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Urban Society and Social Change Concentration

Students collaborating

Many students are drawn to Urban Studies by their desire to understand and address the unique problems confronting cities today.  This concentration focuses on issues in contemporary urban society, and on the tools and concepts that can bring about change to improve urban life. 

Courses focus on a diverse range of issues, from public health crises to racial and class inequality.  Students also learn how community action, urban planning and design, and organizations in nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors address these challenges. This concentration prepares students to enter graduate programs concerned with urban affairs, community service, and public policy, and to work with local governmental agencies and for-profit and nonprofit organizations engaged in community service and development.


Students in this concentration may select one of two advisors:

Special Programs and Opportunities

Students in the Urban Society and Social Change concentration should consider applying for an Urban Studies Summer Fellowship or a Haas Center Summer Fellowship, both of which provide funding for a summer spent working for a non-profit or government organization. 

Extensive service-learning opportunities are available through the BOSP Capetown campus and through the Stanford in New York City program.  Those interested in policy should also consider applying for a summer placement with Stanford in Government, or a quarter at Stanford in Washington.  Consult your Urban Studies advisor to determine if courses or internships taken at another Stanford campus can fulfill Urban Studies course requirements or the internship requirement.

Required Course

URBANST 156A The Changing American City (4 Units)                                                                                                                     

Additional Courses

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.