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Urban Studies


Office: 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.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduate)

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 the proposed research question.
  3. to analyze a problem and draw correct inferences using qualitative and/or quantitative analysis.
  4. to write clearly and persuasively.

Coterminal Programs In Urban Studies

Undergraduates in Urban Studies may enter coterminal master's degree programs in a number of departments and schools in the University. In recent years, Urban Studies majors have developed coterminal programs with the departments of Anthropology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Communication, Earth Systems and Sociology, and with the School of Education. Information and applications for coterminal degree programs are available at Undergraduate Advising and Research. Students should discuss the coterminal program with a program director during their junior year.

For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, see the Publications and Online Guides web site.

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies

The Urban Studies major requires students to complete four types of courses totaling at least 73 units:

  1. 19 units in the core
  2. 12 units (minimum) of skills courses (for those declaring after August 1, 2011; 8 units for those who declared earlier)
  3. 25 units (minimum) in an area of concentration
  4. 13 units in the capstone sequence

If units in these categories total less then 73, the remaining units may be fulfilled by courses in other concentrations or in Urban Studies courses numbered 100 or higher (except URBANST 198 Senior Research in Public Service and URBANST 199 Senior Honors Thesis).

Majors must complete one prerequisite: ECON 1 Principles of Economics; this prerequisite course may be taken S/NC, as the units for this course do not count toward the 73 units required for the major. URBANST 198 Senior Research in Public Service, URBANST 199 Senior Honors Thesis, and prerequisites for required courses and for electives also do not count towards the 73-unit minimum.

Urban Studies students interested in graduate school in business or urban planning are advised to obtain basic quantitative skills by completing MATH 19 Calculus, MATH 20 Calculus, and MATH 21 Calculus, or MATH 41 Calculus and MATH 42 Calculus, preferably before the junior year.l A course in statistical methods, such as STATS 60 Introduction to Statistical Methods: Precalculus, ECON 102A Introduction to Statistical Methods (Postcalculus) for Social Scientists or SOC 181B Sociological Methods: Statistics, is recommended for students interested in business or urban planning.

Urban Studies students are required to carry out an internship at a public agency or non-profit organization relevant to the major, typically by enrolling in URBANST 201A Capstone Internship in Urban Studies during Spring Quarter of the junior year. This internship, or an appropriate substitution where necessary, should be arranged in consultation with the Program Manager for Service Learning no later than Winter Quarter of junior year and completed before the beginning of Winter quarter of senior year, or two quarters before graduation.   Selected service learning courses and the Urban Studies Summer Fellowship may satisfy the internship requirement; consult with an advisor for details.  Urban Studies majors who wish to receive academic credit for additional internship work may enroll in URBANST 194. Students may not count more than 7 units of internship credit, including URBANST 194 Internship in Urban Studies and URBANST 201A Capstone Internship in Urban Studies/, toward their major. Students can consult the Haas Center for Public Service for other courses with internship placements at community organizations.

Urban Studies students are encouraged to spend at least one quarter studying overseas to learn how cities vary across societies. Some Urban Studies concentration courses, as well as electives, can be satisfied at Stanford overseas campuses. Courses offered overseas vary from year to year, and students should check in advance with Overseas Studies and Urban Studies concerning which courses meet Urban Studies requirements. Students may arrange to fulfill the internship requirement through a placement at one of Stanford's overseas locations.

Courses counted toward the 73-unit graduation requirement for the major must be taken for a letter grade, and a minimum grade of 'C' is required. The only exceptions are Urban Studies courses numbered 100 and higher that are offered only on an S/NC basis, such as URBANST 201A Capstone Internship in Urban Studies. Students may count up to three non-Stanford courses, for a maximum of 15 units, toward the major. These units must first be approved by the Office of Transfer Credit in the Registrar's Office and subsequently approved by the Urban Studies program. Transfer credit is not awarded for internship. Students may not count more than 5 units of URBANST 197 Directed Reading, toward the major without permission of the Director. Qualified students may write a senior honors thesis and graduate with honors; see details in "Honors Program" below. Students interested in declaring Urban Studies as a major are required to meet first with the student services administrator and one of the program's advisers; they then declare the Urban Studies major on Axess.

Urban Studies Core

Urban Studies majors should complete URBANST 110 Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies, before Spring Quarter of the junior year. The following courses, totaling 19 units, are required:

URBANST 110Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies4
URBANST 112The Urban Underclass (not offered this year)5
URBANST 113Introduction to Urban Design: Contemporary Urban Design in Theory and Practice5
URBANST 114Urban Culture in Global Perspective5


A minimum of 12 units are required (for those who declare after August 1, 2011; 8 units for those who declared before), and should be taken before the end of the junior year. The following courses are recommended for most Urban Studies majors.

SOC 180AFoundations of Social Research4
EARTHSYS 144Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (GIS)4

ANTHRO 130D Spatial Approaches to Social Science is an approved substitute for EARTHSYS 144. 

