Urban Studies Program

What is Urban Studies?

Nearly half the people on this planet live in urban environments, and that proportion is projected to rise exponentially in coming years.*

In such a rapidly changing world, Pitt's Urban Studies major enables students to explore the fascinating complexities of urban environments, in the U.S. and internationally, to understand the complex problems associated with urban growth, urban sustainability, and to appreciate the experiences of urban residents.

The Urban Studies major is:

  • Interdisciplinary, encouraging students to learn about cities as historical, social, cultural, economic, and political phenomena. Many Urban Studies majors are double majors in departments such as Political Science, Sociology, Environmental Studies, History of Art & Architecture.
  • Applied, as students take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to the real world beyond. All Urban Studies majors must take URBNST 1300 (Skills seminar) in which they examine in detail issues that one specific neighborhood in Pittsburgh is facing.  The neighborhood varies from year to year
  • Career-oriented, as students attempt to find a role for themselves in shaping the future of the urban environment.  All Urban Studies majors participate in internships that reflect their interests and abilities. 

The program enrolls more than 100 majors annually, large enough to expose majors to a variety of fellow students and their perspectives, but small enough to allow students to develop a sense of community.

*Demographia World Urban Areas (World Agglomerations): 2007.03