Urban Studies (M.A.)

The Urban Studies program at Fordham University is a unique, 16-month interdisciplinary M.A. program, which introduces students to post-graduate academic learning about urban history, policy, social issues, minority representation, immigration, economics, transit, and design, while also encouraging them to seek out the urban experience. Located right in the heart of New York City, and serving two campuses (the Bronx and Manhattan), the Urban Studies program represents an exceptional fusion of town & gown. We encourage our students to engage in academic thinking and learning, while also confronting the socioeconomic and political realities of the city and its communities. 

During the first year of their studies, our M.A. students complete the core courses, which are intended to lay an interdisciplinary foundation for their own research projects. During the summer, and the last semester of their studies, our students can pursue their own special "menu" of courses while completing their field research and writing their thesis. We accommodate full- and part-time students, and offer a limited amount of merit-based funding for new applicants. 

Urban Studies M.A. graduates work in community organizing, education, and local and state politics; they start their own businesses, or pursue urban planning, doctoral, or law degrees. To accommodate part-time students, field research, and internships, all of our core classes are offered after 5 p.m. For their electives, students can create their own schedules, during the day or the evenings, and choose between the Manhattan and the Bronx campuses. They can also take advantage of a broad range of courses from economics, history, political science, sociology, and many more.

Depending on the number of courses taken each semester, the degree is a three- or four-semester program for full-time students (for example, three semesters plus field work in the summer).

The degree requires completion of 36 credits and a formal master's thesis. Three core courses establish a common base of knowledge and research skills, in addition to field work and a research project. Students then complete seven elective courses across a variety of disciplines depending on their individual interests.

Course Title Credits
Core Courses
URST 5000Issues in Urban Studies3
URST 5020Urban Political Processes3
URST 6200Research Skills in Urban Studies3
Required Fieldwork/Thesis Writing Courses
URST 6080Urban Studies Fieldwork 13
URST 6999Urban Studies Research 13
Seven elective courses 221
M.A. Thesis Completion 2
Total Credits36

Please note:

  • At least three credits each of URST 6080 Urban Studies Fieldwork and URST 6999 Urban Studies Research are required.  In some exceptional circumstances, additional credits of URST 6080 and/or URST 6999 may be taken towards the elective requirement with special permission of the Urban Studies director.
  • Students do not need to take all three credits of URST 6080 and URST 6999 as three-credit courses, but may complete the three credits of each course in smaller increments, if desired.
  • Urban Studies graduate students must enroll in URST 6080 Urban Studies Fieldwork and URST 6999 Urban Studies Research under the supervision of a thesis adviser.
  • The thesis adviser may be any full-time faculty member affiliated with the Urban Studies program. Students must obtain the permission of their chosen thesis adviser, as well as the program director, before enrolling in these classes. 
  • Students complete the field work research for their master's thesis in New York City or in another large-scale city in the United States or abroad. It may be completed during the academic year or the summer.
  • Before registering for field work, a student must complete the core courses listed above and be in good academic standing. The thesis adviser or the Urban Studies director must approve and monitor all field work research. The field study must be directly related to the student’s master's thesis.

Electives can be choose from any graduate-level Urban Studies course or any course with the URSG attribute, listed below.

Urban Studies Electives offered by other departments

Courses in this group have the URSG attribute.

Course Title Credits
BISC 5511Conservation Law and Policy3
CEED 6010Research Ethics and Soc Justic3
ECON 5015Economic Development Policy3
HIST 6531Bombay–Shanghai–London4
HUST 5350Climate Change in the West African Sahel: Impact on Water and Migration3
PMMA 5106Race, Gender, and Digital Media3
POSC 5140Themes in Urban Public Policy and Power3
POSC 5500Comparative Pol Analysis3
POSC 6530Political Economy of Development3
PSYC 6010Research Ethics and Social Justice3
SOCI 6100Classical Social Theory3
URST 5091Art Communities and Urban Aesthetics4
VART 5555Urban Film Video Production3

Admission Requirements

Candidates for the M.A. in Urban Studies are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited college or university. Completed applications will include each of the following items:

  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of intent: up to 500 words
  • Three letters of recommendation: from professors or employers, submitted directly by referees
  • Writing sample: 5 to 7 pages (maximum)
  • Official degree transcripts: Transcripts confirming prior degree conferral are required for all applicants, regardless of matriculation status. These should be ordered at least one month prior to the application deadline for your program of interest. You may upload unofficial copies of your transcripts to your application while the Office of Admissions awaits receipt of your official transcripts.
  • English proficiency: International applicants whose native language is not English are required to complete and submit to GSAS prior to matriculation their official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). GSAS will also consider a student's International English Language Testing System (IELTS)—Cambridge English Proficiency Level language testing results.

The GRE is not required, unless you are interested in applying for financial aid. 

For more information about admissions to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, please visit their page on the Fordham website.