The additional skills courses vary depending on a student's needs and interests. Student consult with an adviser to determine the best choice. Courses that fulfill the skills requirement are:

ANTHRO 91Method and Evidence in Anthropology5
ANTHRO 93BPrefield Research Seminar: Non-Majors5
ANTHRO 102Urban Ethnography5
ECON 102AIntroduction to Statistical Methods (Postcalculus) for Social Scientists5
EDUC 191XIntroduction to Survey Research3-4
HUMBIO 82AQualitative Research Methodology3
HUMBIO 82BAdvanced Data Analysis in Qualitative Research3
MED 147Methods in Community Assessment, Evaluation, and Research3
OSPCPTWN 22Preparation for Community-Based Research in Community Health and Development3
SOC 180BIntroduction to Data Analysis5


Students must complete at least 25 units in one of the following concentrations:

  • Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective,
  • Urban Education,
  • Urban Society and Social Change
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Self-Designed

Courses may not be double-counted. Students should consult an adviser to develop a program that meets their intellectual goals; relevant courses not listed here, including research methods courses taken in preparation for the capstone project, may be counted toward the concentration with the prior consent of an adviser.

These concentrations are declared to the department; they are not declared on Axess, and they do not appear on the transcript or the diploma.

Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Focus is on how cities have evolved over time, and how they are continuing to change today in societies around the world, drawing on disciplinary approaches including anthropology, archaeology, art history, geography, and history. By placing urban issues in perspective, students improve their comprehension of the present as well as the past.

Students in this concentration are encouraged to study off campus, and preferably overseas, for at least one quarter. Many courses offered through the Overseas Studies Program can be counted toward the concentration. Similarly, internships offered at many of Stanford's overseas locations can be used to fulfill the Urban Studies internship requirement.

CLASSART 112, Ancient Urbanism (offered alternate years) is required for the cities in comparative and historical perspectives concentration:

The following courses may be counted toward the Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective concentration:

AMELANG 177Middle Eastern Cities in Literature and Film4-5
ANTHRO 105Ancient Cities in the New World3-5
ANTHRO 112Public Archaeology: Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project4
ANTHRO 127City and Sounds5
ANTHRO 149South Asia: History, People, Politics5
ARTHIST 3Introduction to the History of Architecture- Domes: from the Pantheon to the Present5
ARTHIST 107ASt. Petersburg, a Cultural Biography: Architecture, Urban Planning, the Arts4
ARTHIST 142Architecture Since 19004
ARTHIST 143AAmerican Architecture4
ARTHIST 188AThe History of Modern and Contemporary Japanese and Chinese Architecture and Urbanism4
ARTHIST 205Cairo: Architecture and Urbanism from the Middle Ages to the 19th century5
CEE 32QPlace: Making Space Now3
CEE 131Architectural Design Process4
CLASSART 42Pompeii3-5
COMPLIT 144AIstanbul the Muse: The City in Literature and Film3-5
EARTHSYS 112Human Society and Environmental Change4
CLASSHIS 60The Romans3-5
CLASSHIS 101The Greeks4-5
FILMSTUD 150Cinema and the City4
HISTORY 106AGlobal Human Geography: Asia and Africa5
FRENCH 140Paris: Capital of the Modern World4-5
HISTORY 110CIntroduction to Modern Europe5
HISTORY 150CThe United States in the Twentieth Century5
HISTORY 166Introduction to African American History: The Modern African American Freedom Struggle3-5
HISTORY 206History and Geography of Contemporary Global Issues5
HISTORY 232DRome: The City and the World, 1350-17504-5
HISTORY 260California's Minority-Majority Cities4-5
ME 120History and Philosophy of Design3
MUSIC 11QArt in the Metropolis2
OSPBER 30Berlin vor Ort: A Field Trip Module1
OSPBER 60Cityscape as History: Architecture and Urban Design in Berlin5
OSPCPTWN 16South Africa Sites of Memory2
OSPCPTWN 17Western Cape Sites of Memory1
OSPCPTWN 22Preparation for Community-Based Research in Community Health and Development3
Targeted Research Project in Community Health and Development
   and Targeted Research Project in Community Health and Development
OSPCPTWN 43Public and Community Health in Sub-Saharan Africa4
OSPCPTWN 68Cities in the 21st Century: Urbanization, Globalization and Security4
OSPFLOR 58Space as History: Social Vision and Urban Change4
OSPFLOR 71A Studio with a View: Drawing, Painting and Informing your Aesthetic in Florence3-5
OSPFLOR 75Florence in the Renaissance: Family, Youth and Marriage in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries5
OSPFLOR 115YBuilding the Cathedral and the Town Hall: Constructing and Deconstructing Symbols of a Civilization4
OSPMADRD 60Integration into Spanish Society: Service Learning and Professional Opportunities5
OSPPARIS 92Building Paris: Its History, Architecture, and Urban Design4
OSPSANTG 71Santiago: Urban Planning, Public Policy, and the Built Environment4-5
POLISCI 110CAmerica and the World Economy5
RELIGST 237Heavenly Bodies: Saints' Bodies, Relics and Miracles in Late Antique and Medieval Europe4-5
URBANST 115Urban Sustainability: Long-Term Archaeological Perspectives3-5
URBANST 150History of San Francisco5
URBANST 160Environmental Policy and the City in U.S. History5
URBANST 166East Palo Alto: Reading Urban Change5

Urban Education

The purpose of this concentration is to prepare students for a career in educational policy and practice in diverse settings. This concentration is a useful basis for graduate study in educational policy, law, or business, and for students who have been admitted by the School of Education to pursue a coterminal master's degree in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) or the Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies Program (POLS). Stanford undergraduates can apply to the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) in their Junior or Senior year. 

Coterminal students applying to STEP are encouraged to take EDUC 101 before applying to the program.  Additionally, students interested in STEP Secondary (Single Subject) must demonstrate subject matter competency in their intended teaching area. Transcripts should reflect coursework in the intended teaching subject even if it was not a student’s undergraduate major.

