, Immigration, Race, American Cities (5)
T URB 305, Data and the City (3)
T SUD 444, Green Internationalism (5)
T URB 430, Pacific Rim Cities (5)

B.  Community Development & Planning
     Select 4 courses from the list below:

T URB 235, Community Development (5)
T URB 312, Race and Poverty in Urban America (5) 
T URB 310, Social Production of Space (5)
T URB 480, Housing in the United States (5)
T SUD 475, Community and Economy (5)

C.  GIS & Spatial Planning (9 courses)

GIS Certificate***: Complete all 5 courses listed below:
T GIS 311, Maps & GIS (6)
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)

Advanced GIS courses: Select two courses from the list below:
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)

Additional Urban Studies courses: Select two courses from the list below:
T URB 322, Land Use Planning (5)
T URB 325, Urban Transportation (3)
T URB 480, Housing in the United States (5)

***Note: The  GIS Certificate courses are sequential, and cohort based. Please make sure to apply to the certificate program and work with the SUS advisor for course planing. 

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.