making sense of the city

Consider urban space and its complexities with a minor in Urban Studies, or focusing on the Urban Studies track within the School of the environment as an Environmental Studies major. Through a variety of courses spanning sociology, history, economics, architecture and environmental studies, you'll explore the lived urban experience and gain perspective on the future of "the city." You’ll have the opportunity to flex your analytical skills and grow your research abilities, preparing you for a multitude of post-graduate experiences.

Student SpotlightBrooke Jarvis '24

majors: Writing and rhetoric, history  
minor: urban studies 

"Through the interdisciplinary framework of the Urban Studies program, I have been able to gain a deeper understanding of the history, politics, economy, and social relations of the urban world. Recently, I studied abroad in Berlin, Germany with Professor of Sociology Jack Harris, where I completed a project about urban development in the city after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the future, I hope to use the well-rounded perspectives I attained in this program to fight injustice and make change in the world."


Experiential EducationLived Experiences

Work with local organizations to connect with Geneva residents or attend lectures hosted by the Urban Studies Program, The School of the Environment, as well as The Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice to immerse yourself within the emerging possibilities – and pitfalls – of contemporary urban change in Geneva and beyond.

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.



No Borders:Global Education

Study city design in Italy or welfare issues in England.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.



Learn about the emergence, challenges and future solutions of life in the city.

urst 210 - gentrification

Introduce yourself to the already voluminous literature on gentrification, focusing on earlier debates of the 'classical' era, such as production vs consumption explanations, to more recent theoretical developments that include planetary gentrification, commercial/retail gentrification and advanced or super gentrification. 

bids 207 - contemporary american cities

Learn key concepts, terms and interdisciplinary approaches to studying the field of urban studies the the context of the television series The Wire.

soc 251 - Sociology of the city

Gain a basic introduction to urban life and culture by examining the development of the city in Western history. 

soc 253 - Global Cities

Explore the overarching concept of “the global city” developed in the aftermath of the restructuring of the world economy since the mid-1970s. 

HIST 264 – Modern European City 

Examine the emergence and development of new industrial cities, such as Manchester and Bochum, and the transformation of older administrative and cultural centers such as Paris and Vienna. 

ANTH 206 – Early Cities

Discover the manner in which humankind first came to live in cities. Explore the context of the general origins of complex society in both the Old and New Worlds.

Alum ImpactBuilding Community


Lauryn tabolt '22

Current Position: 
Community Development Specialist at NY Planning and Community Development 
Current Location:
Lewis County, NY  
Environmental Studies
Urban Studies, Sustainable Community Development

"I look back on my memories of HWS very fondly. I had amazing professors that genuinely cared and met lifelong friends in Theta Phi Alpha, which is the only sorority on campus. HWS helped prepare me for my current occupation by being so involved in the community and placing emphasis on having input from stakeholders whenever we did projects that were based specifically on Geneva. Professor of Sociology Ervin Kosta was always extremely supportive whether I was looking for advice academically or when I was looking for jobs and trying to decide what I wanted to do. I actually gained a ton from my independent study on climate resilience through urban studies, and I will be working on getting my county a county-wide resiliency plan."

Urban Studies students have gone on to work for the following companies:

  • AmeriCorps
  • Brookings Institution
  • City College of New York
  • City Year
  • GCC/IBT District Council 3 
  • Glasow Simmons Architecture LLP
  • Lettuce Entertain You, LLC.
  • M&T Bank
  • Morgan Stanley 
  • NYC Department of Transportation 
  • Pacific Coast Banking School 
  • PepsiCo, Inc.
  • Skidmore, Owings and Merrill 
  • Stoel Rives LLP
  • Vinco Properties