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Race, Ethnicity, and Urban Life

Photo: Micaela Suminski

Race and ethnicity are central organizing categories shaping virtually every aspect of city life. This concentration focuses on the role that race and ethnicity play in the formation, development, and change of cities.

Through a range of courses from across the University, students engage with how race and ethnicity shape where people live; relationships with law enforcement; neighborhood change; access to institutions; local politics; social movements; identity formation; and health care access; and health outcomes, among other themes. Students who elect this concentration will come away with the analytical tools to assess the causes and consequences of racial and ethnic inequality in cities, and to make informed judgments about which policies bring about racial and ethnic justice.


The advisor for this concentration is Prof. Tomás Jiménez. (email) (read more about Prof. Jiménez)


I’m currently undeclared; How do I declare Urban Studies with the new concentration? Follow the steps on the Urban Studies “How to Declare” web page, and when you are ready to meet with an advisor, contact Prof. Jiménez at

I’m currently a declared Urban Studies major or minor in another concentration; can I switch to the new concentration? Contact your current Urban Studies advisor to discuss the possibility of changing concentrations. Changing concentrations is allowed, as long as you have room in your schedule to add the necessary courses. Urban Studies concentrations are only declared to the program, not on Axess, so you only need program approval to change.

What is the difference between the new concentration and the existing Urban Society and Social Change (USSC) concentration? The USSC concentration includes many courses on racial and ethnic stratification, but it takes a broader approach to issues facing cities, and also includes courses on tools such as urban planning, urban design, and social entrepreneurship designed to address those issues.

What is the difference between the new concentration and a major in CSRE? The new concentration is just that – a concentration within the Urban Studies major, not an entire major. It is not intended to provide the same depth in understanding issues of race and ethnicity as a major in CSRE. The intention of the concentration is to situate a focused understanding of race and ethnicity within a broader knowledge of cities, and to emphasize the connections between identities and the spaces in which identities are formed.

Can I complete a primary major in CSRE, and a secondary major in Urban Studies (or vice versa)? Yes! A primary / secondary major means that you fulfill requirements for both majors, and you are permitted to overlap courses between them. The secondary major appears on your transcript, but not on your diploma. Note that in a double major, or a major and minor, no overlap of courses is permitted. Consult your major advisor or your AAD for more advice on primary / secondary majors.

I have taken / would like to take a course that is relevant to the concentration, but I don’t see it on the list below. Can I petition to have it count? Yes, you may petition to have a course count toward this concentration, using the same process as in other Urban Studies concentrations (submitting this form to your major advisor).

Why don’t I see the new concentration in the search filter on the Urban Studies courses page? It will take some time to update the search function on the Urban Studies courses page. For now, please consult the list of courses below, or discuss your options with the concentration advisor, Prof. Tomás Jiménez.

Required Course

The required course for this concentration is 

CSRE 196C, Introduction to Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity

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 towrad 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.