Urban Studies

The Urban Studies program at Woodbury University offers a minor as well as an individually tailored major degree program through Interdisciplinary Studies. It helps prepare students to engage with the enormous challenges that global urban development brings to contemporary life. According to the United Nations, an estimated 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2030, that estimate is expected to rise to 60%. Through a diverse array of courses, students obtain the critical and analytical skills needed to interpret and respond to these changing urban conditions, both in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and across the globe.

The Mission of the Urban Studies program is to create a transformative educational program devoted to both the theory and practice of Urban Studies.

The Learning Outcomes of the Urban Studies program express the kinds of things (abilities, knowledges, and values) that students can expect to be taught and to learn in the Urban Studies program and its courses:

  1. Identify the significance of major themes in urban history
  2. Identify the significance of issues shaping contemporary urban circumstance
  3. Recognize clearly and respond effectively to environmental issues
  4. Recognize clearly and respond effectively to social justice issues
  5. Recognize clearly and respond effectively to constructive urban politics
  6. Create integrated analyses of urban development
  7. Create informed connections between a student’s major and minor disciplines

Just as the issues shaping urban development migrate between disciplines, the program itself takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring urban conditions, both past and present. Course offerings include seminars in water distribution, land use and other topics in environmental studies; transportation and infrastructure; urban theory; and current issues shaping Los Angeles. Woodbury’s Urban Studies professors are both academics and practitioners, and their close connection to the profession results in exciting field trips, highly regarded guest speakers, and innovative assignments that move beyond the standard term paper.

An understanding of global urban development is necessary for students to become informed practitioners in most professional fields. At Woodbury, the Urban Studies minor is designed for students majoring in any discipline. For the minor in Urban Studies, students must take Introduction to Urban Studies, as well as at least 4 courses from the following: Urban Theory, Current Issues in Urban Studies, Urban Ecology and Los Angeles, The Infrastructural City, Environmental Urbanism, The Global Metropolis or Topics in Urban Studies.

We also offer an individually tailored major degree program through Interdisciplinary Studies based on the curriculum for the minor, as well as selected courses in architectural history and theory, politics and history, and business management. Our professors encourage students to make informed connections between topics in urban studies and the critical issues shaping their major area of study. Our students come from diverse backgrounds and we encourage conversations about students’ personal actions as inhabitants of the urban spaces they’ve occupied. Ultimately, the program seeks to prepare students to become citizens actively engaged in the ethical issues shaping the development of environmentally sustainable, politically constructive, and socially just urban places.

For further information about the Urban Studies program, contact Dr. Emily Bills, Coordinator, at emily.bills@woodbury.edu