For additional information please contact the STEP Admissions Officer at 723-2110, or consult the STEP web site.

The following course is required for the urban education concentration:

EDUC 112XUrban Education3-4

The following courses may be counted toward the urban education concentration:

EDUC 101Introduction to Teaching and Learning4
EDUC 103ATutoring: Seeing a Child through Literacy3-4
EDUC 103BRace, Ethnicity, and Linguistic Diversity in Classrooms: Sociocultural Theory and Practices3-5
EDUC 148XCritical Perspectives on Teaching and Tutoring English Language Learners3
EDUC 149Theory and Issues in the Study of Bilingualism3-5
EDUC 178XLatino Families, Languages, and Schools3-5
EDUC 179Urban Youth and Their Institutions: Research and Practice4-5
EDUC 201History of Education in the United States3-5
EDUC 202Introduction to Comparative and International Education4-5
EDUC 203The Anthropology of Education3-5
EDUC 204Introduction to Philosophy of Education3
EDUC 216Education, Race, and Inequality in African American History, 1880-19903-5
EDUC 220AIntroduction to the Economics of Education4
EDUC 220CEducation and Society4-5
EDUC 220DHistory of School Reform: Origins, Policies, Outcomes, and Explanations3-5
EDUC 221APolicy Analysis in Education4-5
EDUC 223Good Districts and Good Schools: Research, Policy, and Practice3-4
  & EDUC 233B
Counseling Theories and Interventions from a Multicultural Perspective
   and Adolescent Development and Mentoring in the Urban Context
EDUC 283Child Development In and Beyond Schools2
HUMBIO 142Adolescent Development3-4
or PSYCH 60 Introduction to Developmental Psychology
OSPCPTWN 32Service, Citizenship and Social Change: Service Learning in the Contemporary South African Contex-5
SOC 132Sociology of Education: The Social Organization of Schools4

Urban Society and Social Change

Focus is on issues in contemporary urban society and the tools and concepts that planners, policy makers, and citizens use to address those issues. Topics include environmental challenges, racial and class inequality, and the provision of adequate urban infrastructure. Students learn how community action, urban planning and design, and organizations in nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors address urban social and environmental problems. This concentration prepares students to enter graduate programs concerned with urban affairs, community service, and public policy, and to work with local governmental agencies and for-profit and nonprofit organizations engaged in community service and development.

The following course is required for the urban society and social change concentration:

POLISCI 133Ethics and Politics of Public Service5

The following courses may be counted toward the urban society and social change concentration:

ANTHRO 32Theories in Race and Ethnicity: A Comparative Perspective5
ASNAMST 146SAsian American Culture and Community3-5
CEE 64Air Pollution and Global Warming: History, Science, and Solutions3
CEE 100Managing Sustainable Building Projects4
CEE 115Goals and Methods of Sustainable Building Projects3
CEE 124Sustainable Development Studio1-5
CEE 129Climate Change Adaptation for Seaports: Engineering and Policy for a Sustainable Future3
CEE 131Architectural Design Process4
CEE 131AProfessional Practice: Mixed-Use Design in an Urban Setting3
CEE 141AInfrastructure Project Development3
CEE 141BInfrastructure Project Delivery3
CEE 142ANegotiating Sustainable Development3
CEE 171Environmental Planning Methods3
CEE 172Air Quality Management3
CEE 246Entrepreneurship in Civil & Environmental Engineering3-4
EARTHSYS 49NMulti-Disciplinary Perspectives on a Large Urban Estuary: San Francisco Bay3
EARTHSYS 104The Water Course3
EARTHSYS 105Food and Community: New Visions for a Sustainable Future3
EARTHSYS 112Human Society and Environmental Change4
EARTHSYS 124Environmental Justice: Local, National, and International Dimensions4
EARTHSYS 133Climate Change Law and Policy: From California to the Federal Government3
EARTHSYS 181Concepts of Urban Agriculture3
ECON 150Economic Policy Analysis4-5
ECON 155Environmental Economics and Policy5
EDUC 270ALearning to Lead in Public Service Organizations3-5
ENGR 150Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship1-6
HISTORY 106AGlobal Human Geography: Asia and Africa5
HISTORY 206History and Geography of Contemporary Global Issues5
HISTORY 255Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Social Gospel and the Struggle for Justice5
HISTORY 259APoverty and Homelessness in America4-5
HISTORY 260California's Minority-Majority Cities4-5
HUMBIO 116Controlling Climate Change in the 21st Century3
HUMBIO 122SSocial Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Health4
  & HUMBIO 127B
Community Health: Assessment and Planning I
   and Community Health: Assessment and Planning II
HUMBIO 128Community Health Psychology4
MS&E 180Organizations: Theory and Management4
or SOC 160 Formal Organizations
OSPCPTWN 22Preparation for Community-Based Research in Community Health and Development3
OSPCPTWN 32Service, Citizenship and Social Change: Service Learning in the Contemporary South African Contex-3-5
POLISCI 236Theories of Civil Society, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector5
PUBLPOL 102Organizations and Public Policy4-5
PUBLPOL 135Regional Politics and Decision Making in Silicon Valley and the Greater Bay Area3
PUBLPOL 183Philanthropy and Social Innovation4
SOC 14NInequality in American Society3
SOC 16NAfrican Americans and Social Movements3
SOC 45QUnderstanding Race and Ethnicity in American Society3
SOC 118Social Movements and Collective Action5
SOC 119Understanding Large-Scale Societal Change: The Case of the 1960s5
SOC 135Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy in the United States4
SOC 140Introduction to Social Stratification3
SOC 141Controversies about Inequality5
SOC 145Race and Ethnic Relations in the USA5
SOC 146Introduction to Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity5
SOC 161The Social Science of Entrepreneurship4
SOC 166Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Chicanos in American Society5
URBANST 111Urban Politics5
URBANST 115Urban Sustainability: Long-Term Archaeological Perspectives3-5
URBANST 123Approaching Research and the Community2-3
URBANST 131VIP: Very Impactful People - Social Innovation & the Social Entrepreneur1
URBANST 132Concepts and Analytic Skills for the Social Sector4
URBANST 133Social Entrepreneurship Collaboratory4
URBANST 137Innovations in Microcredit and Development Finance4
URBANST 160Environmental Policy and the City in U.S. History5
URBANST 163Land Use Control4
URBANST 164Sustainable Cities4-5
URBANST 166East Palo Alto: Reading Urban Change5
URBANST 167The Automobile and the City4
URBANST 172Design Approaches to Mending a City: Rethinking the 101 in East Palo Alto (Rethinking Detroit's Infrastructure)4

