Urban Studies

Graduate Program

Urban Studies

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Urban Studies Master's Degree Overview

The Master of Urban Studies (MUS) program is a 52-credit graduate program that gives students skills to study and interpret urban phenomena from a variety of social science perspectives. The substantive knowledge and analytical skills provide excellent preparation for employment in public agencies, private firms, and non-profit organizations. Since the core curriculum of the MUS program mirrors that of the Urban Studies Ph.D. program, MUS students can make a relatively easy transition into the doctoral program, if they apply and are accepted. In any case, the MUS program is academically focused on researching issues in the urban setting.

Students in this program delve into such things as problems associated with growing social and economic inequalities between different places and population groups within the metropolitan region; environmental problems related to the prevailing pattern of urbanization; the lack of effective institutions of regional governance; and challenges such as unemployment, affordable housing and gentrification, environmental and food justice, and sustainable transportation.

The program explores these issues from multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary points of view. Through participation in classes and seminars, and supervised research activities, MUS graduates are prepared to work in applied research and community-based advocacy settings.

Urban Studies Doctorate Overview

We offer two doctoral degree programs to train students seeking advanced knowledge of urban topics and research skills: the Ph.D. in Urban Studies and the Ph.D. in Urban Studies: Regional Science. Our doctoral students join a select group of leaders passionate about solving the major issues of today’s communities.

Both interdisciplinary programs contain the same core requirements centered around understanding the evolution of metropolitan communities and urban lifestyles, along with grounding students in research and analysis.

Students in the Ph.D. Urban Studies program apply a variety of social science perspectives to the analysis of the growth and development of metropolitan areas, states, and regions. To augment the core Ph.D. course requirements, these doctoral students pursue two of the following specializations: Planning, Community Development, Economic Development, Environment, Gerontology, Social Demography, or Transportation.

The Ph.D. Urban Studies program explores these issues from multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary points of view.

Regional Science brings a variety of social science perspectives to bear in analyzing the growth and development of metropolitan areas, states and regions. The regional science program shares the same core requirements as the Urban Studies Ph.D. Beyond these, students in regional science design a program around two field areas.

The first field should be Transportation or Economic Development unless an alternate field is approved by the student's committee. The second field should emphasize methodology and coursework specific to Regional Science. This field will be developed by the student and advisory committee.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
Online:
100% online
Flexible:
Combination of online and on campus
  • M
    Masters
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    52
    Start Term
    Fall
  • D
    Doctorate
    Locations
    On campus
    Total Credits
    99
    Start Term
    Fall

Urban Studies Master's Degree or Doctorate: Why PSU?

Home to the nation’s oldest continuously operating program in urban studies, nationally recognized graduate programs, and four centers for research and innovation, the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning provides an interdisciplinary program that equips students for careers in urban planning, real estate development, community development, sustainability, urban research and higher education, working in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

What can I do with a master's degree or doctorate in Urban Studies?

Master of Urban Studies graduates generally work in applied research and community-based advocacy settings. Some MUS students also choose to continue their studies in the Urban Studies Ph.D. program. Since the core curriculum of the MUS program mirrors that of the Urban Studies Ph.D. program, MUS students can make a relatively easy transition into the doctoral program.

Through participation in classes and seminars, and supervised research and teaching activities, Ph.D. students are prepared for careers in institutions of higher education and in research organizations. Our graduates pursue academic and professional careers, most often in the fields of applied social research.

Core Requirements

  • USP 613 Urban Economic and Spatial Structure
  • USP 614 History and Theory of Urban Studies
  • USP 617 The Sociology and Politics of Urban Life
  • USP 630 Research Design
  • USP 634 Data Analysis I
  • USP 683 Qualitative Analysis
  • USP 607 Urban Studies Seminar

Doctoral specializations are available in the following areas of advanced interdisciplinary study: planning, community development, policy analysis, gerontology, social demography, economic development, environment and transportation.

MUS students also complete in-depth studies in a specialty field area and conduct original research that leads to a written thesis and oral defense. The field area may be either one of those described below or a self-designed area of specialization that is negotiated with the thesis committee chair. Recommended field areas include Community Development, Economic Development, Transportation, Environment, Gerontology, and Social Demography.

Accreditation

Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).