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 Core Courses: Learning Objectives

URS 300 - Urban and Regional Studies: Theory and Practice

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • recognize the main objective of the author and summarize her/his argument.
  • distinguish between different disciplinary perspectives in the social sciences and humanities.
  • identify the major changes shaping patterns of urban settlement in western and non-western societies.
  • explain the effects of urban design and the built environment on human behavior and patterns of social interaction.
  • specify a research topic; plan and outline a research agenda; identify and evaluate research sources; and write a research paper.

URS 450 - Senior Capstone in Urban and Regional Studies

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • gain experience in research that is academically rigorous but also useful to a community or neighborhood organization; develop research goals and questions in collaboration with community members.
  • understand the history of urban neighborhood organizing in the U.S., the development of neighborhood organizing in response to different economic and political contexts, and how under-served or marginalized communities can effect change.
  • build and exercise skills in defining research projects, working as part of a team as well as an individual, reporting research outcomes, and drawing appropriate conclusions based on that research.
  • design a qualitative-based research project.
  • collect qualitative data through interviews, textual analysis, and focus groups.
  • analyze qualitative research data.
  • collaborate on research goals, data collection, analysis, and presentations.
  • effectively present data and analysis to community partners and university community.
  • recognize and assess community needs, politics, and organizations.
  • relate community issues to course the field of urban studies.
  • analyze and think critically through reading, discussion, and writing.

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!