This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: B.A., Urban Studies and Planning

Program Description

Urban Studies and Planning is an interdisciplinary program providing an undergraduate course of study that focuses on solutions to the major problems stemming from the complexities of contemporary urban life. The Urban Studies and Planning curriculum is designed for students who:

  1. Want to enter professional graduate schools in such fields as urban planning, urban design, environmental planning, social welfare, law and public administration, and international development;
  2. Intend to begin their professional careers at the end of their baccalaureate education through employment in various governmental agencies, private firms or nonprofit organizations concerned with urban issues, regional planning, real estate development and community development; or
  3. Desire a social science degree that emphasizes the study of the historical and modern city.

The major in Urban Studies and Planning requires all students to complete a set of lower division introductory courses and upper division core courses. This part of the curriculum is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the urban environment and training in the appropriate principles and methods of planning and urban analysis. In addition to the lower division and core course requirements, students must complete a set of elective courses.

As a complement to the coursework, students are required to complete supervised field research and an internship with a public agency, a nonprofit organization or a private-sector organization conducting planning-related work. These experiences help to provide students with professional experience to begin careers in planning and with the skills to find solutions to urban problems and situations.

Program Requirements

A. Core Course Requirements (34 units)

All Urban Studies and Planning majors are required to complete the lower division required courses and the upper division core courses. Students must then choose five elective courses from the list under the electives in Section B.

1. Lower Division Required Courses (6 units)

URBS 206 Introduction to Graphic Communication Tools Used by Urban Studies and Planning Professionals (3)
URBS 250 Planning the Multiethnic City (3)

2. Upper Division Required Courses (22 units)

URBS 300 Planning Theory (3)
URBS 310 Growth and Sustainable Development of Cities (3)
URBS 340A Quantitative Urban Research Methods (3)
URBS 340B Qualitative Urban Research Methods (3)
URBS 440 Community-Based Urban Design (3)
URBS 450 Senior Seminar in Urban Studies and Planning (4)
URBS 460 Legal Foundations of Planning (3)

3. Fieldwork and Internship (6 units)

URBS 490C Fieldwork (3)
URBS 494C Internship (3)

B. Electives Requirement (15 units)

Choose five of the following elective courses:

GEOG 206/L Introduction to Geographical Information Science and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 306/L Intermediate Geographical Information Science and Lab (2/1)
URBS 345 The General Plan and Zoning (3)
URBS 350 Cities of the Developing World (3)
URBS 380 Los Angeles: Past, Present, Future (3)
URBS 400 Planning for the Natural and Built Environment (3)
URBS 405 Advanced Research Methods for Planning (3)
URBS 408 Policy Making for Urban Planners (3)
URBS 412 Grant Writing (3)
URBS 415 The California Environmental Quality Act for Urban Planners (3)
URBS 416 Urban Housing (3)
URBS 420 Communities, Neighborhoods and Planning (3)
URBS 425 Social Policy, Environmental Justice and the City (3)
URBS 430 Planning in the Public Sector (3)
URBS 435 Planning for Community Development (3)
URBS 440 Community-Based Urban Design (3)
URBS 441 Advanced Urban Design (3)
URBS 452 Urban Land-Use Planning (3)
URBS 480 Urban Transportation Planning (3)
URBS 495A-Z Selected Topics in Urban Planning (3)

C. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

6 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: URBS 340A satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; and URBS 310 satisfies 3 units of upper division D1 Social Sciences.

Total Units in the Major: 49

General Education Units: 42

Additional Units: 29

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120


Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Chair: Zeynep Toker
Sierra Hall (SH) 220
(818) 677-2904

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning will be able to:

  1. Understand the key forces responsible for urban and regional development in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
  2. Understand the current principles and practices of urban planning.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of methods and techniques to accomplish urban-related research.
  4. Understand the value of working with diverse communities.
  5. Recognize the value of social and environmental justice.
  6. Practice public participation skills in urban planning.