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Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Urban and Community Studies BS

A man is begging for food in front of a fast food restaurant in Madrid, Spain. Photo by David Dennis As of Fall 2013, Urban and Community Studies will no longer be offered as a separate degree. Instead, the same coursework in Urban Studies will be a specialization within the broader Sociology and Anthropology B.S. degree. This new development enhances students' analytical abilities and opens up new vistas and career opportunities. Students who have already enrolled in the Urban and Community Studies degree will be able to finish their degrees just as planned.

Eighty percent of U.S. residents work, learn and raise families in metropolitan areas. Countries around the world are rapidly urbanizing, and the urban populations of the world are linked participants in a global economic and cultural system. Cities are constellations of diverse people with special talents and backgrounds, creating opportunity, intellectual and artistic stimulation, and entertainment for residents. Cities also present challenges regarding land use, access to resources, cross-cultural communication, pollution, crowding, and traffic. The prominence and interdependence of today's urban landscape create a pressing need for individuals who possess the skills, aptitude, and commitment to create sustainable cities and communities.

With this in mind, our major in Urban and Community Studies gives you the knowledge, experience and technological skills you'll need to address issues facing our rapidly urbanizing world. As compared with other urban studies programs, RIT's degree program is unique.

Skills you'll acquire: The UCS program provides you with a profound awareness of the structural forces that influence the development of urban areas. The curriculum gives a keen understanding of the interplay between urban, suburban, and rural communities, as well as among metropolitan sectors that are continents apart. You'll apply the data collection methods, research processes, mapping systems, modeling techniques and other skills professionals in this field use daily, as well as gain competence in cutting-edge analytical technology.

Areas of interest: UCS offers you a choice of specialization. The Urban and Community Development track investigates the role of public, private and nonprofit organizations in how cities function, with an emphasis on topics such as sustainable development, housing, land use and transportation. The Communities in Global Perspective track examines economic and cultural issues within international settings. The third track, Community: Race, Class, and Gender, considers diversity, communication, and inequality in urban settings.

Real-world experience: In the classroom, you will learn about national and global urban processes. In addition, RIT offers hands-on professional training through internships and the paid experience of cooperative education. Internships and co-ops are available locally, nationally, and internationally. Rochester, the third-largest city in New York State, is an important ethnographic site used to supplement classroom learning, as core courses include group learning projects in the city.

Global focus: While most urban studies programs are U.S.-focused, RIT's focus is global. This is because the very nature of cities is being transformed by global economic and political forces. The UCS program explores urban-rural dynamics, urbanization in the developing world, relationships between cities of high- and low-income nations, and the implications of these for international, national, and local planning practice.

Job readiness: You will enter the work force technically grounded and knowledgeable of urban theories, policies, and practices—which makes you extremely marketable. Upon graduation, you'll be equipped to take on positions in many fields, including city government, social services, environmental consulting, urban education, local or international development, and urban planning. The number of such jobs continues to grow, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10.7% increase in urban and regional planners from 2002 to 2012, and a 48.7% increase in community and social service specialists.

Accelerated graduate degree: Those wishing to pursue a graduate degree may take advantage of a 4+1 program, where they receive a bachelor's in UCS and a master's in public policy at RIT in five years.

Faculty expertise: Our faculty members have expertise in the methodological techniques taught in the UCS program and have urban research experience in such countries as India, Nigeria, Kuwait, Mexico, Germany, the U.S., and Colombia.

Transfer credits: The UCS program offers a very flexible curriculum and courses taken at other universities can be accepted easily for transfer credit.