Undergraduate Urban Studies Minor
Seeking Solutions to Pressing Urban Issues in Partnership with Chicago Communities
Chicago: Our Complex Urban World
The greater Chicago area has approximately 6,000,000 people living, working, and playing together in relatively close quarters. Residents and workers of various racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds strive simultaneously to enjoy a high quality of life. Yet, the complexity of urban life—politically, socially, educationally and economically—has tremendous bearing on these efforts. Problems and solutions emerge in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
The program in Urban Studies provides you with an unusual opportunity to gain an understanding of how a city works and how people negotiate life in an urban environment not only by studying social, political, economic, and cultural institutions in Chicago, but also by getting involved in research projects with community organizations seeking solutions to pressing urban issues. Through discussion, readings, guest presentations, community tours and, especially, your work on team research projects, you will contribute to developing sound, new social policy and programmatic alternatives with an eye towards an improved quality of life for Chicago area residents and workers.
The Urban Studies Minor
Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary program of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students must complete 18 hours of credit to earn a minor. Course offering are drawn from multiple disciplines across the university, including sociology, psychology, history, philosophy, criminal justice, economy, environmental studies, and political science. The distinctive capstone of the minor consists of two courses: urban studies seminar and urban studies research. In urban studies seminar, students learn about contemporary urban policy from readings, discussions, guest speakers, and neighborhood tours. In urban studies research, students contribute to a collaborative project through work with graduate students, faculty, community organizations, and government agencies.
The General track gives students a broad introduction into themes and issues within the broader field of Urban Studies. As an interdisciplinary minor, students in the General track are able to select from several disciplinary lenses to better understand urban areas and the issues they face. In addition, students will – in the capstone research course – contribute to active solutions to many of the issues facing local communities.
Environmental Sustainability Track
The Urban Studies Minor sustainability track will focus on issues related to sustainability in the urban environment. The track will provide students with links among social and physical dimensions of the urban environment. This holistic approach will look at issues ranging from transportation, housing and food security to clean water and air issues. By studying social research and engaging with the city through environmental projects, students will gain a deep understanding of sustainable policy solutions that bridge social science and natural science approaches.
How Does Urban Studies Fit into My Career Interests?
Urban Studies is open to undergraduate students at Loyola University Chicago who are enrolled in the College of Arts and Science or any of the schools of the university. Students from a wide range of majors and minors will find Urban Studies directly relevant to their career paths. Combined with your major, the Urban Studies Minor provides the additional complementary skills and knowledge work in fields such as social service, education, community organizing, business, law, politics, government, and environmental advocacy among others.
Given the research team experience you receive through the Urban Studies Seminar – working together with faculty, graduate students, other undergraduates, and community partners -- the minor also provides a distinctive research opportunity that helps undergraduates distinguish themselves when applying to graduate and professional schools. Urban Studies students have worked on many of CURL's research projects over the years.
Many Urban Studies students are also selected for one of the paid CURL Undergraduate Fellowship positions which provide stipends during the academic year and sometimes during the summer.
Enroll in the Minor
Students who want to declare a minor should go to LOCUS and follow the instructions for declaring minor. When they graduate, their Urban Studies minor will be noted on their official Loyola transcript. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with Mr. Van Zytveld or Dr. Nyden, to discuss participation and application of credit towards degree requirements.
Non-Minors Interested in the Capstone Courses
All of the courses in the Urban Studies minor are open to non-minors as well. In particular, students who wish to enroll in the capstone course – Urban Seminar (SOCL/PLSC 335) and Urban Research (URB 397) - should go to LOCUS and enroll for SOCL/PLSC 335. Then email Mr. Van Zytveld and Dr. Nyden, the Director of the Urban Studies minor, who will complete their LOCUS registration for URB 397. Please note that space is limited in the Urban Semester courses, so students who register earlier have priority over students who register later.
Non-Loyola Students Interested in the Program
Students not currently enrolled at Loyola are welcome to participate in Urban Studies but must first be admitted to Loyola. Please contact David Van Zytveld to discuss the best way to expedite admission to the university before applying to the Urban Studies program.
Mr. David Van Zytveld
Associate Director, Center for Urban Research & Learning
Cuneo Hall, Room 415
Dr. Philip Nyden
Director of Urban Studies
Cuneo Hall, Room 413
Center for Urban Research and Learning
Loyola University Chicago
Cuneo Hall, 4th Floor
6430 N. Kenmore Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660