Urban Studies


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***Effective for students matriculating in the fall of 2014 and later, the Urban Studies major is under review and is not being offered at this time. The Urban Studies MINOR is still available. Please consult the department website and online catalogue for updated information.***

The urban studies program is multidisciplinary, using a variety of analytical methods to study the life and problems of cities. The primary subject areas for the major are anthropology/sociology, economics, history, and political science. However, courses in art, English, classics, and American studies are also relevant and give the student additional perspectives on urbanization beyond those offered in the three basic departments.

The program offers an interdisciplinary minor.



If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in urban studies or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 5 courses

BIDS 229 Two Cities: New York and Toronto; two Core Courses from two different disciplines; and two courses from different disciplines from the program list (below), one of which must be an upper level (300 or higher) course.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of the many facets of Urban Studies.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Urban Studies a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

ECON 213 Urban Economics


Learn about the basic problems of urban areas in the United States at the present time, and analyze the hierarchy of cities in the U.S., market areas, and location. Also, delve into the economic issues concerned with urban housing, poverty, transportation, and finances. Next, take ANTH 298 Modern Japan to see how the U.S. compares to Japan's growing economy and society.


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. Learn about the ways in which contrasting visions of the city were expressed and embodied in city planning, reform movements, and the arts. Continue exploring European culture by taking EUST 101 Foundations of European Studies I: Antiquity to Renaissance.


ANTH 206 Early Cities


Discover the manner in which humankind first came to live in cities, and view the context of the general origins of complex society in both the Old and New Worlds. Learn about early urban forms in different parts of the world, and become familiar with the methods used by archaeologists to study such phenomena. Then, switch gears and take BIDS 229 Two Cities: New York and Toronto to explore hands-on two modern cities like you've never seen them before.




Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.