Urban Studies

What Is Urban Studies?

LMU's Urban Studies major helps students examine urbanization and the multitude of issues inherent in urban life from the perspective of a wide range of disciplines and methodological traditions. The critical analysis of urban issues helps students evaluate the various political, sociocultural, and economic strategies available to urban planners, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and others seeking to remedy the problems of contemporary cities.

The Urban Studies major provides an interdisciplinary opportunity for students to explore all aspects of cities from a wide variety of perspectives, such as urban life, urban politics, urban economics, urban planning, urban culture, and the processes of urbanization.

The Urban Studies major also encourages students to take full advantage of one of LMU’s greatest assets, its many links to the extraordinarily dynamic, diverse city that surrounds it. Los Angeles is both an educational resource and a laboratory for Urban Studies majors.


What Do Urban Studies Majors Do?

Urban Studies majors examine the history of urbanization and its associated economic and demographic processes. They look at the structures and expressions of urbanization and urban life associated with modern and postmodern, and developed and less-developed cities.

Urban Studies majors also explore the basic research questions and agendas associated with urban issues, and the general expressions of urbanization and urban life in Los Angeles. They learn the common theories, practices, and methodologies employed in contemporary urban planning and policy analysis.


Is This Major Right for You?

You might be an Urban Studies major if you:

  • Enjoy big-picture issues
  • Are fascinated by cities
  • Want to learn more about planning, geography, architecture, and government
  • Care about the environment and creating a sustainable future
  • Value community-based participation
  • Are analytical


About Our Faculty

Our faculty members are experts in the wide range of fields and topics related to urban life, including as urban geography, urban planning, urban ecology, community redevelopment, historic preservation, economic development, urban sustainability, and urban parks and open space in the United States and abroad.

Our faculty travel extensively; do research, planning, and community service work; serve on boards and municipal commissions; write for leading peer-reviewed and professional journals such as Urban Geography and Environment and Planning; and provide expert opinion to local and national media outlets including the Los Angeles Times and New York Times


About Our Students and Graduates

Our students serve internships in Los Angeles and beyond. Students, for example, have worked with police investigators in one of the world's largest law enforcement agencies, with planners on the largest urban in-fill project in the United States, and with scientists measuring the effects of urban pollution on marine life.

Students majoring or minoring in Urban Studies receive a strong foundation for careers in urban planning and design, city government and management, public administration, policy analysis, social welfare, criminal justice, law enforcement, human resources management, and community organizing. Urban Studies majors also go on to graduate school in fields such as urban planning, public administration, and the law.


Representative Courses

Our offered courses have included:

  • Urban Physical Environment
  • Urban Social Environment
  • Metropolitan Los Angeles
  • Urban Planning
  • Community Development
  • Research in Urban Society
  • Criminal Law
  • Public Administration
  • Race, Class, Culture, and Public Policy
  • Social Organization
  • Urban Sociology
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Urban Anthropology
  • Urban Internship
  • Independent Studies


More Resources (Links)