Urban Studies

The Urban Studies Minor, a set of courses focusing on the life and significance of cities, provides students with a sound preparation for future careers in those government agencies, private sector firms, and non-profit organizations that address the issues and challenges of urban development, planning, and social service delivery in both the developed and developing world. Since it was established in the 1970s, Wheaton’s urban studies minor has entailed an interdisciplinary collaboration between the EconomicsPolitical ScienceSociology and – more recently — the Anthropology and Psychology departments. The minor was revised in 2013, to update its content, and to make it more focused on particular sets of skills, while also encouraging students to explore the many different ways in which urban life and culture is studied by a variety of disciplines.

First, the minor requires all students to establish a firm foundation in the study of urban economics because of the central importance of economic processes and issues in the development — and regulation — of social and cultural relationships in urban life.

Second, students will be expected to explore how one of the social sciences has examined the structures and processes of urban life. Currently, three departments – other than economics — offer such courses: Anthropology, Political Science and Sociology. Other departments may do so in the future.

Third, the urban studies minor requires students to take a course in social science research methods, as they are currently offered either in Political Science, Sociology, or Anthropology

Fourth, students will be required to take a course in experiential learning that involves either an agency placement or conducting fieldwork in an urban setting. Currently, both Sociology and Psychology offer alternate ways of satisfying this requirement.

Finally, students will be required to take an elective from a selection of courses in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities that explore various aspects of urban policy, research methodology, and the social life, culture, design, and environment of cities. These courses must either have a primary focus on urban life, or involve an issue orientation or methodology with a clear and substantial application to the study of contemporary urban affairs.

Minor requirements

Urban Studies minor worksheet

The minor consists of five courses:
ECON 252 Urban Economics

One of the following courses in Research Methods
ANTH 302 Research Methods
POLS 200 Modern Political Inquiry: An Introduction to Research Methods
SOC 302 Research Methods in Sociology

One of the following courses in the Social Science of Urban Life
ANTH 240 Urban Anthropology
POLS 201 Contemporary Urban Politics
SOC 255 Living in Cities: Urban Sociology

One of the following courses in the City and its Agencies
PSY 334 Practicum in Human Services and Public Health
SOC 345 How Organizations Work: Internship

One of the following elective courses
ARTH 250 Modernism and Mass Culture in France, 1848-1914
ARTH 255 Art and Ritual of the Ancient Americas
ARTH 298 Cities of the Middle East
ARTH 330 Picturing New York
ARTH 398 Nineteenth Century Architecture
ENG 348 Sexual Politics of Film Noir
ENG 349 Harlem Renaissance and Modernity
GER 276/GER 376 Berlin: Monuments and Mayhem
Transatlantic Detective Fiction
HISP 400 Writing the City
ITAS 310 Fashion, Sex and the City

Mathematics and Natural Sciences
BIO 201 Environmental Science
COMP 198 Spatial Reasoning and GIS
PHYS 160 Geology
PHYS 227 Remote Sensing
INT 210 Water Resources Planning and Management
INT 215 Coastal Zone Management

Social Sciences
*ANTH 240 Urban Anthropology
*POLS 201 Contemporary Urban Politics
*SOC 255 Living in Cities: Urban Sociology
**SOC 245 How Organizations Work
SOC 262 Mapping Society: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
SOC 270 Immigration
SOC 315 Society, Technology and the Environment

* Only if not satisfying another requirement for the minor
** Only if not using Sociology 345 to satisfy experiential learning requirement

For more information contact Russell Williams, coordinator

Jeffrey Walker

Visiting Instructor of Urban Studies

Russell Williams

Associate Professor of Economics; Chair, Department of Economics