Urban Sustainability

The concentration in Urban Sustainability is a new initiative, designed for students seeking the theoretical framework and training for research and professional practice addressing environmental and social sustainability in cities. Students have the opportunity to pursue coursework in the fields of science and engineering that addresses the technical and infrastructural aspects of cities, as well as coursework in urban studies, sociology, and anthropology that focuses on the social systems of cities.

This concentration prepares students to work as effective social change agents as urban planners, designers, public servants, advocates, researchers, and scholars. Courses will have strong emphasis for students to engage in environmental and urban issues through service-learning opportunities. Through collaborations with local and international community partners on sustainability projects, students develop new knowledge and methodological training as they work firsthand with concepts of sustainability through social engagement.  

The following course is required for the urban sustainability concentration:

EARTHSYS 112Human Society and Environmental Change4
Total Units4

Additional coursework in this concentration should be designed individually in consultation with an adviser.  Students interested in pursuing the concentration in urban sustainability should meet with an Urban Studies adviser to determine an appropriate course of study.

Self-Designed Concentration

Students who wish to concentrate in an area of urban studies other than one of the above concentrations must complete the Urban Studies core, skills, and capstone requirement, and design additional units to bring the total to at least 73 units. The self-designed portion of the major should concentrate on a particular area of urban study, such as urban health care or urban environmental management. Additional units must be approved by both the Director of Urban Studies and an academic adviser who is a member of the Academic Council and has expertise in the particular area of interest to the student. A proposal for a self-designed concentration should include a list of courses and a description of how each course meets the student's educational objectives. A proposal for a self-designed concentration must be accompanied by a letter to the Director of Urban Studies indicating that the academic adviser has examined and approved the student's plan.

Students pursuing a self-designed concentration must submit proposals for approval by the Director of Urban Studies by the beginning of the third quarter of the student's sophomore year. Applications received after that deadline are not considered. Students interested in designing their own concentration are strongly encouraged to meet with the Director of Urban Studies before the end of their sophomore year.


All majors are required to complete an internship and a sequence of two seminars, totaling 13 units, in which students participate in the work of an urban organization related to their area of interest, design a senior project, and write the results of their project. The capstone seminars can be used to satisfy the Writing in the Major requirement and to complete some work on an honors thesis. URBANST 201A Capstone Internship in Urban Studies and URBANST 202 Preparation for Senior Research, should be taken in the junior year, and URBANST 203 Senior Seminar in the senior year. Students who plan to be away during Winter Quarter of their junior year are advised to take URBANST 202 Preparation for Senior Research in the Winter Quarter of their sophomore year.

URBANST 201ACapstone Internship in Urban Studies3
URBANST 202Preparation for Senior Research5
URBANST 203Senior Seminar5

Honors Program

The honors program offers qualified students an opportunity to conduct independent research and to write a thesis summarizing the results. Before being accepted to the honors program in Urban Studies, a student must:

  1. declare a major in Urban Studies and complete at least 30 of the 73 required units including all prerequisites and core classes
  2. complete URBANST 202 Preparation for Senior Research (offered Winter Quarter)
  3. have an overall GPA of 3.3 and a GPA of at least 3.5 in Urban Studies
  4. submit an application, including a one-page abstract and the signatures of an adviser and, if applicable, a second reader. If the adviser is not a member of Stanford's Academic Council, the student must have a second reader who is an Academic Council member. The application must be submitted to the program office no later than April 30 of the junior year, and it must then be approved by the Director of the Urban Studies honors program.

Honors students are expected to complete a portion of their honors work in URBANST 203 Senior Seminar, in Autumn Quarter. Additionally, they must register for 5-10 units total in URBANST 199 Senior Honors Thesis, over the course of their senior year. The units of URBANST 199 Senior Honors Thesis are in addition to the 73-units required for the major. Honors students are required to present their theses at the Senior Colloquium in Spring Quarter of senior year.

To graduate with honors, students must receive a grade of at least 'A-' in the honors work and have a GPA of at least 3.5 in courses for the Urban Studies major at the time of graduation.

Minor in Urban Studies

The minor in Urban Studies is designed to introduce students to several disciplinary approaches to the study of cities, and provides the opportunity to explore one of three specialized options:

  • Cities in comparative and historical perspective
  • Urban education
  • Urban society and social change
  • Urban sustainability

The minor in Urban Studies requires completion of seven courses for a letter grade, including the four core courses, the required course in the student's chosen concentration area, and two additional courses in that option as listed in the "Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies" section of this bulletin.

