Published August 2016
As populations in cities continue to increase, the demand for professionals who understand the complexities of urban environments will grow. To keep up with this demand, colleges and universities across the United States are pooling their resources to create urban studies programs that attract the most promising students. This means that students interested in studying the complex social, political, and cultural issues facing cities have many choices when it comes to selecting the right school for urban studies. To help narrow down the options, we’ve researched hundreds of schools with urban studies departments in order to present those that offer the most valuable learning opportunities and career preparation.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
Graduate Degree Opportunities in Urban Studies
• Presence of Master’s Degree Program – 1 point
• Presence of Doctoral Degree Program – 1 point
Awards and Recognition (Related to Urban Studies)
• National Level – 2 points
• Regional Level – 1 point
20-Year Net ROI
• Above 600,000 – 5 points
• Above 500,000 – 4 points
• Above 400,000 – 3 points
• Above 300,000 –2 points
• Above 200,000 – 1 point
Urban Studies Research Opportunities – 1 point
Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Urban Studies – 1 point
Study Abroad Opportunities in Urban Studies – 1 point
Urban Studies Internship Opportunities – 1 point
Urban Studies Scholarship Opportunities – 1 point
Affiliated Centers and Institutes on Campus – 1 point
Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
Great Value Colleges for Urban Studies
To compile the following list, we searched College Navigator for colleges and universities offering a minimum of a four-year degree in urban studies. From there, we visited the websites of these nearly 200 schools to find out exactly what they offer students in terms of academic opportunities. We also consulted PayScale to determine the 20-year ROI for each school. Having identified the best value schools for this particular field of study, we applied the rating and ranking methodology above to create the following list. In cases where two or more schools received the same number of points, we considered the net price of each school and listed the most affordable school first.
#50 – Wheaton College
Net Price: $25,258
Wheaton College offers both a major and a minor in urban studies as well as the opportunity to double major in urban studies and one of many related disciplines. One of the key features of Wheaton’s urban studies program is Wheaton in Chicago, a semester-long experiential learning opportunity in which students are challenged to live and study in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood while completing meaningful internships. Majors take core classes such as The Social Life of Cities and Urban Sociology, research design classes such as Political Research, research method courses such as Ethnographic Theory and Method as well as interdisciplinary electives such as Community Art and Race and the Politics of Welfare.
#49 – Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, New York
Net Price: $19,661
Vassar College offers an interdisciplinary Urban Studies Program that incorporates courses from a wide variety of subject areas such as economics, geography, art and architecture, education, political science, and more. Students pursuing a major in urban studies must complete two introductory courses before advancing to more in-depth classes such as Urban and Regional Economics, Gender and Social Space, and Social Citizenship in an Urban Age. Those who wish to graduate with program honors must complete a senior thesis or project in Urban Studies.
#48 – University of Michigan – Dearborn
Net Price: $12,347
The University of Michigan–Dearborn’s Urban and Regional Studies program is an interdisciplinary program that encourages students to apply knowledge from traditional disciplines to challenges faced by major metropolitan areas. Students also have ample opportunities for hands on experience through co-ops, internships, community-based research, and service learning. Areas of specialization include Community Development and Urban and Regional Policy. Students who complete this program are equipped with the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to find employment and effect positive change in their region.
#47 – Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, Missouri
Net Price: $33,812
Saint Louis University offers a Master of Science in Urban Planning and Development through its Center for Sustainability. The program is an interdisciplinary one, partnering with SLU’s John Cook School of Business, School of Law, and School of Social Work. These partnerships enable the university to offer urban studies students four different areas of specialization: Real Estate Development; Community Development; Economic Development; and Environmental/Sustainability Planning. The Center has a heavy research focus with students and faculty members having participated in nearly $2 million in funded research projects.
#46 – Trinity College
Net Price: $25,120
Trinity College offers a major in urban studies as well as an interdisciplinary minor. In order to fulfill the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, urban studies students must complete 12 courses in three different disciplines, including classes such as Sustainable Urban Development, Community Development Strategies, and Organizing by Neighborhood. Along with a strong interdisciplinary focus, Trinity College emphasizes student research, community-based learning projects, and a comparative approach to urban studies. Students take advantage of the rich community of Hartford while seizing opportunities to observe other urban environments both in the United States and abroad.
