Urban Studies Programs
School/College: College of Letters and Science
- M.S. in Urban Studies
- Ph.D. in Urban Studies
Urban Studies Programs offers two interdisciplinary graduate programs of study. Both programs are jointly sponsored by the Departments of History and Sociology and include participating faculty from these two departments plus Geography and Political Science.
The Master of Science degree program in Urban Studies provides students with a broad understanding of urban society and trains them in research techniques appropriate to the study of metropolitan communities. The course of study stresses the understanding of social processes and the analysis of social and economic policies affecting cities.
All M.S. students must complete a five-course core curriculum that establishes a common base of knowledge and research skills. On completing the core, students have two options. They may either secure a generalist degree, requiring 15 additional credits in elective courses, or they may specialize in an area of concentration in consultation with the M.S. Program Coordinator. The specialist option requires 15 credits in specified courses beyond the core. Both options require either a master's thesis or a master's paper. Graduates are prepared to enter professional careers in government or social agencies, or to enter doctoral programs for further study.
The Ph.D. degree program in Urban Studies is designed to prepare individuals to obtain employment in academic departments, as well as government institutions and social agencies, and to conduct sophisticated research in the field of urban studies. The course of study emphasizes history, research methodology, and social science theory.
M.S./MLIS Coordinated Degree Program
In cooperation with the School of Information Studies, Urban Studies Programs offers an M.S./MLIS program to prepare students for positions as urban information specialists. Students in this program concurrently pursue an M.S. in Urban Studies and a MLIS degree program. Prerequisite to the award of either degree in this program is the simultaneous award of its counterpart degree.
- Margo, Anderson, Ph.D., Rutgers University (History)
- Ihrke, Douglas, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University (Political Science)
- Levine, Marc, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (History)
- Mathiowetz, Nancy, Ph.D., University of Michigan (Sociology)
- Montgomery, Rhonda, Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Sociology)
- Velez, William, Ph.D., Yale University (Sociology)
- Wilson, Frank Harold, Ph.D., University of Michigan (Sociology)
- Associate Professors
- Alinder, Jasmine, Ph.D., University of Michigan (History)
- Ghose, Rina, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Geography)
- Green, Donald, Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Sociology)
- Jordan, Jennifer, Ph.D., University of California - San Diego (Sociology)
- McBride, Genevieve G., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (History)
- McCarthy, Linda, Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Geography)
- Oliker, Stacey, Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley (Sociology)
- Rast, Joel, Ph.D., University of Oregon (Political Science)
- Renda, Lex, Ph.D., University of Virginia (History)
- Rodriguez, Joseph A., Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley (History)
- Seligman, Amanda, Ph.D., Northwestern University (History)
- Smith, Robert S., Ph.D., Bowling Green State University (History)
- Assistant Professors
- Bonds, Anne, Ph.D., University of Washington (Geography)
- Britton, Marcus, Ph.D., Northwestern University (Sociology)
- Holifield, Ryan, Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Geography)
- Shah, Paru, Ph.D., Rice University (Political Science)
- Shin, Heeju, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (Sociology)
- Sziarto, Kristin, Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Geography)
Master of Science in Urban Studies
An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following requirement to be considered for admission:
- Undergraduate major in one of the social sciences or experience in relevant occupational roles such as planning, community organization or social work.
- Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic ability. Recommendation forms may be obtained from the Urban Studies Programs office.
- Submission of Graduate Record Examination scores is recommended but not required.
Applicants may be admitted with specific program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses.
The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.
Major Professor as Advisor
The Coordinator of the Urban Studies Master of Science degree program acts as the initial advisor to all entering students. Therefore, upon admission to the program, students should meet with the Coordinator to discuss their course of study. As specified by The Graduate School, the student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student's studies. Once the student has defined an area of interest within Urban Studies, an advisor with similar interests may be chosen from among the other members of the USP faculty.
Credits and Courses
The minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits. All Urban Studies students are required to take a core curriculum of 15 credits:
- Urb Std 731 Quantitative Analysis in Urban Research (or equiv)
- Urb Std 921 Seminar: Research Methods in Urban Studies
- Three of the following four substantive courses
- Urb Std 901 Seminar: Urban Social Structure
- Urb Std 913 Urban Political Process
- Urb Std 945 The Internal Structure of the City
- Urb Std 971 Seminar in the History of American Urban Problems
Students in the M.S./MLIS program follow all of the requirements and standards as described in this section of the Bulletin with the following joint exceptions: 21 of the 24 credits, including the optional 3 credits for a master's thesis, required for the Urban Studies portion of the joint degree are taken within USP. All courses in related areas and any exceptions to the 21 credit rule must be reviewed by the Coordinator of Urban Studies. All courses selected are expected to be consistent with the objectives of the Urban Studies program.