Director:    Zephyr Frank (History)

Associate Director: Michael Kahan (Lecturer, Urban Studies)

Executive Committee: Prudence Carter (Education), Thomas Hansen (Anthropology), 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), Allyson Hobbs (History), 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),  Doug McAdam (Sociology), Raymond McDermott (Education), Daniel McFarland (Education),  William McLennan (Office of Religious Life), Ian Morris (Classics), Clayton Nall (Political Science), Josiah Ober (Classics, Political Science), Leonard Ortolano (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Sean Reardon (Education), Rob Reich (Political Science), Ian Robertson (Anthropology), Michael Rosenfeld (Sociology),  Walter Scheidel (Classics), Gary Segura (Political Science), Michael Shanks (Classics), Jennifer Trimble (Classics), Nancy Brandon Tuma (Sociology, Hoover Institution), Fred Turner (Communication),  Guadalupe Valdes (Education), Barbara Voss (Anthropology), Steve Zipperstein (History)

Lecturers: Ayca Alemdaroglu, Deland Chan, Melanie Edwards,  Dehan Glanz, Clayton Hurd, Michael Kahan, Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Michael Kieschnick, Joseph Kott, Lawrence Litvak, Judith Ned,  Laura Scher, Frederic Stout, Mark Wolfe

Overseas Studies Courses in Urban Studies

The Bing Overseas Studies Program manages Stanford study abroad programs for Stanford undergraduates. Students should consult their department or program's student services office for applicability of Overseas Studies courses to a major or minor program.

The Bing Overseas Studies course search site displays courses, locations, and quarters relevant to specific majors.

For course descriptions and additional offerings, see the listings in the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses or Bing Overseas Studies.

OSPBER 13Jewish and Muslim Berlin3
OSPBER 30Berlin vor Ort: A Field Trip Module1
OSPBER 60Cityscape as History: Architecture and Urban Design in Berlin5
OSPCPTWN 15Segregation and Social Distance: The Politics of Social Separation4
OSPCPTWN 16South Africa Sites of Memory2
OSPCPTWN 17Western Cape Sites of Memory1
OSPCPTWN 22Preparation for Community-Based Research in Community Health and Development3
OSPCPTWN 24ATargeted Research Project in Community Health and Development3
OSPCPTWN 24BTargeted Research Project in Community Health and Development5
OSPCPTWN 32Service, Citizenship and Social Change: Service Learning in the Contemporary South African Contex-5
OSPCPTWN 43Public and Community Health in Sub-Saharan Africa4
OSPCPTWN 68Cities in the 21st Century: Urbanization, Globalization and Security4
OSPFLOR 58Space as History: Social Vision and Urban Change4
OSPFLOR 75Florence in the Renaissance: Family, Youth and Marriage in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries5
OSPFLOR 115YBuilding the Cathedral and the Town Hall: Constructing and Deconstructing Symbols of a Civilization4
OSPKYOTO 48City and Sounds in Kyoto4-5
OSPMADRD 60Integration into Spanish Society: Service Learning and Professional Opportunities5
OSPPARIS 92Building Paris: Its History, Architecture, and Urban Design4
OSPSANTG 71Santiago: Urban Planning, Public Policy, and the Built Environment4-5


URBANST 100A. Pre-field Course for Urban Studies Alternative Spring Break. 1 Unit.

Limited to students participating in the Alternative Spring Break program. See for more information.

URBANST 110. Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies. 4 Units.

The study of cities and urban civilization. History of urbanization and current issues such as suburbanization, racial discrimination, globalization, and urban sustainability. Public policies designed to address these issues and Utopian versions of what cities could be in the future.

URBANST 111. Urban Politics. 5 Units.

The major actors, institutions, processes, and policies of sub-state government in the U.S., emphasizing city general-purpose governments through a comparative examination of historical and contemporary politics. Issues related to federalism, representation, voting, race, poverty, housing, and finances.
Same as: AMSTUD 121Z, POLISCI 121, PUBLPOL 133.

URBANST 112. The Urban Underclass. 5 Units.

(Graduate students register for 249.) Recent research and theory on the urban underclass, including evidence on the concentration of African Americans in urban ghettos, and the debate surrounding the causes of poverty in urban settings. Ethnic/racial conflict, residential segregation, and changes in the family structure of the urban poor.
Same as: SOC 149, SOC 249.

URBANST 113. Introduction to Urban Design: Contemporary Urban Design in Theory and Practice. 5 Units.

Comparative studies in neighborhood conservation, inner city regeneration, and growth policies for metropolitan regions. Lect-disc and research focusing on case studies from North America and abroad, team urban design projects. Two Saturday class workshops in San Francisco: Jan 19 and Feb 2. Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DBSocSci | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP).

URBANST 114. Urban Culture in Global Perspective. 5 Units.

Core course for Urban Studies majors. We will study urban space both historically and cross-culturally. Urban Studies, by definition, is an interdisciplinary field, where the methodological approaches draw upon a diverse set of analytic tools. Disciplines that occupy a prominent place in this class are geography, cultural anthropology, sociology, history, media studies, and literature. In this context, we will discuss the importance of cities around the world to the economic, cultural, and political well-being of modern societies and examine how forces such as industrialization, decentralization, and globalization affect the structure and function of cities.
Same as: ANTHRO 126.

