Urban Studies

The urban studies interdepartmental concentration is designed to take full advantage of Macalester's location in the center of a flourishing metropolitan area. The region's historical demographic base, which is comprised of African Americans, American Indians, and Euro Americans, is becoming increasingly diverse with large and growing populations of Southeast Asians, Latinos and East Africans. The program is designed for students who wish to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on urbanization and urbanism as they appear in the United States and globally. The program combines a sound theoretical and experiential base complemented by a broad range of technical competencies. The 8-course urban studies concentration is divided into two parts: a curricular portion that provides students with a theoretical base, and an applied portion that gives students first-hand experience conducting research on specific aspects of city life. Students are also expected to acquire skills that will enable them to make an effective contribution to urban studies research or vocation. Many courses listed in the concentration have action research or service learning components.

Urban Studies

Structure of the Concentration

A concentration in urban studies will consist of seven courses. The courses must meet the curricular requirements described below, which are designed to help students meet goals of historical depth and interdisciplinary breadth. Students must complete courses that are distributed across at least three different departments. Finally, students may apply a course they have taken at another institution - through a study away program or ACTC school, for instance - but can only apply one 4-credit course to their concentration in Urban Studies.


  1. One of the following introductory courses:

    EDUC 240 - Race, Culture, and Ethnicity in Education
    ENVI 340 - US Urban Environmental History 
    GEOG 241 - Urban Geography 
    GEOG 261 - World Urbanization 
    GEOG 262 - Metro Analysis 
    HIST 284 - Imaging the Modern City 
    POLI 204 - Urban Politics 
  2. Three discipline-based theoretical approaches to the city drawn from the following set of courses. A relevant course that does not appear on this list, including a course taken through a study away/study abroad opportunity, may be substituted for one of these courses, pending approval of the concentration director.

    AMST 250 - Race, Place and Space 
    AMST 265 - The Schools-to-Prison Pipeline 
    ECON 342 - Economics of Poverty in US
    EDUC 240 - Race, Culture, and Ethnicity in Education
    EDUC 260 - Critical Issues in Urban Education 
    GEOG 203 - Introduction to Urban Ecology 
    GEOG 261 - World Urbanization
    GEOG 262 - Metro Analysis
    GEOG 320 - Asian Cities 
    GEOG 341 - City Life: Segregation, Integration, and Gentrification
    GEOG 476 - Transportation Geography Seminar 
    GEOG 478 - Cities of the 21st Century: The Political Economy of Urban Sustainability 
    GEOG 494 - Topics Course Global Urbanism
    HIST 219 - In Motion: African Americans in the United States 
    HIST 248 - Jim Crow 
    HIST 282 - Latin America: Art and Nation
    HIST 284 - Imaging the Modern City 
    HIST 294 - Topics Course We Built This City: Towns and City Life from Late Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages
    POLI 204 - Urban Politics
    POLI 244 - Urban Latino Power
    POLI 315 - Advanced Topics in Policy: US Education Politics and Policy 
    POLI 342 - Urban Politics of Latin America 
    SOCI 190 - Criminal Behavior/Social Control
    THDA 489 - Seminar in Performance Theory and Practice 
  3. One engaged inquiry course drawn from the following options. A relevant course that does not appear on this list, including a course taken through a study away/study abroad opportunity, may be substituted for one of these courses, pending approval of the concentration director. Students may also use a four-credit internship, but must work in advance with the concentration director to design an internship that will satisfy this requirement.

    AMST 300 - Critical Legal Studies (with approved topic)
    AMST 301 - Critical Prison Studies (with approved topic)
    ANTH 230 - Ethnographic Interviewing
    EDUC 230 - Community Youth Development in Multicultural America 
    EDUC 390 - Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools
    EDUC 614 - Independent Project
    ENVI 194 - Topics Course Bicycling the Urban Landscape
    ENVI 270 - Psychology of Sustainable Behavior 
    ENVI 340 - US Urban Environmental History 
    GEOG 364 - GIS and Community Partnerships 
    GEOG 365 - Urban GIS
    GEOG 377 - Qualitative Research Methods
    HIST 382 - Remembering the Modern City
    HIST 394 - Topics Course Public History in Action: Remembering Rondo: An Oral History Project
    POLI 203 - Politics and Inequality
    THDA 210 - Community-Based Theatres
    THDA 294 - Topics Course Ecology and Performance: What Does the Warming World Need Now?
  4. INTD 401 - Urban Studies Colloquium: This course, or an approved equivalent, must be completed in the fall semester of the student's senior year.
  5. One elective selected from either the discipline-theoretical or engaged inquiry course lists (under sections B and C).