#45 – Elmhurst College
Net Price: $21,826
Elmhurst College is located just 16 miles from downtown Chicago, which it considers a living classroom for its urban studies students. As one of the oldest urban studies programs in the country, Elmhurst’s Department of Urban Studies has a long history of preparing graduates for work as city planners, regional managers, public administrators, and related urban professions. The department offers both a major and a minor in urban studies, and all students participate in hands-on activities and experiential learning opportunities. Special opportunities include study-abroad experiences, internships, and political campaigns.
#44 – Barnard College
New York, New York
Net Price: $21,791
Urban Studies majors at Barnard College enjoy a rigorous program that integrates concepts and techniques from other disciplines. Students can choose from several available concentrations, such as History, Economics, Anthropology, and Architecture. During their junior year, students take the special Junior Colloquia, a two-seminar program that covers the history of the modern American city and contemporary urban issues. Students may choose to spend their junior year abroad and make up these colloquia during their senior year. Students also have the opportunity to participate in internships and research, especially during their senior year when they take a year-long Senior Seminar and develop a capstone project that features their original research.
#43 – University of Connecticut
Net Price: $19,049
The University of Connecticut offers an Urban and Community Studies major from the school’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This interdisciplinary major is comprised of three parts: core courses designed to give students a broad understanding of urban environments; classes in analytical techniques such as survey research, archival research, and statistical analysis; and electives chosen from specialty areas in urban studies. The curriculum is a flexible one, allowing students to choose an emphasis area such as urban and regional planning or public policy. All Urban and Community Studies majors are encouraged to participate in an internship during their senior year.
#42 – Augsburg College
Net Price: $18,460
Augsburg College offers an undergraduate minor and major in urban studies that emphasize real-world experiences in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Students enroll in required courses such as City and Regional Planning; The Designed Environment; Race, Class, and Gender; and Disaster Resilience as well as elective courses from departments such as art history, political science, economics, and sociology. Off-campus and study-abroad courses are highly encouraged through the school’s Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs as well as the Augsburg Abroad program.
#41 – University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
Net Price: $14,833
The University of Maryland offers a Master’s degree program in Urban Studies and Planning in its School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The 48-credit hour program can be completed in just two years by full-time students, but working students may opt to attend classes part-time. One of the most attractive features of the program is its location near the nation’s capital, the state capital of Annapolis, and the bustling metropolis of Baltimore. This locale enables students to observe a variety of rich urban environments and complete internships in state and local government, private consulting firms, and community-based organizations. Planetizen recently recognized the program as one of the top planning programs in the U.S.
#40 – State University of New York at Albany
Albany, New York
Net Price: $14,415
The State University of New York offers a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning as well as a Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy through its Department of Geography and Planning. The school provides a robust curriculum in urban studies that combines traditional instruction, experiential learning through field experiences, and computer-based learning. Urban studies graduates are well-prepared to enter a number of different fields including local and state government, real estate, city and regional planning, and community development. The school is also able to offer students a global perspective as faculty members maintain strong international connections with China, Russia, and Australia as well as with many countries in Western Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
#39 – Trinity University
San Antonio, Texas
Net Price: $27,851
Trinity University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with concentrations in four specific areas of study: urban design; urban environment; urban issues and policy; and urban management. Students pursuing a degree in any one of these concentrations must complete a methods class, an internship, and a senior research seminar. Trinity maintains strong connections with public and private organizations across San Antonio, giving students the opportunity to secure valuable internships with contractors such as Southwest Exteriors, local government agencies such as the metro health department, and non-profits such as the San Antonio AIDs foundation. Urban studies students also contribute to several community-based research projects during their time at Trinity.
#38 – University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus
Net Price: $23,489
The urban studies program at the University of Pittsburgh enrolls only 55-60 students at a time, ensuring that students benefit from an intimate community of learners, despite the large size of the university itself. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach, and many urban studies majors double major in either sociology or political science. Students are given the choice to pursue one of four concentrations: Community Organization; Comparative International Urbanism; Urban Policy and Administration; and Urban Planning. The school also encourages international study; Pitt students have explored urban studies on every continent except Antarctica.
#37 – University of Missouri – Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Net Price: $18,904
The undergraduate degree program at the University of Missouri- Kansas City is the only one of its kind in the Kansas City metropolitan region. While studying this rich urban environment, enrolled students can elect to pursue one of three areas of emphasis: community development and housing; community organization and social services; and urban policy. The bachelor’s degree program is offered through the school’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design and is closely affiliated with UMKC’s Bloch School of Management.
