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Urban and Regional Studies, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in urban planning and policy

Special requirements

Proof of competency with Excel software is a prerequisite for URSP/GEOG 306, and GEOG 204 (or permission of instructor) is a prerequisite for URSP/ENVS/GEOG 332.

The Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies requires 120 credits, including 40 credits within the major. The program is designed so that students may enter as late as their junior year and provides a solid foundation for professional work or advanced study aimed at addressing some of the most important challenges and issues facing the U.S. and other world regions, such as urban sprawl, economic marginalization, ethnic and racial conflict and environmental degradation. The program covers a wide range of topics related to these issues, including transportation, housing, land use, environmental management, regional and international development, human-environment interaction, globalization and socioeconomic change. Students can focus on the subject matter of their interest by choosing to concentrate in either urban planning and policy or regional analysis and development; alternatively they may opt for a generalized course of study. Nine core courses and a lab (28 credits total) are required for all majors. These courses provide fundamental background knowledge in an array of disciplines that form the foundations of urban and regional studies, such as urban planning and design, human and physical geography, economics, environmental management, urban and public policy, and geographic information systems. Students complete their remaining 12 credits within one of the two concentrations or through a generalized course of study.

The program helps develop a theoretical and methodological background as well as analytical skills that can be used to address a wide range of issues and problems. Students acquire marketable skills in qualitative and quantitative analysis, computer usage, problem solving and communication — as well as a broad perspective on environment and society — that are essential for many occupations.

The concentration in urban planning and policy involves an examination of the evolution of urban areas, urban governments and economies, the relationship between urban activities and the natural environment, land use and the built environment, urban culture and social dynamics, and policies and planning strategies for improving urban socioeconomic and environmental conditions. Students have the opportunity to explore and develop plans and policy strategies aimed at revitalizing communities, preventing urban sprawl, fostering environmental sustainability and alleviating poverty.

Degree requirements for Urban and Regional Studies, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in urban planning and policy

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

Multi-disciplinary understanding of urban and regional dynamics, and other factors:
Students will develop a multidisciplinary understanding of urban life, including the following aspects: (1) the urbanization process in modern America; (2) urbanization in other cultures and in non-contemporary periods; (3) urban design and the built environment; (4) urban economic geography; (5) urban demographics and urban sociology; (6) the relationship of the natural environment to urbanization and the built environment; (7) urban politics; (8) urban finance; (9) urban problems and planning as a response; (10) links between urban studies-related disciplines.

Mastery of general and major-specific skills:
Students will develop the skills necessary to function as a well-rounded, educated citizen, as well as skills useful in urban analysis, planning and community development careers, specifically: (1) oral communication; (2) written communication; (3) quantitative analysis; (4) library research; (5) cause and effect reasoning; (6) organized presentation of ideas; (7) scientific method; (8) critical and independent thinking; (9) computer proficiency; (10) ability to work in groups; (11) graphic communication; (12) analysis of data in map form; (13) government documents research.

Ethics and sense of social and personal responsibility:
Students will develop a strong ethical foundation and a sense of social and personal responsibility, including how to: (1) understand and respect the complex notions of the public good; (2) evince sensitivity to human needs and to working toward a humane and democratic society; (3) recognize and understand ethical dimensions of social conflict, make reasoned judgments to resolve conflicts and be willing to take appropriate action; (4) understand and appreciate diverse cultural perspectives; (5) understand and adhere to ethical standards of professional behavior.

General Education requirements (32-46 credits) Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
   
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)  
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
Approved H&S general education electives 6-8
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)  
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)  
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)  
Experiential fine arts (course offered by the School of the Arts) 1-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement) 0-8
   
Collateral requirements (3 credits)  
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
   
Major requirements (40 credits)  
GEOG 102 Introduction to Human Geography 3
GEOG 204 Physical Geography 3
GEOZ 204 Physical Geography Laboratory 1
URSP 108 Uncovering Richmond, URSP 116 Introduction to the City or URSP 120 Urban Issues in Film 3
URSP 302 Land Use and Infrastructure Planning 3
URSP 306 Urban Economic Geography 3
URSP 313 Urban Research and Field Methods in Urban and Regional Studies 3
URSP/GEOG 332 Environmental Management 3
URSP 360 Community and Regional Analysis and GIS 3
URSP 440 Senior Capstone Seminar in Urban and Regional Studies 3
Urban planning and policy concentration electives 12
   
Open electives (31-45 credits)  
Open electives 31-45
   
Total minimum requirement 120

Urban planning and policy concentration electives

(choose four as directed, a minimum of 12 credits, from the following):

URSP 310 Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning (required)
URSP 541 Urban Public Policy-making Processes (required)

Choose two of the following:
URSP 245 Housing and Community Revitalization
URSP 261 Design of the City
URSP 315 The Evolution of American Cities
URSP 322 Urban Finance
URSP/GEOG/INTL 340 World Cities Outside of North America
URSP 350/INTL 345/FRLG 345 Great Cities of the World
URSP 461 Applied Planning Studio
URSP 517 Historic Preservation in Planning
URSP 525 Site Planning and Graphics
URSP 567 The American Suburb

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]

 

 

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
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Last update: 5/9/2013

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