Urban Studies

Urban Studies

Liberal Arts & Professional Studies


Urban Studies at York stresses the importance of fieldwork when studying the social and spatial fabric of cities.

The city is among the most fundamental human institutions. Across history, cities have been sites of basic innovation in economic, political and cultural life — centres of trade, seats of empire and the locale of scientific, social and artistic creativity. Cities retain these roles today and are the home of a growing majority of the world’s population who increasingly live in large metropolitan regions of several million people. Often, as in many Canadian cities, these urban regions are marked by complex social diversity, striking contrasts of wealth and poverty and a challenging array of planning and environmental dilemmas.

Urban studies is the attempt to understand cities and city life — how they function, the current and future concerns of their residents. This encompasses the political institutions, economic and social relations, physical landscapes and cultural frameworks that constitute the city.

As a student in urban studies, you will focus on cities as distinctive entities and explore the meaning and function of cities in the larger society. You can take courses from a broad range of fields including:

  • history
  • environmental studies
  • geography
  • anthropology
  • political science
  • sociology
  • psychology.

You will also examine the processes that produce certain patterns of human settlement and chart the changing relationships among areas shaped by urbanization, such as metropolis and countryside, city and suburb, municipality and region.

Urban studies can lead to careers in government, regional and urban planning, human services, business, education, and social science research.

  • Urban studies employs a range of perspectives on cities and their citizens and encourages students to develop and pursue their own interests and approaches.
  • The following scholarship and award are of special interest to urban studies students: The Marion Miller Award, in memory of an urban studies graduate who also taught in the program, and the Otto Friedman Memorial Scholarship, in memory of a distinguished professor in the Department of Social Science.


Contact us at goyork@yorku.ca 

Program Details

Offered by

Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Degrees offered


Ways to study

Full-Time, Part-Time

Fall entry


Winter entry


Summer entry



Apply for scholarships and awards by February 15 and submit your application in PDF format. View the Financial Aid tab on this page for awards specific to your student status.

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