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Pin-up in Urban Design class

The Urban Studies major requires students to complete five types of courses totaling at least 70 units:

  • Majors must complete one prerequisite: ECON 1 Principles of Economics (ECON 1V Principles of Economics is also an acceptable course); this prerequisite course may be taken S/NC, as the units for this course do not count toward the 70 units required for the major

  • 18 units in the core (23 for those who declared before September 1, 2019)

  • 9 units (minimum) of skills courses in at least 3 courses of 3 units each

  • 20 units (minimum) in an area of concentration

  • 3 units (minimum) of community-engaged learning

  • 10 units in the capstone sequence

NOTE:  If you declared before August 1, 2014, please consult the Stanford Bulletin for the year you declared.  The major (or minor) requirements for that year remain the requirements that you must meet for graduation.  If you have any questions, please consult Student Services Officer Morgan Speer.

Urban Studies Core

Core courses provide academic grounding in central Urban Studies topics.  Urban Studies majors should complete URBANST 110 Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies, before Spring Quarter of the junior year. The following courses, totaling 23 units, are required:

URBANST 110 Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies 4
**URBANST 111A  The Politics of the American City **(For those who declared before September 1, 2019) 4
URBANST 112 The Urban Underclass 4
URBANST 113 Introduction to Urban Design: Contemporary Urban Design in Theory and Practice 5



 Urban Culture in Global Perspective





Skills courses provide research skills to apply to the capstone project, as well as marketable skills valued by many employers and graduate schools.  A minimum of 9 units in 3 courses of at least 3 units each are required, and should preferably be taken before the end of the junior year so that the research skills can be applied to the capstone project. The following courses are recommended for most Urban Studies majors:

SOC 180A Foundations of Social Research 4



Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (GIS)

Spatial Approaches to Social Science is an approved substitute for EARTHSYS 144.


The additional skills courses vary depending on a student's needs and interests. Student consult with an adviser to determine the best choice. Courses that fulfill the skills requirement are:

ANTHRO 91 Method and Evidence in Anthropology 5
ANTHRO 93B Prefield Research Seminar: Non-Majors 5
ANTHRO 102 Urban Ethnography 5
EARTHSYS 127 GIS for good: Applications of GIS for International Development and Humanitarian Assistance 3-4  
ECON 102A Introduction to Statistical Methods (Postcalculus) for Social Scientists 5
EDUC 191X Introduction to Survey Research 3-4
HUMBIO 82A Qualitative Research Methodology 3
HUMBIO 82B Advanced Data Analysis in Qualitative Research 3
MED 147 Methods in Community Assessment, Evaluation, and Research 3
OSPCPTWN 22 Preparation for Community-Based Research in Community Health and Development 3
PEDS 202C Qualitative Research Methods and Study Design 3
POLISCI 155 Political Data Science 5
SOC 180B Introduction to Data Analysis 4
URBANST 123B Approaching Research in the Community ¿ Design and Methods 3


Concentrations allow in-depth understanding of a particular field in Urban Studies.  Students must complete 20 units (minimum) in an area of concentration. There are 6 concentration options:

Community-Engaged Learning

Community-engaged learning connects theory and practice, providing valuable service to a community organization as well as learning that goes beyond what can be taught in a classroom.  All majors are required to complete an approved community-engaged learning course or internship, via one of the following four pathways:

Please note that NOT all Haas Center fellowships or Cardinal Courses automatically fulfill the Urban Studies major community-engaged learning requirement. For more information, please consult the Urban Studies Community Engaged Learning and Internship Guide and consult the Director of Community Engaged Learning for Urban Studies.

Other classes with a significant community-engaged learning component may count towards the requirement. Requests should be submitted through the Course Substitution Petition and approved by the Director of Community Engaged Learning for Urban Studies. We recommend that you confirm before enrolling in the course as to whether it can meet the community engaged-learning component.


The capstone project is the culmination of a student's work in Urban Studies.  Through a sequence of two seminars, the first in winter of junior year and the second in fall of senior year, students design a senior project, and write the results of their project. The capstone seminars can be used to satisfy the Writing in the Major requirement and to complete some work on an honors thesis. 

  • URBANST 202, Preparation for Senior Research, should be taken in the junior year, and 
  • URBANST 203, Senior Seminar, in the senior year.
  • Students who plan to be away during Winter Quarter of their junior year are advised to take URBANST 202, Preparation for Senior Research, in the Winter Quarter of their sophomore year.
URBANST 202A Preparation for Senior Research 5
URBANST 203 Senior Seminar 5


For more details on the Urban Studies major, consult the entry on Urban Studies in the Stanford Bulletin.

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