Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
geography masthead geography masthead
Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Chair 305 E. 23rd Street • CLA 3.306 • A3100 • Austin, Tx 78712 • 512-232-1595

Urban Studies Program


Program Director, Advisor, and Faculty


Degree Requirements



Imagine studying the anatomy of an organism so large that it holds a million people.  As an Urban Studies major, the Austin metropolitan area is not only your home, it is a living specimen that you can examine at any hour of the day or night, using methods recognized by professionals in urban planning and design, real-estate development, and the non-profit sector, as well as by scholars in urban history, urban anthropology, urban sociology, and other related fields.

Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program at UT that combines classroom studies with real-world experience in the Austin metropolitan area.  If you are curious about how cities are physically put together, the history of urbanization, the conflict and creativity that pervades urban life, the economic factors that affect urban growth and development, or the political dynamics shaping urban governance, you will find a home for your interests in Urban Studies.  The Urban Studies major is also a great way to launch a socially and environmentally relevant career; you will be introduced to methods and theories that support constructive solutions to pressing problems such as poverty and homelessness, racial segregation, pollution, and inefficient transportation.

The major is designed to be quite flexible.  Students choose from a list of courses with a variety of different disciplinary perspectives, depending on their interests and goals.  After an introduction to the essential questions and issues in urban studies (URB-301) and a practicum in research methods (URB-315), students pursue their particular interests in cross-listed upper division classes.  These are drawn from 18 different departments spread across 6 different colleges and schools on the UT-Austin campus.  In their senior year, students complete an internship and service learning course (URB-360), acquiring essential skills and experiences that help ease their entry into the job market.  The major also includes a semester-long independent research project (URB-370) which is undertaken in consultation with a UT faculty member of the student’s choosing.  This project allows students to develop in-depth skills and expertise in a way that showcases their interests and achievements for future employers or for applications to graduate school.

Urban Studies banner is based on an original painting by Chris Chappell.

back to top

Program Director, Advisor, and Faculty

Program Director

Paul Adams

Academic Advisor

  • Thomas Fawcett
  • Location: Parlin (PAR) 114
  • Phone: 512-471-5736 for appointments, 512-471-7286 for my direct line
  • Email:
  • Hours: 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, closed noon to 1
  • Please call or email to schedule an appointment.

Affiliated Faculty

American Studies   

Steven D Hoelscher


Kamran Asdar Ali
Kathleen C Stewart
John Hartigan


Larry Speck
Barbara Hoidn
Frank Steiner
Dean Almy
Robert Paterson
Stephen Ross
Sinclair Black

Asian Studies   

J. Thomas


J. Butler
P. Arnold

Civil Engineering

Z. Zhang
C. Bhat


K. Freitas
P. Amaral
J. Cooper
W. Glade


J. Butler


S. Leblanc
J. Morran

Germanic Studies   

S. Hake    
K. Belgum


S. Bow
R. Madrid
D. Leal


J. Walker
M. Seaholm
E. Zamora

Latin American Studies   

H. Dietz
LBJ School   

R. Wilson
W. Spelman

Mexican American Studies   

L. Mena


A. Villareal
W. Kelly
P. Green
C. Collins

Social Work

J. Aguilar
S. Haulotte
S. Whalley
R. Fong
M. Lauderdale

back to top


Students must be admitted into the Urban Studies major.  In order to apply to the Urban Studies major students must complete the following Math requirements with the appropriate grade based on their catalog:

Calculus - M 408K, M 408L, M 408C, M 408M or other approved course

Statistics - M 316, SDS 302, SDS 304, SDS 305, SDS 306, SOC 317L, STA 309, M 358K or other approved course

Catalog: 2012-2014, 2014-2016 - with at least a B-

Catalogs: 2006-2008, 2008-2010, 2012-2012 - with at least a C-

If students have other calculus or statistics courses that they would like considered for the math requirements they should speak with the URB Advisor about the petition process.

Application Process:

1. Meet individually with the URB Advisor.

2. Complete above Math requirements with approriate grade.

3. Complete and submit an application to the URB Advisor.

NOTE: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and studnets can apply at any time once they have completed the math prerequisites. 

back to top

Degree Requirements

Students must be admitted to the Urban Studies major.

The core of Urban Studies consists of four required courses

URB 301 Introduction to Urban Studies (fall only)

URB 315 Urban Studies Research Methods (spring only)

URB 360 Internship and Service Learning (fall only)

URB 370 Senior Project

Since these courses are only offered once a year, students need to plan to spend two years completing the Urban Studies major.

Additional URB major requirements include:

Calculus: M 408K, M 408L, M 408C, M 408M or other approved course*

Statistics: M 316, SDS 302, SDS 304, SDS 305, SDS 306, SOC 317L, STA 309, M 358K or other approved course

12 additional hours of upper-division coursework in Urban Studies

2.0 GPA in URB courses

* M 403K and M 403L may not be counted



12 credit hours in a selected minor, with at least six hours of upper division coursework, and at least six hours completed on-campus.

Students in Urban Studies are also expected to meet the requirements of the University and of the College of Liberal Arts.

For complete degree plans, please visit:

back to top


Students who are highly successful and are interested in continuing to graduate school are encouraged to consider substituting a two-semester senior honors thesis for the senior project.  In conjunction with a GPA that meets the cutoffs (3.0 overall, 3.5 in the major) and other requirements (see the undergraduate catalog), the completion of an honors thesis permits you to graduate with Departmental Honors in Urban Studies.  Questions about the honors program may be directed to Dr. Paul Adams, the Director of Urban Studies, the Urban Studies Undergraduate Advisor.

back to top

bottom border