Study Abroad

Students in Urban Studies have the opportunity to study abroad in some of the world’s most exciting and innovative cities. In collaboration with CIPE, the Urban Studies faculty help students apply for exchanges to urban studies programs at other elite institutions.  

Why should I study abroad as an Urban Studies major/pre-major?

  • To enhance your learning by taking courses that can count towards the requirements of your Urban Studies major, but which are not offered here at Yale-NUS. For example, you might like to go somewhere that allows you to engage more deeply in an approach within urban studies such as architectural history or public policy
  • To give you the experience of living and studying in another city, and to travel to and learn about other urban contexts
  • To extend and enhance your foreign language skills

Do all the courses I take on study abroad need to be in the area of urban studies?

  • No. You can take courses related to your Urban Studies major, but you are also encouraged to take other courses that interest you or that complement your major, especially if those courses are not available at Yale-NUS
  • If you do want to take courses that have content relevant to urban studies then those courses may count towards the requirements in your major. It is your Head of Study who decides if a course taken on study abroad counts towards the major. So speak to your Head of Study about your course choices before you make them
  • Remember, while it is good to pick up some urban studies courses while on study abroad, you want to still enjoy the full experience of being a Yale-NUS Urban Studies major. In any case, regulations require that at least 20MCs in the major is completed at Yale-NUS

When is the best time to go on study abroad as an Urban Studies major/pre-major?

The best times to go on study abroad as an Urban Studies major are:

  • Semester 2 of your sophomore year (S2, Y2), which would mean you would take Urban Theory and Urban Spatial Reasoning in your junior year
  • Semester 1 of your junior year (S1, Y3), unless you have already completed Urban Theory in your sophomore year, in which case you can go on study abroad in Semester 1 or 2 of Junior Year.

How can my Head of Study and Advisor help?

  • They may have experience of specific places so can give you a more nuanced understanding of the opportunity
  • They can write letters of support for your applications

Which Yale-NUS study abroad partner institutions are recommended for Urban Studies Majors and why?

Amherst College

Location: this is not an urban location so if that is what you are looking for then this might not be for you

Related Programs: Architectural Studies programme at Amherst emphasizes not the techniques of architecture, but rather the ideas behind it, so good if you like an architectural focus without a design requirement

Offerings: Amherst students can access the “Five Colleges” programmes, which includes Smith College which has a minor in Urban Studies


Sciences Po (English language)

Location: It is Paris!

Related Programs: No specialist urban studies program but many urban, development, sociology, political science and public policy courses

Offerings: Good range of courses (from geography, politics, sociology) that might count towards topical requirements of Urban Studies major



Location: Small town College experience in Pennsylvania.

Related programs: Swathmore has no Urban Studies program, but  has a number of urban themed courses. Bryn Mawr College is linked to Swathmore in the Tri-College system and that has Growth and Structure of Cities program.

Offerings: Many urban courses offered at both Swathmore and Bryn Mawr.


Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Spanish speakers only)

Location: Santiago, Chile.

Related programs: Minor in Urban and Regional Studies, run by the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies. Good if you have an interest in development and Global South contexts.

Offerings: There are a good range of courses from development focus through to more urban design focus.


University College London Arts & Sciences

Location: Central London, Bloomsbury

Related programs: This is a specialist liberal arts program and you are expected to take two courses in the Liberal Arts program, and two courses from anywhere else in UCL, including the Bartlett School of Architecture and Urban Planning as well as Geography.

Offerings: The Liberal Arts program offers a number of interdisciplinary courses, which includes courses with urban content. There are many urban courses linked to the various urban related majors. You can find out about them through the UCL Urban Laboratory portal. The UCL Urban Lab also hosts many speaker series which you can attend. urban, planning and architecture programmes in Bartlett School (Planning and Architecture) and Geography


University of Virginia

Location: Small city of Charlottesville, so not that much of an urban experience if that is what you are looking for.

Related programs: The School of Architecture runs a range of programs including Urban and Environmental Planning, and Architectural Studies, which is non-design based.  School of Public Policy and Sociology programme also offers urban related courses. The institution has an excellent reputation for architectural and urban planning programs.

