Department of Urban Planning and Policy

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies

Urban Studies (US) prepares students to enter urban professions and graduate professional education programs with knowledge and understanding of the complexity and diversity of the urban environment and the policy and management processes that affect it. Historically, Americans lived in small towns and rural settings; however, today the vast majority of Americans live within expanding urban regions that are linked to a global network of cities. The Urban Studies program educates students on the complexity and diversity of urban areas; teaches students comprehensive policy and tools for addressing urban problems and creating solutions; and provides students with the opportunity to experience hands-on learning through internships, applied research, access to top scholars and professionals in the field, unique international exchange opportunities, and by fostering leadership development. Graduates of Urban Studies will have mastered skills in:

  1. Identifying the forces that impact urban quality of life and potential solutions to problem areas
  2. Understanding the complexity of cities and the interrelatedness of urban issues and challenges
  3. Issues of efficiency, equity, and social justice
  4. Collaboration, diversity, and democracy in professional practice
  5. Plan and policy implementation and analysis
  6. Ethical and political values guiding city building and management

Urban Studies graduates enter careers in public and nonprofit service, public finance, community development, or other city planning and development activities. Students entering graduate education will be prepared to study in related fields, such as public administration, urban planning, public health, law, public relations, international studies, sociology, political science, public health, or peace and social justice studies.

Admission Requirements

New freshmen or transfer students interested in admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies must complete the standard application process to the university and be admitted by the Department of Urban Planning and Policy, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. Admission is competitive, and preference is given to those applicants selected to have the best potential for academic success.

Transfer students who have completed a minimum of 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of transferable college classroom credit by the time of application, and do not meet the definition of an incoming freshman or a readmission applicant may apply to transfer into the program. Applications should include a personal statement of educational goals. See the Admissions section for additional information. See the Office of Admission Transfer Guide for more information about transfer admission requirements.

Grade Point Average

A student must earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.00/4.00 in all work taken at UIC and a cumulative grade point average of 2.50/4.00 in all required courses and selectives for the BA in Urban Studies. In addition, the combined average of a student’s transfer work and work taken at UIC must be at least 2.00.

Minor in Geographic Information Systems

The Minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provides students in many disciplines the opportunity to gain further understanding of basic GIS concepts and mapmaking techniques relevant to all disciplines. The minor is open to students from any college or major with sophomore standing who are not on academic probation. Please note that students in the Urban Studies program are eligible to earn the Minor in GIS; however, they cannot apply courses used to fulfill selective requirements for the major towards the minor in GIS. Students may apply credits from courses taken prior to application to the minor. Students who wish to earn the Minor in GIS shall notify the department in writing on the form posted on the UPP website at http://upp.uic.edu. A GPA of 2.50/4.00 is required in courses taken towards the minor.

Minor in Sustainable Cities

The Minor in Sustainable Cities provides students in many disciplines the opportunity to gain further understanding of the field of urban sustainability while introducing them to concepts and techniques relevant to all disciplines. The minor is open to students from any college or major with sophomore standing who are not on academic probation. Students may apply credit hours from courses taken prior to application to the minor. Students who wish to earn the minor shall notify the department in writing on the form posted on the UPP website http://upp.uic.edu. A GPA of 2.50/4.00 is required in courses taken towards the minor.

Minor in Urban Studies

The minor in Urban Studies provides students in many disciplines the opportunity to gain further understanding of urban phenomena, the complex interactions between local and global forces, and the needs and opportunities of Chicago and other “Great Cities” historically, in the present, and moving forward. The minor is open to students from any college or major with sophomore standing who are not on academic probation. Students may apply credits from courses taken prior to application to the minor. At least 6 credits of the minor, including one elective, must be at the 200-level or higher. Students who wish to minor in Urban Studies shall notify the department in writing on the form posted on the UPP website http://upp.uic.edu. Students must complete 12 credit hours.

