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Ph.D. in Urban Studies: Core Curriculum and Field Areas

Core Curriculum

  • USP 613 Urban Economic and Spatial Structure (3)
  • USP 614 History and Theory of Urban Studies (3)
  • USP 617 Sociology and Politics of Urban Life (3)
  • USP 630 Research Design (4)
  • USP 634 Data Analysis (4)
  • USP 683 Qualitative Analysis (4)
  • USP 697 Urban Studies Seminar (4)

 

The first three courses listed introduce the student to the basic ideas, concepts, and theories about urban development and urban life. This helps students position their own interests within the larger field of urban studies. The following three courses introduce the student to the range of methods appropriate to the field and serve as a starting point from which the student is expected to take advanced courses in quantitative and qualitative methods. The Urban Studies Seminar, taken in the beginning of the second year, engages the student in hands-on social science research, producing a research design proposal appropriate for the student's interests and degree.

See 600-level Courses for course descriptions.


Ph.D. Field Areas

Specializations are available in the following areas of advanced interdisciplinary study: Planning, Community Development, Economic Development, Environment, Gerontology, Social Demography and Transportation. Each doctoral student selects two fields of specialization, at least one of which should be chosen from among those listed above. A student-nominated field, developed in conjunction with School faculty, may be offered as a second specialization. Faculty groups work closely with students to develop coherent specializations that prepare each individual to do research in that field. Doctoral students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination over their two fields.

Planning
Community Development
Economic Development
Environment
Gerontology
Social Demography
Transportation


Planning

Planning focuses on the development and implementation of mechanisms for organizing social, economic, political and environmental change at the local, state and regional levels. The field includes study of the relationships and interactions among public and private institutions, organizations, citizens, and landscapes; the design of processes for facilitating dialogue among public actors; and the tools for planning analysis and evaluation.

Required Courses:

  • USP 540 History and Theory of Planning
  • USP 541 Dynamics of Planning Practice
  • USP 607 Planning Theory Seminar
  • USP 616 Cities in the Global Political Economy
  • USP 689 Advanced Urban Politics and Sociology
  • Appropriate methods courses

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Community Development

Community Development deals with the dynamics of neighborhood and community formation and change and with public policies that address the needs of groups and places within contemporary society. Within the broad field of Community Development, students can address such topics as ethnic and neighborhood history, housing and economic development, the roles of public and nonprofit institutions in community building, mediation and conflict resolution, changing patterns and systems of communication, and the changing meanings of place.

  • USP 528 Concepts of Community Development
  • USP 607 Community Development Seminar
  • USP 616 Cities in the Global Political Economy
  • USP 689 Advanced Urban Politics and Sociology
  • Appropriate methods courses

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Economic Development

Economic Development is concerned with the factors that lead to differential rates of economic development at various spatial scales: within and between nations, states, regions, cities, and neighborhoods. In analyzing these differences, issues such as the meaning of economic development, who gains and who loses from various changes, as well as analysis of policies to promote economic development, are addressed. The Center for Urban Studies and Institute for Portland Metropolitan Studies offer research opportunities in this field.

Required Courses:

  • USP 517 Urban Economic Development Policy
  • USP 615 Economic Analysis of Public Policy
  • USP 672 Regional Economic Development
  • Choose One:
    • USP 591 Geographic Information Systems I
    • USP 654 Data Analysis II
  • Choose Two:
    • USP 510 Urban Labor Markets
    • USP 510 Making It Local: Strategies for an Economy of Place
    • USP 546 Real Estate Development II
    • USP 551 Community Economic Development
    • USP 569 Sustainable Cities and Regions
    • USP 570 Transportation and Land Use
    • USP 578 Impact Assessment
    • USP 579 State and Local Public Finance
    • USP 588 Sustainable Development Practices
    • USP 590 Green Economics and Sustainable Development
    • USP 616 Cities in the Global Political Economy

    Appropriate additional methods courses

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    Environment

    This field area is in development. Courses may be selected from the following regularly listed and periodically offered  special topic offerings, in consultation with field area faculty:

    • USP 571 Environmental Policy
    • USP 569 Sustainable Cities and Regions
    • USP 588 Sustainable Development Practices
    • USP 518 Energy and Society
    • USP 584 Negotiation in the Public Sector
    • USP 549 Regional Planning and Metropolitan Growth Management
    • USP 529 Green Buildings I
    • USP 590 Green Economics and Sustainable Development
    • USP 510 Socio-Technical Systems in the City
    • USP 582 Sustainable Transportation
    • USP 510 Urban Political Ecology
    Plus appropriate advanced and/or specialized methods courses

    Gerontology

    Gerontology addresses the social issues, problems, policies, and programs that affect the quality of life for our rapidly aging population. Students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty on publicly and privately funded research at the College's highly regarded Institute on Aging. Adult development and aging is approached from a multidisciplinary and collaborative perspective.

    Required Courses:

    • PHE 558/658 Perspectives on Aging

    Aging-specific electives (five required if Gerontology is 1st field; four if 2nd field):

    • USP 564 Political and Administrative Issues in Aging
    • USP 585 Housing and Environments for the Elderly
    • NURS 672 Introduction to Family Caregiving for Older People (at OHSU)
    • PHE 556 Health Aspects of Aging
    • PHE 657 National Long Term Care Policy
    • PHE 659 Economics of Aging
    • PSY 562 Psychology of Adult Development and Aging
    • SOC 569 Sociology of Aging
    • Appropriate methods courses

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    Social Demography

    Social Demography provides training in the tools of demographic analysis, with particular attention to the methods of data collection, techniques of demographic analysis, and the interpretation of research findings. Social demography involves the use of the principles and methods of demography in decision making and planning in both public and private settings. Graduates in the field of social demography use demographic data to identify and analyze important population trends and their consequences while working in government agencies, research organizations, and corporations.

    For information on the Social Demography field area, please contact Assistant Professor Jason Jurjevich at Jason.Jurjevich@pdx.edu.

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    Transportation

    The Transportation field includes planning, policy, forecasting, measurement and evaluation of multimodal transportation infrastructure and systems. The multidisciplinary field covers all modes of passenger and freight transport and includes the holistic study of relationships and interactions of the transportation systems with land use, the region, the economy, the environment, institutions, the community, and people. Students can address topics such as impacts of transportation on land use and land values, the relationships between urban form and travel behavior, the costs and benefits of transport facilities, the operation of transportation facilities, equity impacts of transport and the effects of transportation plans and policies, among others. There are opportunities to work on research through the Center for Urban Studies and the Center for Transportation Studies.

    Required Courses:

    • USP 537 Economics of Urban Transportation
    • USP 544 Urban Transportation Planning
    • USP 556 Urban Transportation: Problems and Policies
    • USP 570 Transportation and Land Use
    • USP 654 Data Analysis II
    • Choose One:
      • USP 510 Discrete Choice Modeling
      • USP 655 Advanced Data Analysis: Structural Equation Modeling
      • USP 656 Advanced Data Analysis: Multilevel Regression
    • Choose Two:
      • USP 510 Sustainable Transportation
      • USP 543 Geographic Applications to Planning
      • USP 565 Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning
      • USP 578 Impact Assessment
      • USP 579 State and Local Public Finance
      • USP 587 Travel Demand Modeling
      • CE 550 Transportation Safety Analysis
      • CE 553 Freight Transportation and Logistics
      • CE 555 Intelligent Transportation Systems
      • CE 558 Public Transportation Systems
      • CE 559 Transportation Operations
      • Appropriate additional methods courses

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