The Urban Studies major draws from classes in sociology, geography, history, political science, economics, urban studies, and urban planning to explore issues related to cities, suburban communities and metropolitan regions such as transportation, education, housing, population shifts, crime, discrimination, and more.

The Department of Urban Studies develops students analytical and critical thinking abilities through an examination of the history and growth of urban centers and the challenges they face today and into the future. Our faculty includes international specialists, but much of our curriculum focuses on American cities, and Milwaukee in particular. Our home city is unique, vibrant, and a wonderful place for hands-on study and research.

Because of their interest in urban populations and problem-solving, many graduates work in the areas of community development, land-use planning, public works, community organization, housing policy development and implementation, public education administration, social services, construction management, public health, journalism and fund-raising. Entry-level roles can include tasks ranging from research to planning to program implementation to customer support.

Students in Urban Studies take courses in a variety of disciplines with elective classes that reflect their specific interests and goals. Classes may come from the History Department, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, and more. An internship or study abroad experience is a popular option for students to gain real-world experience working in urban environments. We believe so strongly that experiential learning is an essential part of an urban studies education that we require a service learning experience for all of our majors. An undergraduate certificate in Urban Studies is also available for students seeking a program that is closer to a minor.

Requirements

Course of Study – Bachelor of Arts Degree

Complete 120 credits including 90 credits in the College of Letters & Science and with 36 of the 90 credits in L&S upper-level (numbered above 300) courses. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major. Students are also required to complete University-wide General Education Requirements and the specific L&S requirements listed below.

To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.

University General Education Requirements (GER)

Oral and Written Communication
Part A
Achieve a grade of C or better in the following course:
ENGLISH 102College Writing and Research (or equivalent)
Part B
Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Quantitative Literacy
Part A
Earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course, or achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department)
Mathematical Literacy for College Students II
Contemporary Applications of Mathematics
Introduction to College Algebra
Algebraic Literacy II
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning
College Algebra
Or equivalent course
Part B
Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Select 6 credits6
Social Sciences
Select 6 credits6
Natural Sciences
Select 6 credits (at least two courses including one lab)6
UWM Foreign Language Requirement
Complete Foreign Language Requirement through:
Two years (high school) of a single foreign language
Two semesters (college) of a single foreign language
Or equivalent
UWM Cultural Diversity Requirement
One course from the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences must also satisfy UWM's Cultural Diversity requirement
1

 Math 111 and Philosophy 111 are jointly offered and count as repeats of one another. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.

College of Letters & Science Requirements

I. English Composition Requirement

Students must satisfy the English Composition Requirement with one of the following options:

1) Completing ENGLISH 102 with a grade of C or higher; or

2) by placing beyond ENGLISH 102 on the English Placement Test (EPT) (or other assessment as determined by the English Department); or

3) transferring a course of at least 2.5 equivalent credits from another institution that is equivalent to English 102, or a UWM higher-level expository writing course, with a grade of C or higher.

Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part A. The College of Letters & Science does not have a specific requirement for a writing course beyond English 102, but students must complete the university-wide requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part B listed above.

II. Mathematics and Formal Reasoning

To satisfy the Mathematics and Formal Reasoning Requirement, students must satisfy the following two requirements:

1. Achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department) or earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course:

MATH 102Mathematical Literacy for College Students II3
MATH 103Contemporary Applications of Mathematics3
MATH 105Introduction to College Algebra3
MATH 108Algebraic Literacy II3
MATH 111Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 13
or PHILOS 111 Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning
MATH 116College Algebra3
MATH 175Mathematical Explorations for Elementary Teachers I3
1

 Math 111 and Philosophy 111 are jointly offered and count as repeats of one another. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.

Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part A, listed above.

2. Complete one course (at least 3 credits) at the 200 level or above chosen from courses in Mathematics, PHILOS 211, or Letters and Science statistics courses:

Complete one of the following:
3 or more credits in any 200-level or above Math course
Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies
Introduction to Anthropological Statistics
Biostatistics
Economic Statistics
Quantitative Analysis in Geography
The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
Elementary Statistical Analysis
Elementary Logic
Political Data Analysis
Survey Research
Psychological Statistics
Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology

Note: This requirement is NOT the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part B. To complete the BA, students must take one of the L&S approved courses. Not all of the courses listed here will satisfy the QL-B requirement.

