Urban Studies (BA)

This major is being discontinued and will not accept new students after September 30, 2020. Students who have declared this major prior to September 30, 2020 will use these standards to complete the program requirements.


The urban studies major at Canisius provides students with a variety of approaches and tools that enable them to effectively analyze the 21st century urban center. The coursework examines the social, legal, economic, ethnic and political forces that affect cities and towns, from the challenges of the public education system to housing and real estate development, crime, health issues, human services and transportation. The specialized program helps students understand economic growth and decline, racial and ethnic issues, community development, and other factors that influence the growth and prosperity of a city.

The program offers a solid preparation for graduate programs in public administration, community development and planning, social work, public policy, criminal justice and urban affairs. It is also a recommended choice for pre-law students and for those aspiring to careers in journalism, communications, teaching, government service, social work, law enforcement, community organization and land-use planning, as well as in those industries that are increasingly conscious of the influence of urban society upon them and their impact on urban society. Extensive internship and professional research experiences are an integral component of the urban studies program. Such activities are a vital aspect of preparation for graduate school and/or a professional career. Because the program is designed to be one half of a dual major, students who choose urban studies must also select a second major in another discipline such as criminal justice, economics, political science, history, or sociology.


Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Urban Studies. Students must also have a second major.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Dual Majors

Because the Urban Studies Major is designed to be one half of a dual major, students who choose urban studies must also select a second major in another discipline such as criminal justice, economics, political science, history, sociology or anthropology. The decision to complete a dual major may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.

Minors in Other Disciplines

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. To receive a minor, the student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their other credentials (i.e., majors, other minors). The complete list of minors is available on the Canisius website and in the catalog and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

PSC 104American Political Process3
ECO 102Principles of Microeconomics3
PSC 237State and Local Politics3
PSC 334Public Administration3
PSC 336Urban Government and Politics3
Select one of the following:3
New York State History
Cities, Suburbs, and Spaces
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS
State and Local Finance
URS 400The Urban Challenge1
Urban Studies Electives (choose 3 from the list below)9
Total Credits31

Major Electives

Urban Studies Electives: three courses to be chosen from the following

CRJ 227Criminal Justice I3
ECO 101Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECO 310Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
ECO 311Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS3
ECO 411State and Local Finance3
FAH 109History of Architecture3
HIS 382New York State History3
HSV 303Research Methods in the Social Sciences3
PSC 103The American Constitution3
PSC 104American Political Process3
PSC 215National Issues and Public Policy3
PSC 225U.S. Presidency3
SOC 111Contemporary Social Problems3
SOC 340Sociology of the City3
URS 498Urban Internship3


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

PSC 104ECO 102
PSC 237PSC 336
HIS 382PSC 334
 URS Elective
Select one of the following:URS 400
URS Elective

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Urban Studies majors will develop knowledge of urban history, economics and politics.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Demonstrate competency with the conceptual frameworks of urban history;
  • Objective B: Demonstrate competency with conceptual frameworks of urban economics;
  • Objective C: Demonstrate competency with conceptual frameworks of urban politics.

Student Learning Goal 2

Urban Studies majors will be able to communicate and work effectively with others.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Successfully complete a project in concert with others;
  • Objective B: Communicate effectively in writing both reports and memos;
  • Objective C: Communicate effectively in speaking.


URS 400 The Urban Challenge 1 Credit

The culmination of the Urban Studies Program. This course is normally taken during a student's final semester and serves to reinforce connections among various disciplines.

Offered: spring.

URS 498 Urban Internship 3 Credits

Participant observation and evaluation of an urban program or agency. Students devote 10 hours per week to significant activities related to their skills and interests. Internships are by application only and must be approved by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the chair & associate dean. Restriction: placement by urban studies director.

Offered: fall & spring.