Students in the College of Urban Planning and Policy’s undergraduate degree program in Urban Studies are not eligible to earn the Minor in Urban Studies. Some students may be eligible to earn both minors offered by the department (the Minor in GIS and the Minor in Urban Studies). However, students cannot apply the same course(s) to meet the requirements for both minors. Students interested in pursuing both minors will be advised by the department accordingly. A GPA of 2.50/4.00 is required in courses taken towards the minor.

Urban Planning and Policy Courses

UPP 220. Latin American Cities in a Global Context: Environment, Employment, and Housing. 3 hours.

Global economic trends impacting Latin American cities, with a focus on three urban planning issues: environment, employment and housing. Growing inequality, precarious employment, spatial segregation, and squatter settlements will be explored. Same as LALS 220. Recommended background: LALS 101.

UPP 302. Great Cities Internship. 6 hours.

Provides students an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and conduct research in metropolitan organizations through field placements and seminars. Course Information: Same as POLS 302. Prerequisite(s): Junior or senior standing and grade point average of 3.00, or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture-Discussion and one Practice.

UPP 403. Introduction to Urban Planning. 3 or 4 hours.

Patterns of city growth, physical, socio-economic, and environmental issues. Contemporary planning issues. Future of cities. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Advanced undergraduate standing or consent of the instructor.

UPP 405. Researching the City. 3 or 4 hours.

Addresses basic issues of quantitative reasoning in planning and policy, including use of data sources, organizing, sorting, managing, and analyzing data. Emphasizes presenting findings visually and in writing. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Extensive computer use required. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Grade of C or better in ECON 120; and junior standing or above; or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Grade of B or better or concurrent registration in US 202.

UPP 420. Great Cities: London and Chicago. 1-8 hours.

Comparative investigation of urban, economic, social, and political issues in the two global cities. Includes classes, study, and living in London. Course Information: Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above and selection by the Office of Study Abroad admission committee.

UPP 460. Introduction to Geospatial Analysis and Visualization. 3 or 4 hours.

Exploration of geospatial analysis and visualization theory and tools; how to appropriately choose and use tools. Cognition, communication, modeling, cartography, web authoring, 3-D visualization, and aerial and satellite photography.Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Extensive computer use required. Centrino 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM and 100 GB hard drive minimum recommendations. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and approval of the deparment. Priority registration will be given to students admitted to the campus certificate program in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization.

UPP 461. Geographic Information Systems for Planning. 3 or 4 hours.

Applications of Geographic Information Systems to urban planning and policy making. Course Information: Same as GEOG 469. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and consent of the instructor. Priority registration will be given to students admitted to a campus certificate program in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization, graduate students in Urban Planning and Policy, or students in the Master of Arts in Real Estate program.

UPP 462. Intermediate GIS for Planning. 3 or 4 hours.

To reinforce and expand on topics taught in UPP 461 and introduce more advanced features of GIS and its applications to urban planning and policy. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Extensive computer use required. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and approval of the deparment. Priority registration will be given to students admitted to the campus certificate program in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization.

UPP 463. Complexity-based Models for Planning and Policy. 3 or 4 hours.

Introduction to complexity-based models and their possible applications to a range of planning and public policy issues. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Extensive computer use required. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and approval of the deparment. Priority registration will be given to students admitted to the campus certificate program in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization. Recommended background: Experience in object-oriented programming is helpful but not required.

UPP 464. Advanced Visualization Techniques. 3 or 4 hours.

Specialized computational abilities for various planning areas including: database and spreadsheet analyses, spatial information systems, imageries and image editing, 3D modeling and virtual reality, hypermedia or multimedia, and the internet. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Extensive computer use required. Centrino 2 Duo with at least 2GB RAM and 110 GB hard drive minimum recommended specifications. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and approval of the deparment. Priority registration will be given to students admitted to the campus certificate program in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization.

UPP 465. Topics in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization. 0-5 hours.

Intensive exploration of specialized topics in Geospatial Analysis and Visualization. Course Information: 1 to 4 undergraduate hours. 2 to 5 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 9 hours for undergraduate students and 12 hours for graduate students. Students may register in more than one section per term. Extensive computer use required. Prerequisite(s): Grade of B or better in UPP 460; or Grade of B or better in UPP 461; and appropriate score on the department placement test; and senior standing or above; and consent of the instructor.

