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Through an interdisciplinary concentration in urban studies, inspect the historical, social, economic, and political factors that have shaped cities and, in turn, how cities have affected the lives of their inhabitants. The concentration is open to all majors.

Urbanization Across the Globe

Urbanization has been one of the most powerful processes shaping the world: economically, culturally, geographically, and socially. Through a concentration in urban studies, explore the unique challenges of different cities and gain an understanding of the multifaceted impact of urbanization. We encourage you to think of cities as vital sites of human experience and innovation — and to use your knowledge to enact societal change.


As a student in the urban studies concentration, learn about broad patterns and notable variations in urban growth, decline, and, in some cases, revitalization. While studying cities on a global scale, become familiar with the key concepts and tools used to explore and analyze urban phenomena.

While you can combine this concentration with any major, it’s an especially good complement to majors in community, youth, and education studies; economics; geography; global environmental studies; international development and social change; political science; and sociology.

Minimum number of courses to complete this concentration: 7 (three from different departments)

Capstone Experience

Proceeding from an introductory course through intermediate and advanced courses offered in several different departments, apply what you learn to your capstone experience.

The capstone can be either a research project or an internship, conducted under the supervision of one of the concentration’s participating faculty, or as part of an urban-research or internship seminar.

Visit the academic catalog to view requirements for this concentration

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Careers and Internships

Explore careers and internships, including funding through the Lois and Robert Green Internship program for summer opportunities in Worcester.

Program Changes

please note:

Originally called Urban Development and Social Change (UDSC), the program was changed to Urban Studies to better capture the full range of opportunities that exist at Clark for students to study and engage urban topics.

Why the change to Urban Studies?

The core faculty of the Urban Development and Social Change (UDSC) concentration has revamped the curriculum and scope of the program. They have changed the name and curriculum to “Urban Studies” to better capture the full range of opportunities that exist at Clark for students to study and engage urban topics.

Although it will continue to have an emphasis on social change, the Urban Studies (URBS) concentration will better reflect a diversity of approaches for understanding the “urban,” including through music, journalism, and landscape.

The change was made:

  • To reflect the fact that Urban Studies (URBS) at Clark is truly interdisciplinary, and global. When it was founded in 2000, the UDSC concentration focused primarily on courses about urban topics in the United States. In the last several years, the program has become more international and has included a wider range of humanities courses.
  • To make the program explicitly more humanistic and more international, integrating these with the existing social science and social change orientation. These changes better represent the diversity of urban offerings at Clark, across a wide array of departments.
  • To increase the flexibility of course selection for students, making the concentration as accessible as possible across a wide range of majors, while retaining the core strength of interdisciplinarity of the program.

The URBS concentration curriculum has been streamlined for greater student choice and disciplinary variety. It still consists of a minimum of seven courses, three of which must be from different departments, and it still requires two 200-level courses, and a capstone experience.

The curriculum changes will be reflected in the 2020-21 academic catalog as soon as it is posted online.