FAQs

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?

For Class of 2019 onwards, students completing the Urban Studies major will take nine courses (54-55 MC equivalent) including a final-year capstone project, which is the equivalent of 10 MC. Four of the nine courses are required courses, as specified below. The remaining five courses comprise topical course electives, at least one of which should be at the 4000 level.

Required Courses

  • Introduction To Urban Studies  (ordinarily taken in Year 2)
  • Urban Theory  (ordinarily taken in Year 2 or Year 3, and preferably before Year 4)

Two Methods Courses (ordinarily taken in Year 2 or Year 3, prior to the capstone), one of which must be:

  • Urban Spatial Reasoning And Representation
  • One of the following methods courses, or one approved by the Head of Studies:
    • Methods In The Social Sciences
    • Ethnography
    • The Historian’s Craft
    • Econometrics
    • Documentary Photography
    • Drawing Methods

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.