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Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Urban and Community Studies BS - Overview

Camel race in front of the Dubai towers. Photo by Lars Plougmann In the near future, most of the people around the world will live in urban communities. Cities are compact concentrations of diverse people and resources, and they are tied together in global networks of banking, investment, and labor migration. It is more important than ever before to understand the forces that create urbanism and urbanism's social, economic, and environmental consequences. There is an urgent need for a new generation of citizens who are prepared to live in and think creatively about our different kinds of communities. As our populations grow, we will live together in more compact communities and face growing strains on our resources and environment, stiffer competition in the global marketplace, and an increasingly diverse society. How will we, as communities, work collectively to maximize our comfort, security, and social satisfaction? RIT’s major in Urban and Community Studies prepares graduates for careers that demand an understanding of the social, economic, and environmental issues of our communities, and how they play out in different regions of the world.

Interdisciplinary by design
RIT’s Urban and Community Studies Program focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to the challenges of our communities. You’ll learn about a wide range of issues through a core curriculum that includes courses in the urban experience, urban planning and policy, diversity in the city, global cities, and social change. You'll develop special skills in courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods, Geographic Information Systems applications in urban and community studies, and the Internet and the Web.

A choice of specializations
RIT’s Urban and Community Studies Program offers a choice of specializations in one of three tracks:

Urban and Community Development
Communities in Global Perspective
Community: Race, Class, and Gender

Your chosen specialization allows you to gain depth in an area and develop the expertise your career requires.

Built-in real-world experience
One of the best reasons to study urban and community studies at RIT is the opportunity for real-world learning experience. The UCS program meets the RIT challenge of community involvement, service, and enhancement. While college and university students often have little interaction within or awareness of the community in which they live, our students will have such involvement through coursework, internships, and co-ops. Two core courses include group research projects in downtown Rochester. In other track courses, students can observe and assess Rochester's political organization and its policy formation processes or can become involved in participatory community development in the northeastern Sector 10. Finally, through internships and co-ops, students will gain professional work experience in areas such as housing, transportation, community economic development, social welfare, and education. Students on co-op typically are paid for their work, while students on internships may or may not receive a salary. Co-ops or internships are typically done during the summer quarter after the third year and students have the pick of some exciting opportunities in the United States and abroad. Your studies take on new meaning when you're working in a position researching the implications of social policy for a government agency or designing strategies for urban business development. You will participate in one co-op or internship experience to fulfill the requirements for this program. Co-ops and internships are great ways to put relevant work experience on your resumé to set yourself apart from other graduates in the job market.

Complement your degree with a minor

RIT’s Urban and Community Studies Program will provide you with a body of knowledge that spans disciplines to give you an understanding of the interconnection within and among the complex systems that constitute international studies. Because courses outside your major can contribute to your career success, you might want to consider the minors available in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, College of Business, and College of Science. Minors are available in a range of areas, including American politics, communication, environmental studies, history, international studies, management, marketing, public policy, sociology/anthropology, statistics, and more. The five-course, structured minor will appear on your transcript, and employers will know you have something extra to offer.