III. Foreign Language Requirement 

Placement testing may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. Language courses (including American Sign Language) other than English taken in high school may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. One year of high school language equates to one semester of college work.

Completion of the L&S Language Requirement also satisfies the university-wide Foreign Language GER, but not vice versa.

Completed in one of the following ways:0-18
Successful completion of the 4th semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language)
Successful completion of the 3rd semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language) PLUS the 2nd semester of college work or equivalent in another language other than English (including American Sign Language)

IV. International Requirement 

See Approved Courses for the L&S International Requirement for course options.  

Completed in one of the following ways:9
Complete 3 courses (min. 9 cr) in a single foreign language (not including literature-in-translation or American Sign Language) at the 3rd semester level and above
Complete 3 non-language courses (min. 9 credits) with an international content chosen from at least 2 curricular areas.
Complete 9 credits in combination of the two options above.

V. Breadth Requirement

Along with completing the University General Education Requirements of 3 credits in the Arts (A); 6 credits in the Humanities (HU), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS/NS+); and a course with the Cultural Diversity (CD/+) designation, L&S students must complete the Breadth requirement.

Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *12
Social Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *12
Natural Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Natural Sciences Breadth designation, including at least one laboratory or field course; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *12
Cultural Diversity
Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **3
*

Students should check their course selections carefully with the list of approved L&S Breadth Courses.  Students are advised to select at least 6 credits worth of courses in each of the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences areas that can satisfy both the campus-wide General Education Requirements and the L&S Breadth requirement.

**

Students are advised to select a course that satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement as well as a Humanities or Social Science breadth/GER requirement. 

 VI. The Major

The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM.  In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work.  Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other departments.  Contact your major department for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA.  The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major.

Research Requirement

Within their majors, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S faculty.  A list of courses satisfying the research requirement in each major can be found here.

VII. The Minor

The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the minor attempted at UWM.  In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work.

Urban Studies Major Requirements

Four required urban studies courses form the foundation of the major: URB STD 150, a core course in which students conduct service learning by working in an urban organization or agency; one of two urban studies survey courses; a theory course on urbanism and urbanization; and a capstone course (URB STD 600) taken in the senior year. Students also take a statistics course, which is a standard requirement for social science majors. In addition, students complete five elective courses selected from urban studies and approved courses in the affiliated areas. Student internships (URB STD 289 or URB STD 489) are encouraged strongly. Students also are encouraged to participate in and present at various urban studies-sponsored events, such as the annual Urban Studies Student Research Forum conference and the Urban Studies State of Milwaukee Summit, and to contribute to the epolis ejournal (currently, each issue includes one paper from an undergraduate).

To declare a major in Urban Studies, students can complete the declaration form on the Urban Studies website which will be followed by an appointment with the Urban Studies Associate Director to review needed courses and plan upcoming semesters.

Course of Study

The Urban Studies major requires a minimum of 30-31 credits, including at least 18 credits in the College of Letters and Science with coursework from at least two L&S departments. No more than 9 credits in a single curricular area outside of urban studies may count toward the major. SOCIOL 377, which is jointly offered in the Urb Std curricular area, will count as an Urb Std course for this purpose. Students must complete at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 and above) L&S courses for the major in residence at UWM. In addition, students must attain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all UWM credits attempted for the major. The College of Letters and Science also requires that students attain a 2.0 GPA in all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. The following are required:

Core
URB STD 150Multicultural America3
Survey
URB STD 360Perspectives on the Urban Scene:3
or URB STD 250 Exploring the Urban Environment
Statistics
Select one of the following:3-4
Quantitative Analysis in Geography
The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
Political Data Analysis
Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology
Or equivalent course approved by the program director
Theory
SOCIOL/URB STD 377Urbanism and Urbanization3
Capstone
URB STD 600Capstone Seminar in Urban Studies (satisfies L&S research requirement)3
Electives
Select 15 credits (see below)15
Total Credits30-31

Electives

15 credits selected from the following courses or other appropriate courses approved by the program director. (No more than nine credits from the same department outside of urban studies may apply to the 30- or 31-credit minimum in the major.)