Paper or Thesis
A master's paper or thesis is required to receive the M.S. degree in Urban Studies. A master's paper may be developed from a seminar paper and should demonstrate conceptual ability and research competence in a sub-area of Urban Studies. It is expected that the master's paper will be prepared in a scholarly fashion conforming to the format characteristics of journal articles published in the chosen area of study.
A master's thesis is a more formal document of greater breadth and depth than a master's paper. Students should refer to Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Format Requirements for information regarding preparation and review of the thesis.
Regardless of the option chosen, the student, in consultation with the faculty advisor, must assemble a committee of three faculty who will serve as the paper or thesis examination committee. The student must pass an oral examination based on the paper or thesis. Students who elect to write a master's theses may enroll in USP 990 and earn up to 3 credits toward the M.S. degree.
The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.
Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies
An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements, hold a master's degree or the equivalent in a social science or a related field, and meet the criteria established by the Urban Studies Programs Faculty to be considered for admission:
- Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic work. Recommendation forms may be obtained from the Urban Studies Programs office.
- A sample of the applicant's written work that demonstrates the applicant's ability to conduct independent social science research and/or the ability to critically analyze the work of others.
- A letter of intent outlining the applicant's reasons for graduate study.
- GRE scores.
- A response to a question that elucidates the applicant's reasons for taking up the academic study of urban affairs and describes her/his intellectual ambitions in the field.
Course of Study
Minimum degree requirement is 33 credits beyond the master's degree; these credits include core courses, a methodological specialization, a topical specialization, and a dissertation. At least 27 credits must be earned in UWM courses while in the doctoral program. Credits for the methodological specialization and the topical specialization combined must total at least 15 credits, with 6 credits from one area and 9 from the other. Students will decide, in consultation with their advisor, whether to focus more on methods or on topics. In consultation with their major professor and the program director, students must develop a plan of study, which should be filed in the USP office by the end of the second semester of enrollment.
Core Courses (12 credits)
All doctoral students must take a required set of four core courses as follows. Qualified students may be exempted from the quantitative competency/statistics course, but they must take an additional three credits of electives in methodological or topical tracks. Unless otherwise indicated, courses are 3 credits.
- Urb Std 921 Seminar: Research Methods in Urban Studies
- Urb Std 984 Research Design for Urban Studies
- Urb Std 981 Perspectives Toward Change in Urban Social Institutions (name change to “Argument in Urban Studies Scholarship” pending)
OR Urb Std 983 Contemporary Urban Social Structure and Change
- Geog 547 Spatial Analysis, 4 cr
OR Hist 595 The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
OR Sociol 760 Advanced Statistical Methods in Sociology
Methodological Specialization (6-9 credits)
Students must declare one specialization from the following list and take two to three courses, for a total of 6 to 9credits. Credits taken in the methodological specialization and the topical specialization combined must total at least 15 credits.
- Statistical Analysis/Quantitative Research Design (2 course minimum)
A methodological specialization in statistical analysis requires Sociol/Urb Std 982 Advanced Quantitative Analysis and at least one additional statistical/quantitative course beyond the core competency. This course, selected in consultation with the student’s advisor, should support research objectives and dissertation goals. See the Graduate Program Director for a list of qualifying courses.
- Geographical Information Systems (2 course minimum)
A methodological specialization in GIS requires the following two courses. Students who elect this specialization must take Geog 547 to complete the statistical/quantitative core competency.
Geog 525 Geographic Information Science (4 cr)
Geog 625 Intermediate Geographic Information Science (4 cr)
Students who elect the GIS option earn 8 credits in the two required courses and must complete a minimum of 7 credits in topical courses or take one additional methods course with 6 credits in topical courses.
Optional additional coursework in GIS may be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor, with consideration of research objectives and dissertation goals. See the Graduate Program Director for a list of suggested courses.
- Historical Methods (2 course minimum)
In consultation with their advisor, students who elect this specialization must select two historical methods courses in that support research objectives and dissertation goals. See the Graduate Program Director for a list of qualifying courses.
- Qualitative Methods (2 course minimum)
Students who elect the methodological specialization in qualitative methods select two courses in consultation with their advisor in support of research objectives and dissertation goals. See the Graduate Program Director for a list of qualifying courses.
- Program/Policy Evaluation (2 course minimum)
A methodological specialization in program/policy evaluation requires Pol Sci/Pub Adm 769 Analyzing and Evaluating Public Policies and Programs and at least one additional program/policy evaluation course. This course, selected in consultation with the student’s advisor, should support research objectives and dissertation goals. See the Graduate Program Director for a list of qualifying courses.