URBANST 115. Urban Sustainability: Long-Term Archaeological Perspectives. 3-5 Units.

Comparative and archaeological view of urban design and sustainability. How fast changing cities challenge human relationships with nature. Innovation and change, growth, industrial development, the consumption of goods and materials. Five millennia of city life including Near Eastern city states, Graeco-Roman antiquity, the Indus Valley, and the Americas.
Same as: CLASSGEN 123, CLASSGEN 223.

URBANST 121. Public Scholarship & Social Change. 2 Units.

Introduces students to the diverse ways of ¿doing¿ public/community-engaged scholarship, including public interest and public policy-oriented research, design research, social entrepreneurship, activist/advocacy and community-based research models. Through a multidisciplinary set of case studies of actual research/action projects in the US and abroad, students will compare and assess research models in terms of methodological approach, academic rigor, control and ownership of the research process, means and modes of data dissemination, researcher subjectivity, depth of community partnership, and relative potential for sustainable, long-term community impact. The course material is designed to provide students with a broad framework and context to imagine how to produce their own scholarship/research as a form of public service and social transformation.

URBANST 122. Ethics and Politics of Public Service. 5 Units.

Ethical and political questions in public service work, including volunteering, service learning, humanitarian assistance, and public service professions such as medicine and teaching. Motives and outcomes in service work. Connections between service work and justice. Is mandatory service an oxymoron? History of public service in the U.S. Issues in crosscultural service work. Integration with the Haas Center for Public Service to connect service activities and public service aspirations with academic experiences at Stanford.
Same as: CSRE 178, ETHICSOC 133, HUMBIO 178, PHIL 175A, PHIL 275A, POLISCI 133, PUBLPOL 103D.

URBANST 123. Approaching Research and the Community. 2-3 Units.

Comparative perspective on research with communities and basic overview of research methodologies, with an emphasis on the principles and practices of doing community-based research as a collaborative enterprise between academic researchers and community members. How academic scholarship can be made useful to communities. How service experiences and interests can be used to develop research questions in collaboration with communities and serve as a starting point for developing senior theses or other independent research projects.

URBANST 124. Spatial Approaches to Social Science. 5 Units.

This multidisciplinary course combines different approaches to how GIS and spatial tools can be applied in social science research. We take a collaborative, project oriented approach to bring together technical expertise and substantive applications from several social science disciplines. The course aims to integrate tools, methods, and current debates in social science research and will enable students to engage in critical spatial research and a multidisciplinary dialogue around geographic space.
Same as: ANTHRO 130D, ANTHRO 230D, POLISCI 241S.

URBANST 126. Spirituality and Nonviolent Urban and Social Transformation. 3 Units.

A life of engagement in social transformation is often built on a foundation of spiritual and religious commitments. Case studies of nonviolent social change agents including Rosa Parks in the civil rights movement, César Chávez in the labor movement, and WIlliam Sloane Coffin in the peace movement; the religious and spiritual underpinnings of their commitments. Theory and principles of nonviolence. Films and readings. Service learning component includes placements in organizations engaged in social transformation. Service Learning Course (certified by Haas Center).
Same as: CSRE 162A, RELIGST 162.

URBANST 127. Community Planning Workshop. 4-5 Units.

Students work in teams to conduct research, analyze and evaluate alternatives, and make recommendations for possible solutions to local community development issues. Students work with community partners to blend theory and practice to accomplish a community based project.


URBANST 128. Community Mapping Practicum. 4 Units.

Students will use mapping techniques to explore community planning and policy issues in Redwood City. Focusing on building other skills including teamwork, writing, and oral communication. GIS is not a prerequisite.

URBANST 131. VIP: Very Impactful People - Social Innovation & the Social Entrepreneur. 1 Unit.

Invited lecture series. Perspectives and endeavors of entrepreneurs and thought leaders who address social needs in the U.S. and internationally through private, for-profit and nonprofit organizations or public institutions.

URBANST 132. Concepts and Analytic Skills for the Social Sector. 4 Units.

How to create and grow innovative, not-for-profit organizations and for-profit enterprises which have the primary goal of solving social and environmental problems. Topics include organizational mission, strategy, communications/marketing, financing and evaluation. Opportunities and limits of methods from the for-profit sector to meet social goals. Perspectives from the field of social entrepreneurship. Focus is on integrating theory with practical applications. Enrollment limited to 20. Prerequisite:consent of instructor. Email

URBANST 133. Social Entrepreneurship Collaboratory. 4 Units.

Interdisciplinary student teams create and develop U.S. and international social entrepreneurship initiatives. Proposed initiatives may be new entities, or innovative projects, partnerships, and/or strategies impacting existing organizations and social issues in the U.S. and internationally. Focus is on each team¿s research and on planning documents to further project development. Project development varies with the quarter and the skill set of each team, but should include: issue and needs identification; market research; design and development of an innovative and feasible solution; and drafting of planning documents. In advanced cases, solicitation of funding and implementation of a pilot project. Enrollment limited to 30. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: 131 and 132, or consent of instructor.

URBANST 137. Innovations in Microcredit and Development Finance. 4 Units.

The role of innovative financial institutions in supporting economic development, the alleviation of rural and urban poverty, and gender equity. Analysis of the strengths and limits of commercial banks, public development banks, credit unions, and microcredit organizations both in the U.S. and internationally. Readings include academic journal articles, formal case studies, evaluations, and annual reports. Priority to students who have taken any portion of the social innovation series: URBANST 131, 132, or 133. Recommended: ECON 1A or 1B.

