The Urban Studies Programs (USP) are an interdisciplinary set of programs in the College of Letters and Science. Our 25-plus faculty are drawn from 13 disciplines across 6 schools and colleges. USP offers an undergraduate certificate and major (BA), an accelerated BA-Urban Studies & Master of Urban Planning (MUP), a coordinated degree program (Master of Science in Urban Studies/Master of Library and Information Science), and master’s and PhD degree programs in Urban Studies. USP is affiliated with the UWM Center for Economic Development, and is the institutional home for the Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers, and public service professionals.. 

Urban studies is about understanding the nature of urban society and change through a variety of disciplinary lenses and methods at different scales, from neighborhoods to cities and suburbs to metropolitan regions and beyond. Urban studies encompasses many different fields that are often associated with a particular discipline, such as urban politics or culture, economic development and urban revitalization; or it is focused on a particular area, like public housing or gentrification, racial inequality and segregation, environmental sustainability and urban agriculture, transit and urban planning, and the list goes on. Few academic fields offer such a variety of areas to study or so many lenses and methods to make sense of our urban world.   

For undergraduates, completing the certificate or majoring in Urban Studies allows students to explore and study neighborhoods, cities, suburbs, and metro regions with a flexible and interdisciplinary approach drawn from over 75 courses, so students can align their studies with professional career goals. In addition, there are community placements in service learning, internships, and study-abroad opportunities in Cuba and Dublin to complement learning in the classroom. For students interested in a professional graduate degree while an undergrad, the accelerated program allows a student to complete their BA in Urban Studies in three years and earn a professional planning master’s degree in two.  

For graduate students, the Master of Science degree provides students with a broad understanding of urban society and trains them in research techniques appropriate to the study of metropolitan communities and valued in a variety of professional fields. The PhD program emphasizes history, research methodology (across six tracks), and social science theory, and prepares students to conduct sophisticated research in the field of urban studies suitable for academic, research, and leadership positions.  

Beyond the classroom, we offer a wide array of extracurricular, urban-themed activities designed to complement theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience, such as our public speaker series, online journal (e.polis), the Student Research Forum, and the annual Urban Studies State of Milwaukee Summit. Our over 800 alumni have gone on to distinguished careers in academia, research institutions, all levels of government, and across the nonprofit sector, providing leadership in community, human service, and advocacy organizations, locally as well as across the country and internationally. We invite you to visit our website.

Program Director

Joel Rast
Bolton Hall, Room 702A
jrast@uwm.edu

Associate Director (contact with interest in graduate or undergraduate programs)

James Harris
Bolton Hall, Room 796
jmh@uwm.edu

Program Assistant

Carrie Beranek
Bolton Hall, Room 702
(414) 229-4751 — phone
beranekc@uwm.edu

Urban Studies Courses

NameRankDegreeSchoolGraduate FacultyEmeritus Faculty
Margo J. Anderson Distinguished Professor Emerita (History) PhD No Yes
Anne Bonds Associate Professor (Geography) PhD University of Washington Yes No
Marcus Britton Associate Professor (Sociology) PhD Northwestern University Yes No
Tina L. Freiburger Professor (Criminal Justice) PhD Indiana University of Pennsylvania Yes No
Rina Ghose Professor (Geography) PhD University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Yes No
Donald E. Green Associate Professor Emeritus (Sociology) PhD No Yes
Derek Handley Assistant Professor PhD Carnegie Mellon University No No
James Harris Senior Lecturer (Urban Studies) PhD University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee No No
Kirk Harris Associate Professor (Urban Planning) PhD Cornell University Yes No
Ryan Holifield Associate Professor (Geography) PhD University of Minnesota Yes No
Lingqian (Ivy) Hu Professor (Architecture and Urban Planning) PhD University of Southern California Yes No
Douglas M. Ihrke Professor (Public and Nonprofit Administration) PhD Northern Illinois University Yes No
Jennifer R. Jordan Professor (Sociology) PhD University of California-San Diego Yes No
Linnea Laestadius Associate Professor PhD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health No No
Marc V. Levine Professor Emeritus (History) PhD No Yes
Genevieve McBride Professor Emerita (History) PhD No Yes
Linda McCarthy Associate Professor (Geography) PhD University of Minnesota Yes No
Stacey J. Oliker Professor Emerita (Sociology) PhD No Yes
Joel Rast Director (Urban Studies) & Associate Professor (Political Science) PhD University of Oregon Yes No
Lex Renda Associate Professor (History) PhD University of Virginia Yes No
Aki Roberts Associate Professor (Sociology) PhD University of New Mexico Yes No
Joseph A. Rodríguez Professor (History) PhD University of California-Berkeley Yes No
Marie Sandy Associate Professor (Educational Policy and Community Studies) PhD Claremont Graduate University Yes No
Robert Schneider Associate Professor (Architecture) PhD University of California-Berkeley Yes No
Aaron Schutz Professor (Educational Policy and Community Studies) PhD University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Yes No
Amanda Seligman Professor (History) PhD Northwestern University Yes No
Arijit Sen Associate Professor (Architecture) PhD University of California-Berkeley Yes No
Paru R. Shah Associate Professor (Political Science) PhD Rice University Yes No
Kristin Sziarto Associate Professor (Geography) PhD University of Minnesota Yes No
Chia Youyee Vang Associate Vice Chancellor (Division of Global Inclusion & Engagement) & Professor (History) PhD University of Minnesota Yes No
William Vélez Professor Emeritus (Sociology) PhD No Yes
Frank H. Wilson Professor Emeritus (Sociology) PhD University of Michigan-Ann Arbor No Yes
Erin Winkler Associate Professor (African and African Diaspora Studies) PhD University of California-Berkeley Yes No
Lynne Woehrle Associate Professor and MSP Program Director PhD Syracuse University No No
Hyejin Yoon Associate Professor PhD The Ohio State University No No