Cities are at the center of many of today’s most pressing issues, including climate change, social inequality, lack of access to housing and education, and the challenges of economic development in a globalizing world. The Urban Studies minor equips students for careers in government, in non-governmental organizations, and in the private sector that focus on solving pressing urban issues. The minor complements many social science majors as well as architecture, business, and engineering. It is designed to provide a solid background for graduate study and professional careers in urban planning and policy, social work, and related fields.
The coursework in the minor provides students with a strong understanding of the origins of urban issues. In the two required courses for the minor, students learn about the historical development of cities, and gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the social, cultural, political, and ecological forces that shape urban life. These courses also examine the forces of globalization that have reshaped urban life across the world, presenting cities with the challenge of building economies in an increasingly competitive environment of international competition. In addition, they examine the forces of suburbanization that transformed urban life in the United States in the 20th century, and that continue to reshape urban life in much of the world today. Students also take two elective courses, and can choose from numerous options that allow them to explore themes of race, globalization and cultural change, climate change, transportation, crime, and other issues.
The Urban Studies minor also offers many opportunities to use Boston as an urban laboratory, though coursework that examines the history and social life of the city. When combined with other experiences, such as a co-op in a Boston area agency or organization working on urban issues, the minor prepares students for a lifelong career of engagement with the complex and fascinating dynamics of urban development and change.