Urban Studies

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

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What you will learn in this program

Urban Studies scholars ask questions such as: Why do people live in cities? Can homelessness be eliminated? Does public art reduce crime rates?

Urban Studies is a broad interdisciplinary program designed to provide an integrated understanding of the social, political, economic, environmental and cultural processes that shape urban life, with particular attention paid to how these processes operate in space and time. Cities are sites of great cultural and ethnic diversity, economic innovation and inequality, cultural expression, resource consumption, wealth generation, and political conflict and cooperation. Today most developed societies are predominantly urban, even as global processes increasingly shape them. The processes that shape urban life play a critical role in shaping the sustainability of societies. Indeed, it is impossible to understand sustainability issues without understanding the organization of cities. The Urban Studies program provides a strong background for students interested in working in both public and private sector fields including urban and regional planning, public policy, architecture, environmental design, economic development, city administration, social services, cultural programming, urban politics, law, and education.

Career opportunities

​As an Urban Studies graduate, you'll be prepared for career opportunities in areas such as the civil service, the non-profit sector, and the business world. A degree in Urban Studies can also be used as a stepping-stone to graduate studies or another professional degree such as law, medicine, veterinary medicine, or education.

Courses you'll take:

Introduction to Geospatial Methods, Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, The Gendered City, The Human Environment, ​Introduction to Cities

Admission requirements and information

View the admission and application requirements for this program.

See requirements on the Office of the Registrar site.

Important dates and deadlines

Program Highlights

Program enhancements

Arts and Science Honours Academy (ASHA) - A six-course interdisciplinary program with a second language aspect and travel components.

Work experience

Co-operative work placement - Gain valuable full-time paid work experience that alternates with your academic studies.

Program enhancements

Honours Degree - In-depth study of a specific topic completed under the supervision of a faculty member.

Hands-on opportunities

Field school - Discipline-specific classes taken in real-world settings, and involving hands-on course work.

I appreciated the opportunity in urban studies to explore a variety of disciplines, to help me decide what kind of work I want to do, and to know how to approach problems with a number of different skill sets. The material was relevant, addressing pressing social issues. Through an internship at City of Calgary planning, I also established great connections with planners who taught in the program and fellow students now in exciting careers.

Kylee van der Poorten, urban studies alum

Did you know? You can earn two degrees in five years. Learn more about combined degree program options.

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Guided by a current student, you'll explore our classrooms, residences, athletic facilities, and more.

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Your cost

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Urban Studies is a broad, interdisciplinary program that brings together all the processes that shape cities. I’ve worked as an urban planner and done urban research in Europe and North America. One of my favourite courses to teach is our annual field school, which takes students to multiple European countries to examine cutting-edge urban sustainability initiatives. It’s a great way to learn about a world of possibilities and bring new ideas back to Calgary.

​Byron Miller, PhD — Adjunct Associate Professor

Join our community in fall 2018

We'll be accepting applications to attend the University of Calgary in fall 2018 starting on Sunday, October 1, 2017. You'll be able to submit an application until Thursday, March 1, 2018. Check out our student experience page to find out more about what life is like on campus or consider visiting campus for a tour led by one of our current students.

Learn about the student experience

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Urban studies gives you the opportunity to see how many different disciplines contribute to making great cities and great places. I like how projects provide applicable experience. For example, I worked with a Calgary community on a community-visioning project. When the assignment was complete, I was able to continue volunteering with the community’s development committee and worked on their community character statement, as well as an overlay for their current area redevelopment plan.

Erin Foster, urban studies student

Faculty Information

Faculty of Arts
Arts Students' Centre, Social Sciences Building, Room 102
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
403.220.3580