URBANST 140. Urban Ethnography. 5 Units.

Ethnographic research and writing focuses on the ways our lives are shaped by interacting forces such as history, political economy, and creative cultural practices. In the last fifty years, more and more cultural anthropology has been carried out in urban contexts, due to both urbanization around the world and changes in anthropology as a field. This seminar focuses on careful reading and analysis of book-length ethnographies about urban cultures, people and dynamics to consider what the theory and methodological tools of anthropology have to offer us as we seek to better understand ¿the city.¿ Readings include a variety of approaches to ethnographic research in and/or about cities, with a mix from different eras and about different cities around the world.
Same as: ANTHRO 102.

URBANST 144. Cities and Citizens in the Middle East. 4 Units.

This course will explore historical formation of cities and citizens in the Eastern Mediterranean since the 19th century.We will explore urban development, economy, social classes and local politics with a focus Egypt and Turkey and in particular two world-historical cities, Cairo and Istanbul. Drawing on history, cultural anthropology, geography and sociology disciplines, we will examine how urban space in Egypt and Turkey have reconfigured through histories of colonialism, nationalism, developmentalism and globalization. Rural to urban immigration, informality, gendered places, consumption, urban regeneration, local politics and branding the city will be the themes of our discussion. We will study these themes in relation to two main questions: How do spatial changes engender new social practices and redefine cultural difference?; How do power struggles at the intersection of local and global interests shape urban change? It will be of interest for urban studies majors and other students at all levels who would like to study urban struggles and change in Turkey, Egypt, the Middle East and the Global South.
Same as: ANTHRO 149A.

URBANST 145. International Urbanization Seminar: Cross-Cultural Collaboration for Sustainable Urban Development. 4-5 Units.

Comparative approach to sustainable cities, with focus on international practices and applicability to China. Tradeoffs regarding land use, infrastructure, energy and water, and the need to balance economic vitality, environmental quality, cultural heritage, and social equity. Student teams collaborate with Chinese faculty and students partners to support urban sustainability projects. Limited enrollment via application; see for details. Prerequisites: consent of the instructor(s).
Same as: EARTHSYS 138.

URBANST 150. History of San Francisco. 5 Units.

This class will examine the history of San Francisco, with a focus on social and political history. Possible topics include Indians and Spanish settlers, the Gold Rush, immigration, public culture, Progressive Era reform, the earthquake and fire of 1906 and its legacy, labor and unionism, race and civil rights, sexuality and politics, and redevelopment.

URBANST 160. Environmental Policy and the City in U.S. History. 5 Units.

Looks at the historical backgrounds of current issues in urban environmental policy, including waste, transportation, air pollution, and other major issues. Covers the period 1800 to the present. Explores the relevance of historical scholarship.

URBANST 161. U.S. Urban History since 1920. 5 Units.

The end of European immigration and its impact on cities; the Depression and cities; WW II and the martial metropolis; de-industrialization; suburbanization; African American migration; urban renewal; riots, race, and the narrative of urban crisis; the impact of immigration from Asia, Latin America, and Africa; homelessness; the rise of the Sunbelt cities; gentrification; globalization and cities. Final project is history of a San Francisco neighborhood, based on primary sources and site visit.

URBANST 162. Managing Local Governments. 4 Units.

In-the-trenches approach. Issues in leading and managing local governments in an era of accelerating and discontinuous change. Focus is on practical strategies related to financing, public services impacted by increasing demand and revenue constraints, the politics of urban planning, private-public partnerships, public sector marketing, entrepreneurial problem solving, promoting a learning and risk-taking organizational culture, and developing careers in local government. Enrollment limited to 25; preference to Urban Studies majors.

URBANST 163. Land Use Control. 4 Units.

Methods of land use control related to the pattern and scale of development and the protection of land and water resources. Emphasis is on the relationship between the desired land use goal and geographical landscape, physical externalities, land use law, and regulatory agencies. Topics include the historical roots of modern land use controls; urban reforms of the 19th century; private ownership of land; zoning; local, state, and federal land use regulation; and land trusts preservation. Smart growth, environmental impact consideration, private property rights, and special purpose agencies are related to current issues.

URBANST 164. Sustainable Cities. 4-5 Units.

Service-learning course that exposes students to sustainability concepts and urban planning as a tool for determining sustainable outcomes in the Bay Area. Focus will be on the relationship of land use and transportation planning to housing and employment patterns, mobility, public health, and social equity. Topics will include government initiatives to counteract urban sprawl and promote smart growth and livability, political realities of organizing and building coalitions around sustainability goals, and increasing opportunities for low-income and communities of color to achieve sustainability outcomes. Students will participate in team-based projects in collaboration with local community partners and take part in significant off-site fieldwork.

URBANST 165. Sustainable Urban and Regional Transportation Planning. 4-5 Units.

Environmental, economic, and equity aspects of urban transportation in 21st-century U.S. Expanded choices in urban and regional mobility that do not diminish resources for future generations. Implications for the global environment and the livability of communities.

URBANST 166. East Palo Alto: Reading Urban Change. 5 Units.

Examines the changes in East Palo Alto's built environment, economy, and civil society since the 1990s. Focus on environmental activism, sustainability, and environmental justice issues. Students use archived film footage to analyze the history.

URBANST 167. The Automobile and the City. 4 Units.

