What is a city? What can a city’s history tell us about its future? Who creates policies and laws? Do fictionalized cities in film and literature help shape our own ideas about urban societies?

USF’s Urban Studies program explores these and other questions by studying the city as an idea, process and living organism – with San Francisco as its guide. The interdisciplinary curriculum examines how a city’s planning, politics, economy, social classes and diverse populations impact the successes and failures of modern urban environments. Graduates leave campus equipped with the knowledge, hands-on experience and communication skills necessary to kick-start their careers.

Biker Riding Downtown
Urban Studies students examine San Francisco’s modes of transportation by actively engaging with them.
Group of Students Crossing Street
Students stroll through San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, with views of the Bay Bridge in the background.
Group of Students Exploring City
USF students explore San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest outside of Asia.
Group of Students In Crosswalk
USF’s classrooms extend out into the San Francisco Bay Area’s vibrant, urban communities.
Group of Students Near Golden Gate Bridge
The Presidio, a former military base, has become an active park within San Francisco’s urban environment.
Two Students Lounging In Golden Gate Park
Students take a break in Golden Gate Park, just blocks from USF’s campus.
Two Students Walking Near Golden Gate Bridge
USF students hike along San Francisco’s unique coastal landscape.

Urban Studies Requirements

To major in Urban Studies, students must complete 44 units: a 24-unit core of urban studies courses and 20-units of diverse and exciting courses centered around Urban Sociology and Political Economy, Urban Histories, Theories and Methods, Urban Planning and the Built Environment or Urban Culture and Representation. Students will also complete a capstone seminar and internship.