URB STDAll U and U/G courses
URBPLANAll U and U/G courses
AFRIC 125Economics of the Black Community3
AFRIC 300Urban Violence3
AFRIC 319African American Urban History3
AFRIC 341Black Politics and City Government3
AFRIC 416Race and Social Justice in the United States3
ANTHRO 431Cities and Culture3
ARCH 190Special Topics: (only with topic "Field School")1-3
ARCH 302Architecture and Human Behavior3
ARCH 304Contemporary Criticism and Urbanism3
ARTHIST 425The Age of Pilgrimage and Crusade: Romanesque Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 426The Age of the Great Cathedrals: Gothic Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 431Renaissance Architecture in Italy3
ARTHIST 459American Architecture3
ARTHIST 462Frank Lloyd Wright3
BUS ADM 441Diversity in Organizations3
CRM JST 291Current Issues in Criminal Justice:1-3
CRM JST 310Race, Ethnicity, and Justice3
ED POL 111Introduction to Community Change and Engagement3
ED POL 113The Milwaukee Community3
ED POL 114Community Problems3
ED POL 203Communities and Neighborhoods in America3
ED POL 630Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy in Urban America3
GEOG 114Geography of Race in the United States3
GEOG 140Our Urban Environment: Introduction to Urban Geography3
GEOG 215Introduction to Geographic Information Science3
GEOG 441Geography of Cities and Metropolitan Areas3
GEOG 443Cities of the World: Comparative Urban Geography3
GEOG 464Environmental Problems3
GEOG 520Physical Geography of the City3
GEOG 525Geographic Information Science4
GEOG 540Globalization and the City3
GEOG 564Urban Environmental Change and Social Justice3
GEOG 625Intermediate Geographic Information Science4
HIST 192First-Year Seminar: (Living in Ancient Rome or The Burbs: History of American Suburbs)3
HIST 200Historical Roots of Contemporary Issues:3
HIST 303A History of Greek Civilization: The Greek City-State3
HIST 307A History of Rome: The Republic3
HIST 308A History of Rome: The Empire3
HIST 404Topics in American History: (Big City Life Viewed Through HBO’s 'The Wire' or A Tale of Two Cities: Milwaukee and Los Angeles)3
HIST 436Immigrant America Since 18803
HIST 440History of the American Working Classes3
HIST 446African Americans Since the Civil War3
HIST 450Growth of Metropolitan Milwaukee3
HIST 460The History of Poverty in America3
HIST 463History of the American City3
POL SCI 213Urban Government and Politics3
POL SCI 243Public Administration3
POL SCI 450Urban Political Problems3
POL SCI 452Administrative Law3
PUB ADM 243Public Administration3
PUB ADM 452Administrative Law3
SOC WRK 306Introduction to Social Welfare Policy3
SOC WRK 630Families and Poverty2-3
SOCIOL 224Race and Ethnicity in the United States3
SOCIOL 235Social Change in the Global Economy3
SOCIOL 323Perspectives on Latino Communities3
SOCIOL 324Race and Ethnicity in Global Contexts3
SOCIOL 325Social Change3
SOCIOL 330Economy and Society3
SOCIOL 350Environmental Sociology3
THEATRE 305The Theatrical Experience: (With topic: Out and About in Milwaukee)3

Letters & Science Advising

During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. Departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major while L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program.

College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:

  • assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
  • help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
  • assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
  • provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and 
  • monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.

Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:

  • help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department; 
  • explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and 
  • serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.

Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video. 

Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email let-sci@uwm.edu.

Accelerated Program Option

This program is offered as part of an accelerated bachelor's/master's program. For more information, see Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Honors in the College of Letters and Science

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.