UPP 470. Cohort Seminar for Urban Developers. 3 or 4 hours.

Application of the financial calculator, use of spreadsheets, and other tools commonly used in real estate-based urban development projects. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

UPP 471. Housing and Community Development for Urban Developers. 3 or 4 hours.

Housing policy at federal, state and local levels affecting urban housing markets. Emphasis on assessment of market conditions affecting community development decisions. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): UPP 470 or consent of the instructor.

UPP 472. Development Finance For Urban Developers. 3 or 4 hours.

Key financial principles of real estate development, particularly those related to the financing of affordable housing. How to develop a real estate pro forma. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

UPP 473. Organizational Essentials for Urban Developers. 3 or 4 hours.

Theory and practice of management in public and non-profit settings. Focus on developing communication, leadership and legal skills for each step in development. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

UPP 474. Community Development Process for Urban Developers. 3 or 4 hours.

Developing affordable housing: development team, acquisition strategy, legal issues, construction management and project sustainability, as it pertains to different types of housing developments. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

UPP 475. Sustaining the Housing for Urban Developers. 3 or 4 hours.

Introduces students to a range of management issues: property management and maintenance, resident relations and services, and financial/ asset management as it relates to sustaining affordable housing. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

UPP 492. Topics in Urban and Public Affairs. 3 hours.

In depth study of selected issues of urban and public affairs. Course Information: Same as UPA 492. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Students may register for more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): Admission to the BA Program in Urban and Public Affairs or consent of the instructor.

UPP 493. Topics in Urban Planning and Policy. 1-4 hours.

Intensive analysis of selected planning problems or policy issues. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 12 hours. Students may register for more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and consent of the instructor.

UPP 494. Senior Capstone Experience in Urban and Public Affairs I. 3 hours.

A selection of a capstone topic and introductory research on the topic. Course Information: Same as UPA 494. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Senior standing or above; Admission to the BA in Urban and Public Affairs Program or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture-Discussion and one Conference.

Urban Studies Courses

US 101. Introduction to Urban Studies. 3 hours.

General survey of urban issues and experience using an interdisciplinary approach. Course Information: Previously listed as UPP 101. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion. US Society course.

US 130. Principles of Urban Sustainability. 3 hours.

Introduces students to fundamental principles, interdisciplinary approaches, historical trends, policies and planning programs that promote sustainability in urban regions. US Society course.

US 199. Independent Study in Urban Studies. 1-3 hours.

Study and analysis of topics selected by the student under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Students may register in more than one section per term. Previously listed as UPP 199. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

US 202. Planning Great Cities. 3 hours.

What makes a city great, how cities change, can cities be planned, and how planners plan; characteristics of Great Cities and current urban planning issues. Course Information: Previously listed as UPP 202. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion. US Society course.

US 205. Cinema and the City. 3 hours.

Explores how diverse societies, cities and urban phenomena are represented in film at different points in history, explores theories of urbanism and individual relationships to cities and urban society and institutions. Course Information: Previously listed as UPP 205. Students are required to view films outside of regular class hours. Individual and Society course.

US 208. Mapping the Urban: Cartography and its Alternatives. 3 hours.

Maps both represent space and influence the spatial imaginary. From traditional cartography to new media, the course will explore the power and possibilities of mapping and ?counter-mapping? as narratives of space, power and social relations. Course Information: Same as GEOG 208. Previously listed as UPP 208. Individual and Society course.

US 230. Practices for Sustainable Cities. 3 hours.

Provides an introduction to topical issues of sustainable urban development and surveys emerging sustainability practices. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or above; or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Grade of C or better in US 130.

US 301. Political Economy of Urban Development. 3 hours.

Political and economic approaches to the study of urban life, urban problems and the built environment. Course Information: Previously listed as UPA 301. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Grade of C or better or concurrent registration in ECON 120; or consent of the instructor.

US 302. Great Cities Internship. 6 hours.