This coursde will examine the impact of the automobile on urban development and the social life of the modern city from three perspectives. First, as Auto-Utopia: a look at the golden age of automobiling during the early and late 20th century when the private car and the truck expanded the full range of opportunities for the ecdonomy and for both urban and rural residents of the modern world. Second, Auto-Dystopia: an examination of the negative impacts of the automobile that emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in regard to safety, congestion, pollution, sustainability, and the development of a monoculture of the automobile in urban transportation. And third, Auto-Futures: a look at the ways that urban society -- both in the developed world and in the emerging economies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- will plan for and manage a multi-modal transportation system (walking, cycling, transit, and the achievement of a better jobs/housing balance) in which the automobile will be one of many options and will serve both private and public needs.

URBANST 171. Urban Design Studio. 5 Units.

The practical application of urban design theory. Projects focus on designing neighborhood and downtown regions to balance livability, revitalization, population growth, and historic preservation.

URBANST 172. Design Approaches to Mending a City: Rethinking the 101 in East Palo Alto. 4 Units.

The omnipresence of automobile infrastructure negotiating the urban, suburban, and rural landscapes emphasizes the prioritization of this mode of transportation in the United States. Although the overlap of highway and urban area is sometimes addressed (and re-addressed), it tends to create sub-districts, fragmentation, and unnecessary conditions of separation. nnWhile serving as an important circulation network on the west coast, connecting Los Angeles to Seattle, the infrastructure of Highway 101 cuts through various communities, at times creating division at the local scale. One of the more marked manifestations of this division is in East Palo Alto, where the highway separates residents on the west side from schools and activities on the east side, acting as a barrier that must be navigated by car. nnThis studio aims to articulate the issues created by the presence of the highway and study design solutions that not only mitigate the presence of these two systems (highway and community) at a general level, but develop strategic approaches to the issues facing the specific area. In this regard, students will engage with the site, community members, and local officials. They will focus on the issues and impact of transportation infrastructure and offer design oriented ideas and responses for addressing the intersection of urban development and highway systems.
Same as: CEE 134C.

URBANST 173. The Urban Economy. 4 Units.

Applies the principles of economic analysis to historical and contemporary urban and regional development issues and policies. Explores themes of urban economic geography, location decision-making by firms and individuals, urban land and housing markets, and local government finance. Critically evaluates historical and contemporary government policies regulating urban land use, housing, employment development, and transportation. Prerequisite: Econ 1A or permission of instructor.
Same as: PUBLPOL 174.

URBANST 190. Urban Professions Seminar. 1 Unit.

Workshop. Contemporary practice of urban design and planning, community development, urban education, public service law, and related fields. Topics depend partly on student interests. Bay Area professionals lecture and respond to questions concerning their day-to-day work, impressions of their field, and the academic background recommended for their work.

URBANST 194. Internship in Urban Studies. 2-4 Units.

For Urban Studies majors only. Students organize an internship in an office of a government agency, a community organization, or a private firm directly relevant to the major. Reading supplements internship. Paper summarizes internship experience and related readings.

URBANST 195. Special Projects in Urban Studies. 1-5 Unit.

URBANST 197. Directed Reading. 1-5 Unit.

URBANST 198. Senior Research in Public Service. 1-3 Unit.

Limited to seniors approved by their departments for honors thesis and admitted to the year-round Public Service Scholars Program sponsored by the Haas Center for Public Service. What standards in addition to those expected by the academy apply to research conducted as a form of public service? How can communities benefit from research? Theory and practice of research as a form of public service readings, thesis workshops, and public presentation of completed research. May be repeated for credit. Corequisite: 199.

URBANST 199. Senior Honors Thesis. 1-10 Unit.

URBANST 201. Preparation for Senior Project. 5 Units.

First part of capstone experience for Urban Studies majors pursuing an internship-based research project or honors thesis. Assignments culminate in a research proposal, which may be submitted for funding. Students also identify and prepare for a related internship, normally to begin in Spring Quarter in URBANST 201B or in Summer. Research proposed in the final assignment may be carried out in Spring or Summer Quarter; consent required for Autumn Quarter research. Service Learning Course (certified by Haas Center).
Same as: SOC 201.

URBANST 201A. Capstone Internship in Urban Studies. 3 Units.

Restricted to Urban Studies majors. Students work at least 80 hours with a supervisor, establish learning goals, and create products demonstrating progress. Reflection on service and integration of internship with senior research plans. Must be completed by start of Winter Quarter senior year. May continue for additional quarter as 194. Service Learning Course (certified by Haas Center). Corequisite: URBANST 201 or consent of instructor.

URBANST 201B. Capstone Internship Seminar. 3-4 Units.

Students carry out an internship of at least 80 hours with a community organization or government agency. Class meets weekly to discuss related issues, including ethics of service, combining service and research, navigating organizational dynamics, and setting and accomplishing internship goals. Students submit internship agreement and internship-related deliverables, and give in-class presentations.

URBANST 202. Preparation for Senior Research. 5 Units.

Required of all juniors in Urban Studies and those juniors in Sociology planning on writing an honors thesis . Students write a research prospectus and grant proposal, which may be submitted for funding. Research proposal in final assignment may be carried out in Spring or Summer Quarter; consent required for Autumn Quarter research.
Same as: SOC 202.

URBANST 203. Senior Seminar. 5 Units.

Conclusion of capstone sequence. Students write a substantial paper based on the research project developed in 201 or 202. Students in the honors program may incorporate paper into their thesis. Guest scholar chosen by students.