The program in Urban and Regional Studies (URST) 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.

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!

What can you do with a degree in Urban and Regional Studies?

Get more information on URST Career Planning.

  •  

    • Researching
    • Interpreting information
    • Strong interpersonal skills
    • Organizing projects and programs
    • Analyzing components of complex problems
    • Designing programs
    • Synthesizing complex issues
    • Understanding planning research
    • Analyzing policy
    • Creative thinking
    • Making decisions
    • Facilitating group dialogue
    • Presenting ideas and information clearly, both orally and in writing
    • Managing people, processes & projects

  • • Real Estate
    • Education
    • Public Policy/LawEnvironmental Policy & Planning
    • Non-profit Management
    • Urban Planning and Design
    • Historic Preservation
    • Economic Development
    • International Development
    • Neighborhood/CommunityDevelopment
    • Healthcare
    • Housing Advocacy
    • Social Services
    • Public Administration

  • • Urban/Regional Planner
    • Code Enforcement Planner
    • Land Management Planner
    • Research Planner
    • City Manager
    • Natural Resource Planner
    • Residence Counselor
    • Director of Accessibility Services
    • Policy Director
    • Senior Planner
    • Director of Community Development
    • Historic Preservation Specialist
    • Sustainability Planner
    • Economic Development Administrator
    • Principal Planner
    • Transportation Planner
    • Community Environmental Health Specialist
    • Project Development Officer
    • Facilities Development Specialist
    • Project Evaluator
    • Urban Renewal Administrator
    • Land Development Coordinator
    • Real Estate Analyst
    • Zoning Administrator

  • Graduate School Application Advice
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    MA in Planning and Sustainability
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Program Goals

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

Degree Requirements

Students may choose to pursue a major or a minor in Urban and Regional Studies. 

Students may also pursue a double major in Urban and Regional Studies and the following disciplines:

Learn more about CASL Degree Requirements.

  • The Urban and Regional Studies major requires the completion of 36 credits.  The majority of these credits are filled through courses in three separate tracks:

    • Track I Urban Problems and Policy
    • Track II Community Development, Culture and History
    • Track III Environment, Design and Space

    Students select one track from which they must take a specific number of credits.  They take the balance of their track-related credits from the other two tracks.  

    Students must also take a specific number of credits in academic-based community research through an internship, independent student, or upper-level courses designated as academic service-learning.

    The three-credit Urban and Regional Studies: Theory and Practice (URS 300) provides an introduction to urban and regional studies, and the three-credit Senior Capstone in Community Research (URS 450) rounds out the required URST courses.  Students take additional credits within a single academic discipline (i.e, cognate courses) to ensure a well-rounded understanding of urban issues and how to study and address them.

  • Students who wish to minor in URST must take URS 300 (Urban and Regional Studies: Theory and Practice) and four 3-credit upper division courses from the list of elective course with at least one course from each track. A list of specific courses is available on the CASL Advising and Records website.  See the link for minor requirements.  

  • URST program majors are required to complete 6 credit hours of community based research.  This can take the form of any combination of an Academic Internship, an Independent Study or an Academic Service Learning Course.

Internship, Co-op, and Research Opportunities

  • You can enroll in the Urban and Regional Studies Internship (URS 485) for any academic term.  In addition, other CASL internship programs (e.g. Public Affairs, History, Humanities, Economics, Sociology) can be selected, but the placement must be approved by the Urban and Regional Studies Director as well as the Academic Internship Director.  Contact the Urban and Regional Studies Director as soon as you start the process of choosing your Internship placement site.

    URS 485 Application Form

    Note that only the Internship component of the placement satisfies the community-based research requirement.  If there are additional credits associated with a Seminar (e.g. Public Affairs Internship), those credits do not count toward the community-based research requirement.  Also, note that CASL Co-op is not the same as a CASL Academic Internship and that a Co-op placement will not satisfy the community based research requirement.

  • URST program majors are required to complete 6 credit hours of community based research.  This can take the form of any combination of an Academic Internship, an Independent Study or an Academic Service Learning Course.

    Internship 

    Any CASL Internship program (e.g. Public Affairs, History, Humanities, Economics, Sociology) can be selected, but the placement must be approved by the Urban and Regional Studies Director as well as the Academic Internship Director.  Contact the Urban and Regional Studies Director as soon as you start the process of choosing your Internship placement site.

    Note that only the Internship component of the placement satisfies the community-based research requirement.  If there are additional credits associated with a Seminar (e.g. Public Affairs Internship), those credits do not count toward the community-based research requirement.  Also, note that CASL Co-op is not the same as a CASL Academic Internship and that a Co-op placement will not satisfy the community based research requirement.

    Independent Study

    You will need to select an independent study topic that is relevant to the field of urban and regional studies and also involves a community-based research opportunity.  The Director of Urban and Regional Studies can assist you in locating a faculty member who is willing and able to supervise your Independent Study. 

    More information on Academic Service Learning is available here.