- Mixed Methods (2 course minimum)
Graduate students intending to pursue mixed research methods in their dissertation must file with the USP a plan of study created in consultation with their major professor and the program Director.
Topical Specialization (6-9 credits)
Students must declare a topical specialization, in consultation with their advisor, to gain competence in one of the faculty areas of specialization and must take two to three courses in that specialization, for a total of 6 to 9 credits. Students who opt for 6 credits (two courses) of methodological specialization must take at least 9 credits of topical specialization courses. Those who select 9 credits (three courses) of methodological specialization must complete 6 credits of topical specialization courses.
A variety of specializations and qualifying courses are published annually on the Urban Studies web site. Students are required to take 6-9 credits at the 700 level or above in the specialization field, no more than 3 credits of which may be in independent study courses. With the approval of the major professor or program director, students may take up to 3 credits in U/G courses.
Thesis (6 credits)
A maximum of 6 credits in doctoral thesis or dissertation courses may be counted toward the 33 credits required for the degree.
The Ph.D. student may meet the residence requirement by completing 8 or more graduate credits in each of two consecutive semesters, exclusive of summer sessions, or by completing at least 6 graduate credits in each of three consecutive semesters, exclusive of summer sessions.
Doctoral Preliminary Examination
The student must pass a doctoral preliminary examination to qualify for formal admission to candidacy for the degree.
The candidate, working under the supervision of the major professor and the candidate's dissertation committee, must write a dissertation which demonstrates ability to formulate a research topic and pursue original investigation.
The candidate must, as a final step toward the degree, pass an oral examination in defense of the dissertation.
All degree requirements must be completed within ten years from the date of initial enrollment in the doctoral program.
For additional information on the Ph.D., see the Graduate School Doctoral Requirements page.
Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.
- 450 Urban Growth and Development: A Global View. 3 cr. U/G.
- Urban growth and development from an international perspective. Prereq: jr st or cons instr.
- 497 Study Abroad: (Subtitled). 1-12 cr. U/G.
- Designed to enroll students in UWM sponsored program before course work level, content, and credits are determined and/or in specially-prepared program course work. Prereq: jr st; acceptance for Study Abroad Prog, contact CIE Overseas Programs, PER 166, 229-5182.
- 601 Fundamentals of Urban Planning. 3 cr. U/G.
- Introduction to city and metropolitan planning. Includes the historical background, philosophy, theory, process, techniques, procedures, tools, and administration of planning. Prereq: sr st.
- 607 Aging and Public Policy. 3 cr. U/G.
- The politics of aging policy, the substance and shift in major aging legislation, the 'graying' of the federal budget and its consequences for aging policy. Prereq: jr st; college-level course in Econ, Sociol, Pol Sci, or Urb Std recom.
- 625 Law and Urban Poverty. 3 cr. U/G.
- Examination of the relationship between law and poverty, with emphasis upon federal legislative attempts in specific problem areas to alleviate the condition of poverty. Prereq: jr st; cons instr.
- 639 Health Care and Public Policy in the United States. 3 cr. U/G.
- Health care policies in the United States. Prereq: jr st or cons instr.
- 704 Seminar in Nonprofit Organizations. 3 cr. G.
- Overview of structure, functions, and governance of nonprofit organizations. Comparison with government and for-profit organizations. Nonprof 704, Pol Sci 704, Sociol 704, & Urb Std 704 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 720 Theory and Method in Local Economic Development. 3 cr. G.
- Major economic concepts and methods relevant to the analysis of public sector economic development policy. Emphasis on spatial markets and local public finance. Prereq: grad st.
- 726 Advanced Methods of Urban Community Development. 3 cr. G.
- Evaluation of model cities, community health, community corporations, decentralized government. Practice issues: program design, federal policy, consulting, training, participation, decision making process, economic feasibility. Future models. Prereq: grad st & cons instr.
- 741 Introduction to Metropolitan Development. 3 cr. G.
- Preview to metropolitan development from an analytical viewpoint. Emphasis on the quantitative tools and conceptual framework necessary to interpret phenomena in a metropolitan area. Prereq: grad st.
- 770 The Law and the American City. 3 cr. G.
- Legal environment of american cities; powers of municipal corporations; relations of municipalities to state and federal governments as controlled by constitutions, statutes, and judicial decisions; special government units; local authorities and bill of rights limitations. Prereq: grad st.
- 840 Community Health Planning. 3 cr. G.
- Examination of processes of planning for delivery of integrated systems of health services to the urban community. Social, economic, political and organization factors are discussed and interrelated. Prereq: grad st.
- 841 Health Policy in Urban Society. 3 cr. G.
