The program in Urban and Regional Studies (URST) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn provides opportunities for in-depth study of some of the major challenges facing individuals and groups living and working in major metropolitan regions such as Detroit.  These challenges include economic development; urban poverty and income inequality; preserving and promoting culture, architecture and art; land use conflicts; and the provision of adequate and sustainable transportation and housing services.  The focus of the URST program is to provide you with the knowledge, techniques and critical analytical skills that will enable you to effectively participate in changing your city and region.  

The URST program is interdisciplinary by design, meaning that courses draw upon a variety of traditional academic disciplines e.g. Anthropology, Economics, English, Geography, History and Sociology.  Students are encouraged to rigorously and creatively integrate the theory and methods learned in these courses.  In addition, a unique feature of the program is that students gain hands-on experience by working in the community through internship, academic service learning and/or community-based research.

Urban and Regional Studies Program Goals:

Integrative Knowledge

  • Describe the distinctive social, cultural, and spatial features of cities and illustrate their impacts on the urban experience.   Explain how the concept or meaning of a city varies in different historical and comparative contexts.
  • Explain the major processes of urbanization and features of urban life associated with contemporary Detroit.
  • Articulate the basic research questions and agendas associated with a particular discipline contributing to our understanding of urban issues.
  • Apply concepts or methods from more than one social science or adjacent discipline to analyze an urban issue or problem.
  • Articulate a well-defined research question, conduct independent research using primary sources and a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, and write a substantive research paper.
  • Explain the processes and goals of community-based participation in the development of programs and policies that contribute to the social, economic, political, and environmental improvement of their communities and cities.

Thematic Knowledge

  • Apply an understanding of urban issues to the development and critical analysis of programs and policies appropriate to addressing contemporary social and economic problems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and variety of urban forms and governance structures.
  • Identify and utilize appropriate primary data, including census materials, for the analysis of urban issues.
  • Apply basic skills of empirical reasoning to an urban program or problem.
  • Explain the impact of the natural environment and the built environment on patterns of urban growth, development and forms of social interaction.
  • Articulate an analysis of the implications of urbanization and urban policy in the context of social justice and sustainable environmental practices.

Foundational Skills

  • Communicate ideas effectively in written or oral form.
  • Explain and interpret information contained in maps.
  • Collaborate on research projects and presentations.

Pursuing a degree in Urban and Regional Studies at UM-Dearborn offers you the opportunity to combine real-world practice and theory.  Students can specialize in areas such as urban and regional policy, community development, urban design and the environment.

Help change the world (or your corner of it) by pursuing a degree in Urban and Regional Studies at UM-Dearborn!