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Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective Concentration

Traffic in a Chinese city

Approximately half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and the proportion grows greater every day.  Urban issues cannot be understood in the context of a single nation or a single moment in time. 

This concentration draws on disciplinary approaches including anthropology, archaeology, art history, geography, and history to help students understand how cities have developed and how they relate to each other today. By placing urban issues in perspective, students improve their comprehension of the United States as well as the world, and of the present as well as the past.


Students in this concentration may select one of two advisors:

Special Programs and Opportunities

Students in this concentration are encouraged to study off campus, and preferably overseas, for at least one quarter. Many courses offered through the Overseas Studies Program can be counted toward the concentration. Similarly, internships offered at many of Stanford’s overseas locations can be used to fulfill the Urban Studies internship requirement. Students should also consider enrolling in one of the Stanford Overseas Seminars, intensive courses taught in September in locations which do not have overseas campuses.

Required Course



Capitals: How Cities Shape Cultures, States, and People (3 units)

Courses in the concentration (including the required course and additional courses) must total at least 20 units. Please consult with your advisor to select a program of courses that suits your intellectual and personal goals.

For additional courses that count toward this concentration, search here.

If a course has not already been approved for a concentration, you may petition to count it by submitting this form to your advisor.