Urban Studies

The Barnard–Columbia Urban Studies program enables students to explore and understand the urban experience in all of its richness and complexity. It recognizes the city as an amalgam of diverse peoples and their social, political, economic, and cultural interactions within a distinctive built environment. Students study the evolution and variety of urban forms and governance structures, which create opportunities for, as well as constrain, the exercise of human agency, individual and collective. They explore the place of the city in different historical and comparative contexts, as well as in the human imagination.

Majors build an intellectual foundation that combines interdisciplinary coursework and a concentration of study within a single field. Through the two-semester junior colloquium, students study urban history and contemporary issues, and at the same time hone their interdisciplinary, analytical and research skills. This shared experience prepares them for their independent research project in their senior year. We encourage our majors to use New York City as a laboratory, and many courses draw on the vast resources of the city and include an off-campus experience.

The Barnard–Columbia Urban Studies program offers courses in urban sociology, science and technology in urban environments, urban case studies in spacial analysis, community building and economic development, urban development, civic engagement, and social entrepreneurship.

For questions about specific courses, contact the department:

Program Office: 236 Milbank
212-854-4073
Office Hours: By appointment

Web: urban.barnard.edu


Directory of Classes

The course information displayed on this page relies on an external system and may be incomplete. Please visit Urban Studies on the Directory of Classes for complete course information.

After finding your course in the Directory of Classes, click on the section number to open an expanded view. The "Open To" field will indicate whether the course is open to School of Professional Studies students. If School of Professional Studies is not included in the field, students may still be able to cross-register for the course by obtaining permission after being admitted to an academic program.


URBS UN2200 Introduction to GIS. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Quantitative and Deductive Reasoning (QUA).

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. This course does not fulfill the C requirement for Urban Studies majors.

Due to the high demand for our limited-enrollment spatial analysis course (URBS V3200) the Urban Studies program is offering an introductory course to the fundamentals of GIS (Geographic Informational Systems), specifically for non-majors.Students create maps using ArcGIS software, analyze the physical and social processes presented in the digital model, and use the data to solve specific spatial analysis problems. Note: this course does not fulfill the C requirement in Urban Studies.

Fall 2017: URBS UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 2200 001/09245 M W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Maria Doneliza Joaquin 3 20/24
URBS 2200 002/09709 T Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
John Varamo 3 17/24
Spring 2018: URBS UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 2200 001/03078 T Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Qlab Sulzberger Hall
Benjamin Huff 3 24/24
URBS 2200 002/08357 M W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Thomas Waters 3 24/24

URBS UN3420 Introduction to Urban Sociology. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC II).

Prerequisites: Students must attend first class.

Examines the diverse ways in which sociology has defined and studied cities, focusing on the people who live and work in the city, and the transformations U.S. cities are undergoing today. Sociological methods, including ethnography, survey research, quantitative studies, and participant observation will provide perspectives on key urban questions such as street life, race, immigration, globalization, conflict, and redevelopment.

Spring 2018: URBS UN3420
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3420 001/08891 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
323 Milbank Hall
Aaron Passell 3 47/50

URBS UN3464 Urban Ecologies and Grand Infrastructure: Metropolitan Planning Issues. 3 points.

This lecture course is designed around different issues of metropolitan regions around the worlds that govern and plan urbanized, risky and vulnerable ecological systems and consequently large-scale urban interventions that change the landscapes of the regions. The reality of an age of drastic climate change and increasing number of natural disasters in urbanized regions raises issues of resilience and ecological governance. Metropolitan regions and the planning politics that lie beneath the regional plans and strategic initiatives are critical in the mitigation of some of these risks and in the understanding of regional politics. Historical and contemporary case studies will prepare the students to conduct their own critical analysis and reading of a case where several themes discussed in class will be further explored.

Spring 2018: URBS UN3464
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3464 001/08799 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
325 Milbank Hall
Sevin Yildiz 3 36/35

URBS UN3530 Urban Development: A Rubik's Cube of Policy Choices. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors. Only 16 admitted.

Using case studies, examines the rationale for urban development, the players involved and how decisions are made about the distribution of public and private resources. Studies the specific components of the development process and the myriad policy questions that large-scale development is meant to address. Examines the disconnect among stakeholders' objectives - the developer, the financial institution that pays for the project, the government and the community.

Spring 2018: URBS UN3530
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3530 001/02776 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
405 Barnard Hall
Susan Fine 4 16/16

URBS UN3545 Junior Colloquium: The Shaping of the Modern City. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section. General Education Requirement: Historical Studies.

Introduction to the historical process and social consequences of urban growth, from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present.

Fall 2017: URBS UN3545
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3545 001/01098 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Deborah Becher 4 14
URBS 3545 002/09802 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
227 Milbank Hall
Mary Rocco 4 11
URBS 3545 003/03273 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
405 Barnard Hall
Gergely Baics 4 16
URBS 3545 004/02874 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
102 Sulzberger Annex
Juan Rivero 4 8

URBS UN3546 Junior Colloquium: Contemporary Urban Issues. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Non-majors admitted by permission of instructor. Students must attend first class. Enrollment limited to 16 students per section.

Evaluation of current political, economic, social, cultural and physical forces that are shaping urban areas.

Fall 2017: URBS UN3546
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3546 001/09945 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
304 Hamilton Hall
Kathryn Yatrakis 4 15/16

URBS UN3565 Cities in Developing Countries: Problems and Prospects. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).

Prerequisites: Must attend first class for instructor permission. Preference to Urban Studies majors.

Examination of cities in developing countries, with a focus on environment, employment, and housing. Four cases will be studied: Sao Paulo, Brazil; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bombay, India; and Shanghai, China. We will consider urbanization patterns and the attendant issues, the impact of global economic trends, and governmental and non-governmental responses.

Fall 2017: URBS UN3565
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
URBS 3565 001/02941 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
405 Milbank Hall
Sevin Yildiz 3 66/80

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.