1. Why should I choose to major in Urban Studies?

The Major in Urban Studies is for those students who are interested in cities and processes of urbanisation. Cities are not just amazing forms of human settlement, they are centres of human creativity and economic growth. Furthermore, ever-greater proportions of the world’s population live in cities. We live in an urban age. But cities and processes of urbanisation also give rise to many challenges, be they social, environmental or technical. Students who complete a Major in Urban Studies will understand the complexity of cities and the challenges of urbanisation in a range of settings and periods. They will be equipped to inquire into and understand these processes from a range of perspectives—including economic, political, social and cultural. Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry, meaning that it draws knowledge from a range of disciplines. At Yale-NUS the majority of courses in the Urban Studies major are delivered out of the Division of Social Science or the Division of Humanities.

2. What can I do with an Urban Studies Major?

Many things! Urban Studies majors end up everywhere: in the corporate sector, the civil service, the academy, and in not-for-profit organisations. They work as researchers, policy makers, advocates, developers, and much more. Students who complete majors in Urban Studies are well prepared for graduate school, both in terms of academic and professional programmes. Academic programmes you would be well prepared for include: anthropology, sociology, development studies, human geography and environmental studies and, of course, urban studies. Professional programmes you would be well prepared for include: architecture, planning, social work, community development, and public policy.

3. Is Urban Studies a professional programme?

Urban Studies is not a professional programme as, say, architecture or planning are. Being a liberal arts Major, its primary goal is to offer students a wide ranging but in-depth grasp of key issues in and the traditions of Urban Studies. However, it is an undergraduate programme that can equip you well if you choose to enter into a professional programme relevant to urban questions after graduation.

4. Can I go on to graduate school after a major in Urban Studies?

If your grades are good enough this programme will prepare you for a range of graduate programmes, both professional (architecture, planning, community development, social work) and academic (e.g. anthropology, sociology, geography, history).

5. What do I have to do for an Urban Studies Major?

All students completing the Urban Studies Major will take eight courses (40 MC equivalent) and a final-year Capstone Project, which is the equivalent of 10 MC.

Students in the urban Studies Major are required to complete:

  • The gateway course Introduction to Urban Studies;
  • The theory course, Understanding Urbanization;
  • At least one approved methods course;
  • At least three survey/topical courses;
  • The Capstone Project: Urban Studio

The remaining courses can be selected from any offering listed as contributing to the Urban Studies major, or courses approved by your Head of Study.

6. What if I have done Divided Cities already, could that act as my gateway course?

  • No, but it can be included as one of the topical/survey courses you complete in the major.