#36 – Worcester State University
Net Price: $13,454
Worcester State University offers a minor and a major in urban studies that introduces students to important course topics such as American Metropolitan Evolution, Human Needs and Social Policy, and Cities and Suburbs. Depending upon their individual interests and career goals, urban studies majors can specialize in one of two concentrations: Public Administration and Planning; or Social Work and Social Policy. Students may also choose to pursue a combined BS in Urban Studies/Masters in Non-Profit Management, a program which can be completed in just five years.
#35 – San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California
Net Price: $9,356
San Francisco State University offers a BA degree in Urban Studies and Planning as well as a minor in Urban Studies and Planning through its College of Health and Social Sciences. Graduates of the program may enter entry-level positions in urban planning or go on to complete graduate programs in urban studies. Graduates are routinely accepted into prestigious schools such as Cornell, UCLA, NYU, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and others. Students may apply to the Willie. L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program, which allows them to intern 2 days a week at the highest levels of San Francisco city government.
#34 – California State University- Northridge
Net Price: $7,654
California State University–Northridge’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning offers a program that focuses on the issues caused by the complexities of urban life. This program is designed to prepare students for work in both the public and private sector or graduate study in a similar field. CSUN offers four specializations in Urban Studies and Planning, including a customized specialization. Students have the opportunity to complete internships at businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. They are also encouraged to study abroad at one of CSU’s International Study Centers.
#33 – The New School
New York, New York
Net Price: $42,505
The New School offers its Urban Studies majors several unique opportunities for experiential learning through its study abroad programs, fellowships, and internships. Many of these opportunities are available due to the school’s location in New York City, which offers students many academic, social, and cultural resources off campus. It also is flexible, allowing students to take a self-designed major and develop individual paths in several areas. This program is great both for students who plan to seek employment after graduation and those who plan to enter a graduate program.
#32 – University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
Net Price: $32,867
The University of San Francisco offers an interdisciplinary BA degree program in its College of Arts and Sciences. The curriculum is divided into four program areas: Urban Sociology and Political Economy; Urban Histories, Theories, and Methods; Urban Planning and the Built Environment; and Urban Culture and Representation. To complete this 44-credit hour program, students take an introductory course, one course from each of the program areas, and four elective courses as well as complete a capstone seminar and an internship in the Bay area.
#31 – Northwestern University
Net Price: $28,677
Northwestern University’s unique urban studies program invites students majoring in other subjects such as history, anthropology, political science, and economics to add a second major in urban studies. In doing so, the university creates a rich, collaborative environment in which students and professors from a variety of disciplines study cities, the problems they face, and their impact on important global issues. To complete an adjunct major in urban studies, students must complete the requirements of their primary major and take seven urban-relevant courses such as Third World Urbanization, Transportation Economics and Public Policy, and Power and Culture in American Cities.
#30 – New York Institute of Technology
Old Westbury, New York
Net Price: $24,658
The New York Institute of Technology offers a 36-credit hour graduate program in urban studies leading to a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Design. In addition to its ideal setting in midtown Manhattan, the program offers many other attractive benefits for students including the on-site Urban Climate Lab, which prepares students to tackle the pressing issue of climate change in urban environments. Students also have access to study-abroad opportunities through the program’s design studio sequence and are encouraged to take on internships during the summer break prior to their final semester.
#29 – University of Texas at Austin
Net Price: $16,832
The undergraduate urban studies program at the University of Texas–Austin is interdisciplinary, combining specialized and introductory courses in urban studies with cross-listed courses from 18 different departments and 6 different schools and colleges across the university. During their senior year, UT students complete a service learning course, an internship, and an independent research project. This intensive final year prepares students for career success in local government, community planning, real estate, and more. Students who maintain an above average GPA and who complete an honors thesis are eligible to graduate with Departmental Honors in Urban Studies.
#28 – San Jose University
San Jose, California
Net Price: $10,729
Located in the largest city in Northern California, San Jose University offers a minor in urban studies, various graduate certificate programs, and a Master in Urban Planning degree. Graduate students may specialize in topics such as Applications of Technology in Planning, Community Design and Development, and Transportation and Land Use planning among others. Required introductory courses such as The City and Land Use and Urban Planning teach beginning students about contemporary urban issues and give them the skills they need to effect positive change in their future careers.
#27 – University of New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
Net Price: $8,661
The University of New Orleans offers several degree options in urban studies through its Department of Planning and Urban Studies (PLUS) including a BS in Planning and Urban Studies, an MS in Urban Studies, and a PhD in Urban Studies as well as a Master of Science in Transportation and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. Students benefit from the programs’ location in historic New Orleans as they participate in hands-on, experiential learning activities. The department’s mission is to prepare graduates to effect positive social change as they enter urban professions in local, national, and international capacities.
