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Urban Studies

Director: Doug McAdam (Sociology)

Associate Director: Michael Kahan (Lecturer, Urban Studies)

Executive Committee: Albert Camarillo (History), Prudence Carter (Education), Zephyr Frank (History), Michael Rosenfeld (Sociology), Walter Scheidel (Classics), Jeff Wachtel (President's Office)

Affiliated Faculty: Arnetha Ball (Education), Eric Bettinger (Education), Scott Bukatman (Art and Art History), Albert Camarillo (History), Prudence Carter (Education), Samuel Chiu (Management Science and Engineering), Karen Cook (Sociology), Paulla Ebron (Anthropology), Paula Findlen (History), James Fishkin (Communication), Shelley Fisher Fishkin (English), Charlotte Fonrobert (Religious Studies), Richard Ford (Law), Zephyr Frank (History), Leah Gordon (Education), Gary Griggs (Civil and Environmental Engineering), David Grusky (Sociology), Thomas Hansen (Anthropolgy), Ian Hodder (Anthropology), Miyako Inoue (Anthropology), Sarah Jain (Anthropology),Tomás Jiménez (Sociology), David Labaree (Education), Raymond Levitt (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Carolyn Lougee Chappell (History), Raymond McDermott (Education), Daniel McFarland (Education), Milbrey McLaughlin (Education), William McLennan (Office of Religious Life), Ian Morris (Classics), Josiah Ober (Classics, Political Science), Susan Olzak (Sociology), Leonard Ortolano (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Sean Reardon (Education), Rob Reich (Political Science), Ian Robertson (Anthropology), Michael Rosenfeld (Sociology), (Sociology), Walter Scheidel (Classics), Gary Segura (Political Science), Michael Shanks (Classics), Jennifer Trimble (Classics), Nancy Brandon Tuma (Sociology, Hoover Institution), Fred Turner (Communication), Paul Turner (Art and Art History), Guadalupe Valdes (Education), Barbara Voss (Anthropology)

Lecturers: Rohit Aggarwala, Hilary Schafer Boudet, Melanie Edwards, Dehan Glanz, Michael Kahan, Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Michael Kieschnick, Lawrence Litvak, Joanne Sanders, Laura Scher, Frederic Stout

Visiting Associate Professor: Gerald Gast

Department Offices: Building 120, Room 160

Mail Code: 94305-2048

Phone: (650) 723-3956


Web Site:

Courses offered by the Urban Studies Program are listed under the subject code URBANST on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

The Urban Studies program treats urbanism as an interdisciplinary field; it brings together students, faculty, and outside specialists concerned with cities, and the impacts of cities on society and people's lives. The Urban Studies major encourages students to inquire deeply into the nature of cities and the techniques used to modify urban environments. It prepares students to address urbanization, and gives students a knowledge base and theoretical, analytical, and practical skills to understand urban social systems and effect social change.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Urban Studies

The mission of the undergraduate program in Urban Studies is to develop students' understanding of the nature of cities and their impacts on both the individual and society at large. The program is interdisciplinary in nature drawing from fields in the social sciences, history, and education. Courses in the program focus on issues in contemporary urban society, and on the tools and concepts that can bring about change to improve urban life. Courses also address how cities have changed over time and how they continue to change today in societies around the world. Through a comprehensive program that includes course work, an internship, and independent research, a major in Urban Studies prepares students for careers and advanced academic pursuits in fields including architecture, community service, education, environmental planning, real estate development, urban design, and urban planning; many alumni have obtained graduate degrees in architecture, business, law, public policy, urban design, and urban planning from major universities across the country. Information on careers and graduate programs pursued by Urban Studies alumni is available from the Urban Studies program office.


The program expects its undergraduate majors to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the Program in Urban Studies. Students are expected to demonstrate ability:

  1. to formulate a research question and assess its significance in relation to one or more relevant scholarly literatures and, where relevant, to theoretical writings.
  2. to collect data to answer proposed research question.
  3. to analyze a problem and draw correct inferences using qualitative and/or quantitative analysis.
  4. to write clearly and persuasively.

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