Designed for those interested in cities and the way urbanization shapes historical and contemporary processes of social and environmental change.

Program Options

Program Overview

If you’re reading these words, you are unique in the history of humanity and the planet.

You are part of the first generation to live in an urban world. While there are many individual cities that can be traced back hundreds or thousands of years, it was only a few years ago that the world crossed the fifty-percent threshold: for the first time ever, most people in the world live in an urban area.

Over the next century, all of the world’s net population growth will take place in urban regions, and nearly every aspect of economic, social, political, technological, and environmental change is urbanizing.

The challenges and opportunities of the world are now urban problems and possibilities, and debates about urban futures have only been heightened during the latest global health pandemic.

Cities are at the forefront of global responses to climate change; urban policy is seen as a key catalyst for transitioning to a sustainable and just society; and the data and technologies available to understand and shape urbanization are leaping forward – now, more than ever, we need people who are deeply trained to be citymakers.

Content goes here

I turned to geography and urban studies to reconcile my deep concern for the welfare of the world and to better understand the importance of sustainable development.

Victor Ngo
Urban Studies graduate

Students in Urban Studies explore questions such as:

  • How do different cities reflect different societies and histories? How do urban processes change societies through innovation, rural-to-urban migration, and social and political movements?
  • How have the cities produced through histories of industrial capitalism and colonialism shaped our relations to one another and to nature? How can today’s cities help create more sustainable and equitable futures?
  • How do cities concentrate the greatest achievements of human creativity — art, literature, technology, architecture, engineering — into legacies that shape the lives of future generations?
  • How are separate cities integrated into regional, national, and transnational networks through flows of people, commodities, money, and ideas?


Students taking the Major in Urban Studies will have a wide range of potential career paths after graduation, including:

  • Urban and regional planning
  • Local and federal government
  • Environmental design
  • Social and community service
  • City administration
  • Urban agriculture
  • Social policy research
  • Green building
  • Housing innovation
  • Decarbonization in cities
  • Public engagement consulting
  • Real estate and development

Funding Opportunities

There are a range of funding opportunities available for undergraduate students in the urban studies program.

Three scholarships have been endowed by his family in honour of Dr. Walter G. Hardwick, one of North America's leading urban geographers.

One scholarship of $1,350 is provided for a doctoral student in Urban Studies and two scholarships of $675 each are provided for outstanding undergraduate students in Urban Studies.

The awards are made on the recommendation of the Department of Geography and, in the case of the graduate scholarship, in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Two $1,000 bursaries are offered in honour of Robert S. Wyly, a distinguished urbanist whose career helped to set the standard for the creation of North America's suburban landscapes.

The bursaries are available to undergraduate students entering the second, third or fourth year of the Urban Studies Program.

A prize of $500 is awarded annually to the top academic student in lower-level required courses in the Urban Studies Program in the Faculty of Arts.

Preference will be given to a student from URST 200 or GEOG 250. The prize is made on the recommendation of the Chair of Urban Studies Coordinating Committee and the Department of Geography.

Quick Links