Urban Studies

Asking the big, big-city questions.

How do we create more just and equitable ways to live?

Are you interested in eliminating racialized disparities? Creating carbon-neutral environments? Better controlling infectious disease in densely populated areas? Or do you have a fascination with bike sharing systems? Subways? The architecture of cities? Different as they are, each of those falls under “urban studies.” It’s a multi-faceted—and fascinating—field that encompasses virtually every problem, every dynamic generated by the reality of cities.

No matter what your major at Macalester—from history to biochemistry to dance, a concentration in urban studies can add dimension, perspective and depth. Whether you’re driven by simple curiosity or the need to create real change, urban studies will help you uncover both answers and more questions.

Why Macalester? The study of cities is best done in a city.

The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis is a dynamic and complicated place that enriches engagement with the field of urban studies. Here, you’ll experience firsthand the opportunities and challenges created by 3.5 million diverse people living in proximity. Our regional government includes 200 municipalities, stimulating important conversation about how shared governance works and how it could work better. The state capitol, where so many decisions are made every week, is just down the street. Literally. Through classes and many internship possibilities, you’ll see how much of the world’s progress happens at the city level. And in turn, that will shape how you see the world.

Life after Macalester


Number of miles the State Capitol is from campus (that’s a 10 minute bus ride)


Number of internship site nearby campus, including government organizations

Sixteen Fortune 500 companies are located near our metro area, allowing for lots of opportunities to partner on projects

Join our community

  • Urban studies colloquial—Share time, brain space, visiting professors, field trips, and a collaborative project with others who’ve chosen the same concentration. Urban studies colloquial 2019 convened an urban art exhibit, with the entire college invited
  • Networking opportunities—Choose application or engagement work that puts you directly into city organizations. Here, you’ll connect theory and practice while meeting others with similar interests. (Good news: many of them in hiring positions)