Provides students an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and conduct research in metropolitan organizations through field placements and seminars. Course Information: Same as POLS 302. Prerequisite(s): Junior or senior standing and grade point average of 3.00, or consent of the instructor. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture-Discussion and one Practice.

US 304. Visualizing the City: Methods and Tools for Representing the City. 3 hours.

Addresses basics of visualization methods and techniques of representing the physical environment. Course Information: Previously listed as UPA 304. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Open only to juniors and seniors; and approval of the department or admission to the BA Program in Urban Studies.

US 306. Urban Policy Analysis Methods. 3 hours.

Introduces students to the basics of policy and program evaluation using rational model. Needs analysis, performance evaluation, data collection methods and analysis, discounting valuation problems. Course Information: Previously listed as UPA 306. Prerequisite(s): Grade of C or better in ECON 120; and junior standing or above; or consent of the instructor.

US 308. Globalization in Urban Studies. 3 hours.

Study of urban studies as it relates to globalization. Course Information: Previously listed as UPP 308. Prerequisite(s): Prerequisite(s): Grade of C or better in ECON 120; or consent of the instructor.

US 361. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems I. 3 hours.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) adds spatial analysis and communication to the critical thinking toolbox. This course, the first in a two semester sequence, introduces students to basic GIS data concepts and map making techniques. Course Information: Extensive computer use required. Students must have access to a PC on which they can install software, and meeting the system requirements detailed on the ESRI website at: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgis-for-desktop/system-requirements. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or above. Recommended background: Grade of C or better or concurrent registration in US 100 or Grade of C or better in GEOG 175.

US 362. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems II. 3 hours.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) adds spatial analysis and communication to the critical thinking toolbox. This course, the second in a two semester sequence, introduces students to basic GIS data concepts and map making techniques. Course Information: Extensive computer use required. Students must have access to a PC on which they can install software, and meeting the system requirements detailed on the ESRI website at: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgis-for-desktop/system-requirements. Prerequisite(s): Grade of B or better in US 361; and sophomore standing or above. Recommended background: Grade of C or better or concurrent registration in GEOG 100.

US 390. Sustainability Internship. 3 hours.

Provides an intellectual framework for students to apply classroom learning to hands-on project-based internships that advance the overall mission of greater social, economic and environmental sustainability in the campus community. Course Information: Same as PUBH 390. Students will be placed in internships with UIC departments and units for approximately 8 hours per week. Prerequisite(s): Grade of C or better in US 130; or Grade of C or better in PHYS 116. Open only to sophomores, juniors, and seniors; or consent of the instructor.

US 490. International Student Exchange Program. 0-18 hours.

The Student Exchange Program enables the reciprocal exchange of students between UIC and colleges or universities in other countries. There are a variety of programs tailored to meet the needs of CUPPA students. Course Information: May be repeated for a maximum of 36 credit hours per academic year or for a total of 48 hours, all of which must be earned within one calendar year. Determination of the number of credits to be granted is part of the proposal approval process. Previously listed as UPA 490. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Completion of the English Composition requirement; and junior standing or above; and approval of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs; and approval of the Office of International Affairs.

US 491. Internship Experience in Urban Studies. 3 hours.

Two hundred twenty-five hours of service learning/practical experience through an internship placement approved by the Urban Studies Program. Course Information: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading only. Previously listed as UPA 491. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above and approval of the UPA program and completion of 12 hours of credit towards the UPA degree.

US 495. Senior Capstone Experience in Urban Studies. 3 hours.

Students synthesize and draw upon knowledge learned in the program to engage in projects in the urban community. Course Information: Previously listed as UPP 495. Field work required. Prerequisite(s): UPP 405; and senior standing or above; or consent of the instructor or admission to the Urban Studies major. Class Schedule Information: To be properly registered, students must enroll in one Lecture-Discussion and one Conference.

US 498. Independent Study in Urban Studies. 1-3 hours.

Provides an opportunity for students to pursue an independent project that is not availble through the required US coursework. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisite(s): Open only to juniors and seniors; or consent of the instructor. Previously listed as UPP 498.