Offerings: There is a wide range of offerings, including specialist historical preservation courses.


Vassar College

Location: Located in small town Poughkeepsie, but this is a shortih railway rise north of New York, so you get a small town, college feel with access to NYC.

Related programs:  Has a defined Urban Studies programme with lots of recognizable courses, and good interdisciplinary scope, this includes an Urban Theory course.

Courses: Introduction to Urban Studies and urban Theory courses can count as required courses, although we do not recommend both taken at Vassar.


Yale University

Location:  New Haven has had some key urban texts written about it and sports some architecturally famous buildings in part because of Yale Architecture School.

Program: Yale has an Urban Studies minor, with strengths in community development and architecture. The minor is headed by Prof Elihu Ruben, who has taught at Yale-NUS

What petition opportunities that would suit Yale-NUS Urban Studies students?

Columbia University & Barnard College

Location: NYC

Program: strong urban and architectural programs, at both Columbia and Barnard

Courses: Many courses but access to them can be very competitive and past students did not always get courses of choice.

In the start up phase of Yale-NUS a number of students pursued this option.


Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, small city in state of New York.

Program: There is an specific non professional, interdisciplinary, liberal arts undergraduate Urban and Regional Studies program offered through the Department of City and Regional Planning.

Courses: Many great courses to choose from.


Manchester University

Location: Manchester UK

Program: Strong in urban studies (home of the Manchester Urban Institute and affiliated centres), and at undergraduate level has Bachelors in Urban and Regional Planning, as well as Geography, Development Studies and Architecture.

Courses: Many courses in urban area.

In the start up phase of Yale-NUS a number of students pursued this option.


Chinese University of Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong!

Program: CUHK has a major and minor in Urban Studies.

Courses: Many of the courses map onto those offered in Urban Studies at Yale-NUS.


Hong Kong University

Location: Hong Kong!

Program:  The long-standing Department of Urban Planning and Design  is not offering a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies

Courses: These are likely a little more professional in emphasis.



Location: Cambridge Mass. USA (Boston metropolitan area)

Program: Minors in public policy, urban studies, as well as development are offered out of the Dept Urban Studies and Planning.

Courses:  Many to select from and planning & public policy strengths.



Location: New York

Program: The Metropolitan Studies program is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program run out of the School of Social and Cultural Analysis.

Courses: There is a wide range of courses, with a strong social science emphasis.


Stanford University

Location: Silicon Valley, California (south of San Francisco)

Program: Has an identified undergraduate Urban Studies program which is interdisciplinary and combines academic approaches with real world experiences.

Courses: Good range many of which map on to Yale-NUS offerings.


University of Sheffield

Location: City of Sheffield, UK.

Program: It has a Bachelor of Arts in urban Studies. This is an interdisciplinary program. Sheffield is well known for its planning school, which has a strong social science emphasis.

Courses: Many offerings to choose from.

Reuban SuClass of 2017

IES Abroad Barcelona

My study abroad experience in Barcelona was not just about, shopping , siestas and sangrias – it was a chance to be immersed in another culture and way of life. Through the professors and my incredible host mom, I came to see the cosmopolitan city through its history, politics and awe-inspiring architecture – I can certainly say that Gaudi certainly did not disappoint. Anyhow, the highlights of my experience were: learning way too much about the Barcelona model, eating excessive amounts of patatas and making a pilgrimage to the Guggenheim Bilbao. For now, I am content slowly picking up some Catalan whilst waiting for the Sagrada Familia to be completed!

Elson OngClass of 2017

University College Utrecht

I had a really enjoyable semester at UCU where I was fully immersed in a Dutch environment that allowed me to learn a lot about Dutch culture. I also travelled to many cities within Europe, which provided me with a better understanding of the history and culture of these places. As an Urban Studies major, the Netherlands was a perfect destination for my semester abroad because I wanted to understand what factors contributed towards their successful biking culture and whether there are points of reference that can be applied to Singapore. My one sentence summary of my findings: Biking is not only a means of transport, but a lifestyle for the Dutch!