#26 – CUNY – Queens College
Queens, New York
Net Price: $6,728
CUNY Queen’s location in one of the most diverse counties in the country makes it an ideal place for students to probe the ever-increasing complexities of today’s urban environments. The school’s Department of Urban Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to both its undergraduate and graduate programs, including related topics in history, sociology, political science, anthropology, and more. Students may pursue a minor, major, master’s, or dual BA/MA degree in urban studies. CUNY Queens also prides itself on its unique internship opportunities that combine experiential learning experiences with community service projects.
#25 – University of Pennsylvania
Net Price: $22,694
Founded in 1970, the Urban Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania is offered through the school’s College of Art & Sciences. Courses for the urban studies major are divided into five different themes: History of Cities; Comparative and Theoretical Dimensions; The Built Environment; Urban Economics/Finance; and Public Policy/Government. In addition, the school offers an urban studies minor as well as a graduate certificate. Students in the undergraduate program who submit outstanding papers during the Urban Studies Senior Seminar will be invited to participate in the honors seminar. UPenn also has an urban studies undergraduate advisory board designed to increase interest in the program, improve the curriculum, and strengthen student-faculty relationships.
#24 – Florida State University
Net Price: $16,737
Florida State University offers an Interdisciplinary Social Science program with an emphasis in Urban Studies. While this program is not designed to give its students specific occupational training, it still gives students the solid interdisciplinary background that employers look for. This degree can be completed via either a traditional format or completely online. The Department of Urban and Regional Planning is also home to Synoptikos, the department’s graduate student organization. This organization hosts several academic and social events for students, faculty, and alumni.
#23 – University of California – San Diego
San Diego, California
Net Price: $13,693
The Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of California-San Diego offers students an undergraduate major with various concentrations to choose from, including Urban/Regional Policy Planning, Urban Design/Built Environment, and Cities in Historical and Comparative Perspectives. The program is one of the best in the nation, thanks in part to the Steering Committee, a group of alumni and community leaders who oversee its continual development. For additional support and enrichment, students can join the USP club, a student organization committed to improving social relationships among urban studies students as well as strengthening connections between faculty and students.
#22 – Minnesota State University Mankato
Net Price: $12,464
Minnesota State University–Mankato offers both an undergraduate and graduate program in urban studies through its esteemed Urban and Regional Studies Institute. Both programs are well-known throughout the state; in fact, city staff members from 90% of Minnesota cities with populations over 10,000 are alumni of the Institute. Enrichment opportunities for students include membership in the Students of Urban and Regional Studies Institute (SURSI) Club as well as the opportunity to study abroad in Ghana, West Africa. Urban Studies at Minn State Mankato takes a “learning by doing” approach, giving students ongoing opportunities for fieldwork, independent study, and community service projects.
#21 – University of North Texas
Net Price: $10,827
The University of North Texas’s Public Administration graduate programs are widely recognized as the best in the state. Courses focus on the most critical aspects of the field and are taught by faculty with relevant work experience. UNT also boasts exceptional student support, with several resources available exclusively to its graduate students. These resources include the Graduate Student Writing Support Office and assistance with statistical research. Students also have the opportunity to participate in many professional development workshops, many of which are available in a convenient online format.
#20 – Fordham University
Bronx, New York
Net Price: $35,605
Fordham University offers its students the opportunity to explore urban studies in a hands-on, liberal arts environment. Students will enjoy interdisciplinary courses that combine the study of metropolitan spaces with subjects such as philosophy, history, theology, and language. In addition to its undergraduate and graduate offerings, the school also offers an urban design and architecture concentration that provides students with a foundation for post-graduate study in areas such as landscape architecture and urban and regional planning. A wide variety of New York City internships are available as are study abroad opportunities made available through Fordham’s International and Study Abroad Program.
#19 – Temple University
Net Price: $19,435
Temple University offers several urban studies programs on both the undergraduate and graduate levels through its Department of Geography and Urban Studies. Each program is built around four distinct themes: globalization; social justice; sustainability; and geographic methods. Undergraduate students may pursue either a minor or major in Geography and Urban Studies while graduate students have the option to enter a MA or PhD track in Geography and Urban Studies. Undergraduates may choose to join the school’s chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, an honorary society for geography majors and/or the Geography and Urban Studies and Environment Undergraduate Student Association.
