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Urban Studies

The Department of Geography offers two interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts programs in Urban Studies:

  • The Major in Urban Studies is jointly offered by the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Arts and the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) in the Faculty of Applied Science. This program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for future careers in urban-oriented professions.
  • The Minor in Urban Studies is designed for students interested in cities and the way urbanization shapes historical and contemporary processes of social and environmental change. This program is an option for students majoring in other areas.

Major in Urban Studies

This program is pending final approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Admission to the program is by application. Students will normally apply at the end of Year 1 for Year 2 entry. The application will include overall GPA, grades from GEOG 250 and PLAN 211, and a one-page written statement indicating motivations for applying. Entry will be based upon application rankings. Please see Department’s website for application deadline.

Requirements prior to admission1

6 credits:

  • GEOG 250 / URST 200 (3) Cities
  • PLAN 211 (3) City-making: A Global Perspective

1Students may elect to also take GEOS 270 and PLAN 221, which would count for program credit if the student is admitted to the program. See approved list of focus area courses for more information about these two courses.

Requirements upon admission

12 credits:

  • PLAN 231 (3) Methods of Urban Community Engagement
  • GEOG 371 (3) Research Strategies in Geography
  • GEOG 451 (3) Urban Studies Capstone
  • PLAN 452 (3) Urban Studies Capstone

30 credits from list of Approved Courses for Focus Areas (choose at least 1 GEOG and 1 PLAN course from each Focus Area)

FA1. Indigenous Urban Life

  • GEOG 395 (3) Culture, Nature, and Coloniality in Latin America
  • GEOG 432 (3) Radical Traditions of Decolonization and Liberation
  • PLAN 321 (3) Indigeneity and the City

FA2. The Nature of Cities

  • GEOG 310 / ENST 310 (3) Environment and Sustainability
  • GEOG 311 / ENST 311 (3) Urban Environments
  • GEOG 313 / ENST 313 (3) Environmental Justice and Social Change (Prerequisite: GEOG 121)
  • GEOG 351 / URST 351 (3) Urban Environmental Politics
  • GEOG 423 (3) Development of Environmental Thought
  • PLAN 351 (3) Green Cities

FA3. Globalizing Cities

  • GEOG 352 / URST 352 (3) Urbanization in the Global South
  • GEOG 353 (3) Geographies of Migration and Settlement
  • GEOG 364 (3) Globalization, Cities, and Regions (Prerequisite: One of GEOG 121, 122)
  • PLAN 331 (3) The Just City in a Divided World

FA4. Technology and Cities

  • GEOS 270 (3) Geographic Information Science
  • GEOB / GEOS 370 (3) Advanced Geographic Information Science (Prerequisite: One of GEOB 270, GEOS 270. Or third-year standing in ENSC or GEOS (or GEOB) specializations, with introductory knowledge of GIS)
  • PLAN 341 (3) Smart Cities: Concepts, Methods and Design
  • PLAN 221 (3) City Visuals

FA5. Cities and Communities

  • GEOG 350 (3) Urban Worlds
  • GEOG 357 (3) Society, Culture & Space
  • PLAN 361 (3) Community Planning in a World of Diversity
  • PLAN 425 (3) Urban Planning Issues and Concepts

Interested students should visit the Urban Studies or contact undergraduate.program@geog.ubc.ca.

Minor in Urban Studies

The Minor in Urban Studies is designed for students interested in cities and the way urbanization shapes historical and contemporary processes of social and environmental change.

The minor consists of 30 credits, of which 18 credits must be at the 300-level or above.

Lower-level Requirements

12 credits, consisting of:

  • URST 200/GEOG 250
  • 9 credits from any of:
    • ANTH 202, 205
    • ENDS 211 or DES 211
    • ENDS 220 or DES 220
    • ENDS 221 or DES 230
    • ENDS 231 or DES 200
    • FNIS 100
    • GEOG 121, 122, 290
    • PLAN 211, PLAN 221
    • POLI 101, 260
    • SOCI 102 (or a maximum of 3 credits from SOCI 100)

Upper-level Requirements

18 credits, consisting of:

  • URST 400 or GEOG/URST 450
  • 15 credits selected from the following list and not more than 9 credits from any one discipline in this list:
    • ARTH 319, 331, 332, 445,
    • ASIA 325, 414,
    • CLST 331 or AMNE 376,
    • CLST 332 or AMNE 377,
    • ECON 310, 311, 374,
    • FNIS 455,
    • GEOB 401 or GEOS 401,
    • GEOG 311 or ENST 311,
    • GEOG 321, 328, 350, 351, 352, 353, 357, 364, 456, 457,
    • GEOG 351 or ENST 351,
    • GEOG 352 or URST 352,
    • GRSJ 306, 307,
    • HIST 302, 439, 480,
    • NEST 319 or AMNE 372,
    • NEST 402 or AMNE 471,
    • PLAN 321, 331, 341, 425,
    • POLI 306,
    • SOCI 301, 354, 364, 425, 480,
    • UFOR 402, 403.

Some of these courses may have prerequisites; students should consult Departmental requirements before registering.

Interested students should visit the Urban Studies Minor website, or contact Geography Academic Advising or the Chair of the Urban Studies Committee, Dr. Elvin Wyly (Geography), 604.822.2020.

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