Urban Studies Program

This is one of the best locations to learn about Urban Studies!

The Urban Studies program is an interdisciplinary major that provides you with the academic foundation to understand and be sensitive to the problems and potential of the city and their urban, suburban, and rural environment, and the importance of city growth management.

Location! Location! Location! 

The College of Charleston is nestled in the heart of the historic city of Charleston. This means the entire city becomes your campus laboratory. 

Through your major coursework, you'll study broad and comprehensive approaches related to urbanization. In addition to taking Urban Studies courses, you'll take classes in several interdisciplinary departments including, but not limited to:

  • History
  • Sociology.
  • Political Science


The Future of Cities and their Surrounding Environment - Urban Studies at the College of Charleston

The Battery, King Street, Marion Square and Waterfront Park are only a few of the places that make downtown Charleston unique.

Have you ever wondered how the revitalization of these places plays a role in the current character of the city of Charleston?

Have you ever thought about the significance of revitalization?

Have you ever meandered the city's streets and wondered how Charleston has been able to maintain its historic character while cultivating a city of growth?

Or you may have wondered how cities like Charleston go about balancing diverse community interests while meeting the pressing challenges of the 21st century, including growth and development, sustainability, demographic change, and housing and employment needs, among others?

Also, have you ever wondered how cities grow? You will learn about annexation, the formation of unincorporated areas into new cities and towns, urban growth boundaries, and planned (and unplanned) growth.


You'll learn how to understand the problems and potential of the city and its environment. A background in Urban Studies provides excellent preparation for a variety of careers in the public sector, (such as urban/city planners, program directors, project administrators and researchers in local, state and federal government), in the private sector, such as consulting firms, and also in nonprofit organizations.
  • Major in Urban Studies

    There are 3 concentrations available within the Urban Studies Program.

    Each concentration allows a more focused study of your area of emphasis, by taking courses in various departments, including, but not limited to:

    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Geography
    • Historic Preservation and Community Planning
    • Real estate
    • Statistics (Business, Psychological, or Sociological)
    • Research and Design (Political Science, Historic Preservation, Psychology, Sociology)

    In the Urban Planning and Administration Concentration, you will learn about theory and practice in urban, suburban, and rural planning, municipal/Local Government administration, and the importance of public and community input in the planning and zoning process and decision making. Internships, experiential learning, and research opportunities in public and private sector agencies and organizations, will help you gain hands-on, practical skills and insights as to the challenges and opportunities found in planning administration.

    In the Urban Policy and Social Problems Concentration, you will learn about the development of urban policies and social issues. Experiential learning in public and private sector agencies and organizations, internships, and research opportunities, will help you gain practical skills and insights to address the challenges and opportunities found in the creation and implementation of urban and social policies.

    The Sustainable Urbanism Concentration, focuses on the role of urban places in culture that foster sustainable and resilient societies in the 21st Century. With a focus on experiential learning, internships and research opportunities, you will gain practical skills and insights to address the challenges and opportunities that are found in urban, suburban, and rural environments. .

  • Minor in Urban Studies

    The Urban Studies Minor provides an overview of how to study cities and regions, particularly in the Lowcountry. It's also an opportunity to study one or two urban themes or topical areas in depth.

    You can study both the problems and prospects of cities, including topics such as crime and poverty. You'll also learn about city successes, such as what makes urban schools excel and what causes struggling districts to turn around. You'll learn what it takes to envision, build and maintain beautiful and functional neighborhoods, cities and surrounding and outlying regions.

    Because the Urban Studies minor is multidisciplinary, meaning that it draws courses from many different departments, it is well-suited as a complement to almost any program of study. You'll be well-prepared to see the "big picture" of real estate development, historic preservation efforts, economic processes including planning and development, as well as city administration and urban politics. 

  • Urban Studies Accelerated Program With MPA-Master’s In Public Administration
    Urban Studies Accelerated Program flyer

    The Urban Studies/MPA Accelerated Program will give eligible students the opportunity to apply and be accepted into the MPA Program, after completing 90 credit hours and take up to 12 credit hours of coursework that will count both toward your Urban Studies degree and the MPA degree.

    This Program offers an in-depth exploration of the complex dynamics of urban policy, law, administration, and planning.Many of our students find employment in fields such as city management, real estate, urban planning and design, zoning administration, economic development, and nonprofit management.