#18 – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Net Price: $10,936
The Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the oldest university-based research centers of its kind in the nation. All students are able to participate in both large-scale and narrowly focused research projects alongside faculty, and faculty research is integrated with classroom instruction. The center works with many nonprofit organizations and government agencies, giving students an opportunity to work with both the public and private sectors. These opportunities for real-world experience thoroughly prepare students for a variety of positions in the field.
#17 – University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Net Price: $31,189
The Urban Planning program at the University of Southern California boasts several research initiatives, centers, and groups. Many of these resources and opportunities are available due to the university’s partnerships with both the private and public sectors. Students are able to gain valuable hands-on experience, interact with leaders in the field, and take advantage of the university’s Los Angeles location. Students also learn to take an interdisciplinary and multisector approach to urban planning, giving them an edge over peers who only study one aspect of urban planning.
#16 – Manhattan College
Manhattan, New York
Net Price: $29,825
The Urban Studies Department at Manhattan College emphasizes hands-on learning. In fact, the program provides more opportunities for field work that any other program at the school. Enrolled students have the opportunity to tour New York City, closely observing its many urban spaces. In addition to core urban studies classes including Urban Environments and Power in the City, students must take 18 elective credits from various other departments to complete the major. Several meaningful internship opportunities are available, including positions at the New York City Department of Planning, Goldman Sachs, and LIFT New York.
#15 – University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Twin Cities, Minnesota
Net Price: $15,589
Located in the largest metropolitan region in the Upper Midwest, the University of Minnesota is one of the best places to pursue a degree in Urban Studies. Students have easy access to hands-on learning and enjoy direct observation of topics studied in the classroom. Both the graduate and undergraduate programs offer students an impressive amount of opportunities and resources. All students complete internships and can participate in workshops and colloquia. Students are also exposed to an interdisciplinary environment that prepares them for work in the field.
#14 – University of Delaware
Net Price: $15,407
The University of Delaware offers two graduate programs in urban studies: a MA in Urban Affairs and Policy and a PhD in Urban Affairs and Policy. Students in the master’s program may take coursework on a full-time or part-time basis. The flexible 36-credit hour program also allows students to design their own specialty with the help of an advisor or choose from existing specialties such as housing and community development, media and public policy, and nonprofits and philanthropy among others. PhD students explore advanced topics in urban studies and work closely with faculty members on intensive research in the field.
#13 – Portland State University
Net Price: $12,772
Portland State University is home to the oldest continuously operating urban studies program in the country. This program focuses on social justice and sustainability. It also boasts four research centers, interdisciplinary training, and connections to many local organizations and government agencies. Students are able to interact directly with both the public and private sector and gain valuable real-world experience. PSU offers several different urban studies degree programs to meet students’ needs, including three master’s programs, two dual degree programs, and a doctoral program.
#12 – Arizona State University
Net Price: $12,358
Arizona State University’s Urban and Metropolitan Studies program offers multiple degree programs including a BA in Urban and Metropolitan Studies, a BAS in Emergency Management, and a BS in Public Service and Public Policy. These options and the program’s interdisciplinary nature prepares students for a wide variety of occupations. ASU’s location in downtown Phoenix makes it easy for students to apply their classroom education to real-world problems through internships, as well as connect with future employers.
#11 – University of California – Irvine
Net Price: $12,072
The University of California-Irvine’s comprehensive Urban Studies department offers a minor in urban studies, a BA in Urban Studies, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, a dual graduate degree offered in conjunction with the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and a PhD in Planning, Policy, and Design. UCI students have the opportunity to join the Urban Studies Student Association, an organization which strives to provide social and academic opportunities for students interested in urban studies while giving back to the community. UCI graduates are well-prepared to enter a variety of professions including regional planner, transportation analyst, urban design expert, and more.
#10 – The University of Illinois at Chicago
Net Price: $11,567
The College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago boasts eight research centers and institutes, over 36 courses in Urban Planning and Public Administration, and a diverse student body. The Department of Urban Planning and Policy has the only accredited graduate program in the Chicago area. It is also one of the largest planning programs in the U.S. This larger size allows the department to offer specialized courses that many smaller schools cannot, such as Bicycle Planning and Historic Preservation. It also gives students the opportunity to form networks that benefit them long after graduation.