- Emerging health policy in modern society. Emphasis on the uncertainty of goals, contending interest, and the urban context. Prereq: grad st.
- 888 Candidate for Degree. 0 cr. G.
- Available for master's students who must meet minimum credit load requirement. Fee for 1 cr assessed. Prereq: grad st.
- 890 Urban Social Institutions Institute: 3 cr. G.
- Interdisciplinary study of selected urban and metropolitan problems. Focuses on the analysis of forces shaping the metropolitan milieu. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st or cons UrbInst coord.
- 901 Seminar: Urban Social Structure. 3 cr. G.
- Comprehensive analysis of the emergence and institutionalization of cultural and social patterns in urban settings; and future American urban social structures. Sociol 901 & Urb Std 901 are jointly-offered & count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 913 Seminar in Urban Political Process. 3 cr. G.
- Analysis of the forces and processes that shape urban political life, with particular emphasis on patterns of government, political culture, power structures, and civic participation in urban and metropolitan communities. Pol Sci 913 & Urb Std 913 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 921 Seminar: Research Methods in Urban Studies. 3 cr. G.
- Methodological orientations and techniques in urban studies: philosophy of science, conceptualization measurements, research designs, data collection, data analysis. Prereq: grad st.
- 927 Urban Internship. 2-3 cr. G.
- Advanced application and analysis of theory and acquired skills in supervised agency assignment. Retakable to 6 cr max. Prereq: grad st.
- 932 Labor, Leisure, and the American City. 3 cr. G.
- Interdisciplinary seminar organized to focus on urban policies and programs pertaining to the urban labor force and the quality of life. Prereq: grad st.
- 939 Urban Lifestyle and Holistic Health Care. 3 cr. G.
- Examines the implications of urban life style for health promotion and protection with special emphasis on developing appropriate health maintenance modalities. Prereq: Urb Std 639(P) or 841(P).
- 945 The Internal Structure of the City. 3 cr. G.
- The interaction of forces responsible for the evolution of the city as a spatial form and the allocation of economic and social activity within the spatial configuration. Geog 945 & Urb Std 945 are jointly-offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 965 Municipal Management. 3 cr. G.
- The political, social, and economic contexts in which the urban manager functions, with an emphasis on managing municipal service delivery and resources. Pub Adm 965(Pol Sci 965) & Urb Std 965 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 971 Seminar on the History of American Urban Problems. 3 cr. G.
- Historical analysis of the current problems of housing, race relations, the powers and functions of municipal government, law enforcement, and city planning in the United States. Hist 971 & Urb Std 971 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 979 Qualitative Research Methods. 3 cr. G.
- Seminar on logic, design, and presentation of social science research. Inductive and qualitative methods, theory construction, and ethics and procedures of research in natural settings. Sociol 979 & Urb Std 979 are jointly-offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 980 Growth of Urban Society. 3 cr. G.
- Seminar in historical, social, and ecological growth and development of urban agglomerations. Comparative framework will be used to examine the urban process. Hist 980 & Urb Std 980 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st.
- 981 Argument in Urban Studies Scholarship. 3 cr. G.
- Reading, recapitulating, critiquing, and writing urban-focused social science argument. Prereq: grad st.
- 982 Advanced Quantitative Analysis. 3 cr. G.
- Evaluation of different methods of generating data and their applications to the analysis of public policies and programs. Sociol 982 & Urb Std 982 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st; min. score of 85 on dept diagnostic exam.
- 983 Contemporary Urban Social Structure and Change. 3 cr. G.
- Range of research issues conceptualized in terms of major categorical and more intentional social structures that bear on urban social actions. Prereq: grad st.
- 984 Research Design for Urban Studies. 3 cr. G.
- Structural research problem in which doctoral students can master research techniques needed in pursuing dissertation and later in career research. Prereq: grad st.
- 987 Urban Social Control. 3 cr. G.
- Graduate seminar introducing concepts of social control, pervasiveness of social control, and how social control is maintained in urban environments. Prereq: grad st.
- 988 Seminar in Urban Social Institutions: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
- Historical and sociological forces shaping selected urban issues and social institutions. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st.
- 990 Master's Research or Thesis. 1-3 cr. G.
- Research or thesis work for students in the master's program in Urban Studies. Prereq: grad st.
- 991 Doctoral Research or Dissertation. 1-6 cr. G.
- Research or dissertation work for students in the doctoral program in Urban Studies. Retakable. Prereq: grad st.
- 998 Independent Study for Master's Students. 1-3 cr. G.
- Independent study in a subject area of special need or interest after consultation with a faculty member. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st.
- 999 Independent Study for Doctoral Students. 1-3 cr. G.
- Independent study in a subject area of special need or interest after consultation with a faculty member. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st.