Department of Urban Planning and Policy

Contact Information: 
Campus Location: 215 CUPPA Hall 
(312) 996-5240 
www.uic.edu/cuppa/upp

Administration: 
Department Head and Professor, Zorica Nedovic-Budic, nbzorica@uic.edu
Director of Undergraduate Studies and Professor, Brenda Parker, bkparker@uic.edu

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 complex interrelated forces that shape urban areas.
  2. Employing relevant techniques and critical analysis to craft and evaluate potential solutions for addressing urban challenges.
  3. Applying ethics and values related to the production of cities and to professional practice, including knowledge of collaboration, diversity, equity, sustainability, and democracy.
  4. Using critical analytical skills to assess, produce, analyze, and present data.
  5. Applying knowledge of planning practices, policy analysis, and implementation.
  6.  Exercising proficiency and effective use of visualization and communication tools.

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 in the 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 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 declaring the minor. Students who wish to earn the Minor in GIS shall notify the department in writing on the form posted on the student resources page of the CUPPA website. 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 who are not on academic probation. Students may apply credit hours from courses taken prior to declaring the minor. Students who wish to earn the minor shall notify the department in writing on the form posted on the student resources page of the CUPPA website. 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 who are not on academic probation. Students may apply credits from courses taken prior to declaring 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 student resources page of the CUPPA website.

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.