Programme Description

Urban Studies is an multi-disciplinary field of study that offers students an in-depth understanding of cities, the processes that give rise to them, and their social and environmental consequences.

Urbanisation is of a scale and pace never before seen in human history and so to understand society today it is necessary to ask urban questions. If you are a student who is curious about the city, enthralled by its architecture, energised by its culture, troubled by its social injustices, worried about its environmental harms, or enthusiastic about its economic and creative potentials, you will find a unique liberal arts opportunity in the Urban Studies major.

The Urban Studies major draws on the insights and approaches of a range of disciplines, including sociology, geography and environmental science, architecture and planning, political science, anthropology, economics and history. The programme takes full advantage of our location and offers field-based learning opportunities in Singapore and other parts of Asia.

Students may choose modules that offer breadth, or construct a pathway with social science, humanities or environmental emphasis.

Students completing the Urban Studies major will:

  • Understand processes of urbanisation from a range of perspectives (social, political, economic, cultural & environmental)
  • Be familiar with key theoretical frameworks for explaining and analysing urbanisation and urban society
  • Become familiar with a number of cities and urban forms – past and present, developed and less developed, planned and unplanned
  • Learn about urban policy and planning frameworks
  • Develop skills in spatial reasoning, including GIS and related modes of data gathering, analysis and visualisation
  • Gain practical experience through field-based, experiential learning
  • Acquire research and critical thinking skills that are transferable to a range of scholarly, social, policy and community contexts

Students who major in Urban Studies may go on to pursue careers in the private and corporate sector, civil service, not-for-profit sector, and education sector. Urban Studies is well suited to those with interests in public policy, social work, international and community development, planning and architecture, heritage and tourism, consulting and marketing, real estate and infrastructure management.

Urban Studies students are well-prepared for graduate school programmes, both academic and professional. They are prepared for disciplinary-defined, higher degree programmes in anthropology, sociology, development studies, human geography, environmental studies and urban studies. They are also prepared for professional higher degree programmes in architecture, planning, international development, social work, community development and public policy.

Structure of the Major

The Urban Studies major is comprised of nine 5MC modules (45 MC) and a capstone, equivalent to 10 modular credits (MC). To major in Urban Studies, a student must complete:

  1. YSS2220 Adelaide to Zhuhai: Cities in a Comparative Perspective (ordinarily taken in Year 1 or 2)
  2. YSS3222 Urban Theory (ordinarily taken in Year 2 or Year 3, and preferably before Year 4)
  3. At least one methods (spatial reasoning) module from the list below:
    • YSS3273 Geospatial & Demographic Methods in Urban and Social Studies
    • YSS3235 Urban Spatial Analysis and Representation
    • Or, a spatial reasoning equivalent module approved by the Head of Study
  4. YSS3231 Methods in the Social Sciences (ordinarily taken in Year 3), or an alternative cross-listed methods module approved by the Head of Study
  5. Up to five Urban Studies topical electives, at least one of which should be an advanced 4000-level module
  6. 1 year-long capstone project (taken in Year 4)

Modules taken for a major cannot be double counted towards a minor. At least 20 MC must be taken at Yale-NUS (excluding Capstone Project module).

Please discuss your module choices with your Advisor or Head of Study.

Urban Studies Minor

To minor in a Yale-NUS major, a student must complete 25 MC or 5 modules,

For the cohorts admitted AY2018/2019 (Class of 2022) and after, this includes:

  1. YSS2220 Adelaide to Zhuhai: Cities in a Comparative Perspective
  2. 4 additional Urban Studies modules

For the cohort admitted AY2017/2018 (Class of 2021) and before, this includes:

  1. YSS2220 Adelaide to Zhuhai: Cities in a Comparative Perspective
  2. YSS3222 Urban Theory
  3. 3 additional Urban Studies modules

At least 12 MC must be taken at Yale-NUS. Exceptions may be granted in advance by the Head of Studies or Faculty Advisor to the independent minor in which more than 12 MC are earned through external modules. Unless under exceptional circumstances, all minor modules must have a letter grade