#9 – University of Washington – Seattle
Net Price: $10,374
The University of Washington was one of the first schools in the United States to develop an urban planning program. Today, the university offers an undergraduate degree in Community, Environment, and Planning; Master and PhD programs in Urban Planning, and a Master of Infrastructure Planning and Management through its Department of Urban Design and Planning. Research is a major focus for the department; faculty members are active in over a dozen research grants and contracts totaling an estimated $10 million. This research is conducted across various institutes and centers including the Institute for Hazards Mitigation and Planning Research, the Northwest Center for Livable Communities, and the Urban Form Lab.
#8 – Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Net Price: $21,193
Brown University’s Urban Studies program offers its students many opportunities and the flexibility to take full advantage of them. Students gain a wide enough knowledge of other disciplines to take a creative approach to challenges, but they are also able to pursue their specific interests or area of focus. All students in this program participate in research or fieldwork projects and master at least one research methodology. Students are also able to study abroad through the university’s International Honors Program.
#7 – Stanford University
Net Price: $17,952
Stanford University enables undergraduate students to major in urban studies while choosing one of five concentration areas: Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective; Urban Education; Urban Society and Social Change; Urban Sustainability; or a self-designed program. Students also have the opportunity to complete a double major or secondary major in urban studies through Stanford’s unique academic program. All urban studies students are encouraged to study abroad for at least a quarter through the school’s Bing Overseas Studies Program. Stanford urban studies students have several ways of completing their required senior capstone project such as through an honors thesis, a senior project, or a synthesis project.
#6 – Cleveland State University
Net Price: $15,377
Cleveland State University’s Urban Studies program takes advantage of both the university’s and the surrounding city’s resources in order to serve its students, the community, and urban education. All Urban Studies majors have opportunities to participate in internships, seminars, and research. One of the most exciting opportunities is the Washington Seminar, which enables students to gain government experience in Washington D.C. CSU also offers multiple tracks in Urban Studies to meet students’ needs, including a personally-designed track. This program is great for students looking for flexibility and interesting hands-on learning opportunities.
#5 – Rutgers University – Newark
Newark, New Jersey
Net Price: $9,858
Rutgers University–Newark offers a joint PhD program in Urban Systems with New Jersey’s Science and Technology University. Core and specialty courses are offered on both campuses by faculty from both universities, and the degree is jointly awarded by both NJIT and Rutgers– Newark. Students in the program can choose to specialize in Global Urban Studies, Urban Health, or Urban Environment. The Urban Health and Global Studies specializations are primarily taught at the Rutgers campus, and the Urban Environment Specialization is primarily taught at the NJIT campus. Combined, these universities complement each other and bring in roughly $100 million annually in external funding.
#4 – New York University
New York, New York
Net Price: $35,543
New York University offers multiple master’s programs and a doctoral program in public service and urban studies. These programs cover a wide variety of topics including education, infrastructure, technology, and international development. NYU’s location in New York City makes it a natural choice for students who want to take a global and interdisciplinary approach to urban studies. The university is able to connect students to the many nearby government agencies and organizations for internships, research, and other opportunities.
#3 – Rutgers University – Camden
Camden, New Jersey
Net Price: $12,201
Rutgers University–Camden offers its Urban Studies majors an interdisciplinary, policy-focused program, as well as several experiential learning opportunities. Civic engagement is a priority at Rutgers. This gives students the chance to participate in community-based research, specialized courses, and volunteer service. Both the graduate and undergraduate programs are rigorous and offer many enrichment opportunities, but students looking for an extra challenge or those interested in other programs at the university can choose to pursue one of the department’s five dual-degree programs.
#2 – University of California – Berkeley
Net Price: $16,665
The Urban Studies program at the University of California–Berkeley prepares students for both research-oriented and practice-oriented areas of urban planning. Students in this program enjoy several academic opportunities. The program is home to many active student groups that organize workshops, tours, and socials. Several related departments sponsor lecture series and offer opportunities for prizes, grants, and awards. Students also have access to the Cal Design Lab, which facilitates hands-on, interdisciplinary collaboration. This program is perfect for students looking for a large amount of hands-on experience and professional development opportunities.
#1 – Harvard University
Net Price: $15,095
The Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University is made up of highly experienced faculty and roughly 100 exceptional students from all over the world. This smaller student size allows students to take advantage of Harvard’s resources without giving up an intimate community of peers. Both Urban Design and Urban Planning students have several unique opportunities for fellowships, travel, and awards. Many students also take advantage of other departments’ resources by pursuing a joint degree or cross-registering for courses offered by other schools on campus.
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