The urban studies major provides a broadly interdisciplinary understanding of how urban dynamics shape both global interdependence and local spaces. The major stresses the way in which cities and communities are critical to the organization of economic, social, and cultural activities that shape and transform human experiences. Students can take full advantage of the College’s strong and diverse academic resources in the urban field through courses at the Trinity campus and local partner schools, community learning in Hartford, study-away opportunities in international cities, as well as internships in a variety of urban settings.


The urban studies program’s learning goals can be found HERE.


To complete the major, students will take a total of at least 12 courses and:

  • All courses that count toward the major must earn a grade of C- or better.
  • Courses that count toward the major cannot be taken pass/fail.
  • No more than one 100-level course or first-year seminar other than URST 101 (or CTYP 101) can be counted toward the major.
  • Engaged-learning requirement: At least one course must be either an urban-focused (A) study-away course, (B) internship, or (C) community learning course.
  • At least one of the courses in a student’s concentration (see below) must be at the 300 level.
  • By permission of the faculty coordinator, from one to four courses from a student’s study-away experience may be counted toward the major, depending on the study away program and number of semesters on study away.
  • By permission of the faculty coordinator, up to three courses from the cities program may be counted toward the major.
  • No more than three courses are allowed to double-count between urban studies and another major.
  • Students must complete an integrating exercise that synthesizes earlier urban studies work in the major through URST 401. Qualified students (GPA over 3.50 overall and an A- average in the major) may choose to get honors in the major which will require them to complete a two-semester thesis through URST 498 (fall) and URST 499 (spring) with a grade of A- or better. Students seeking honors must still take URST 401, but their thesis becomes the “integrating exercise.”

Methods requirement:

Students must complete one of the following courses or an approved methodologically-based alternative:

  • URST 107. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • URST 208. Digital Urban Investigation
  • LAAL 200. Action Research Methods in Hartford
  • CLIC 400. Community Learning Fellows Research Colloquium

Other departments have methods courses that teach methods applicable to urban studies which can be used to meet this requirement, but these courses may be reserved for students in that department or program’s major. If a student is a double-major between urban studies and a major with such a methods course, then that course may substitute for the URST methods requirement. Students are responsible for checking with the respective department regarding the alternative course’s availability to non-majors. These alternatives include, for example:

  • AHIS 364/ENGR 341. Architectural Drawing
  • AHIS 365/ENGR 342. Elements of Architectural Design
  • ANTH 301. Ethnographic Methods and Writing
  • CLCV 216. Archaeological Method and Theory
  • ECON 318. Basic Econometrics
  • ENVS 282. Drone Flight School — Mapping, Photogrammetry and Cinematography with Drones
  • ENVS 286. Theory and Application of Geographic Information Systems
  • ENVS 375. Methods in Environmental Science
  • HIST 300. History Workshop
  • PBPL 220. Research and Evaluation
  • POLS 242. Political Science Research Methods
  • RHET 226. Writing about Places
  • SOCL 201. Research Methods in the Social Sciences
  • STAR 150. Visual Thinking: Digital Photography in the Documentary Tradition


Planning & policy

This thematic cluster or track includes courses in urban studies, public policy, environmental science, engineering or other fields which are built around practical, applied or professional skill development. For just some examples, the following courses would fit with this track:

  • URST 107. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • URST 212. Landscape Planning and Environmental Education for Brain Health
  • URST 219. Comparative Planning Perspectives
  • URST 280. American Cities and Local Governments: The Legal Perspectives
  • URST 301. Community Oriented Development Strategies to Address Urban Decline in the United States*
  • URST 321. Geographies of Transport: Being on the Move in the 21st Global Urban Century
  • URST 433. Introduction to Urban Planning
  • AHIS 286. Modern Architecture: 1900 to the Present
  • AHIS 364/ENGR 341. Architectural Drawing
  • AHIS 365/ENGR 342. Elements of Architectural Design
  • ENVS 286. Theory and Application of Geographic Information Systems
  • PBPL 414. Segregation and Public Policy

Urban society

This track focuses on the unique social aspects of cities. Courses in this track may come from a variety of disciplines. However, students should work with their adviser to develop a coherent focus that helps the student to develop expertise in a sub-field of urban studies. Some example courses would be:

  • URST 210. Sustainable Urban Development
  • URST 215. Latin American Cities
  • URST 218. Chinese Global Cities
  • URST 260. The City in African Studies: Past, Present, and Potential
  • URST 302. Global Cities
  • URST 318. Reshaping Global Urbanization*
  • ANTH 253. Urban Anthropology
  • ECON 209. Urban Economics
  • POLS 314. Comparative Urban Development
  • POLS 355. Urban Politics

Core courses:

  • Four core courses
    • URST 101. Introduction to Urban Studies or another 200-level comparative urban course
    • URST 201. From Hartford to World Cities
    • One URST 300-level course (such as URST 301, 302, 318 or 321)
    • URST 401. Senior Seminar
    • A community learning course or the community learning research colloquium


  • Four courses in a concentration (either planning & policy or urban society, as detailed above). At least one course in the concentration must be at the 300 level, and no courses at the 100 level can be counted toward the concentration; the 300-level course taken as a core class cannot double count within the concentration. This sequence, developed in consultation with the student’s adviser, provides a thematic emphasis within the interdisciplinary realm of urban studies beyond the content of the core courses.


  • One methods course (beyond any methodologically-focused courses taken as a part of a concentration; as detailed above)


  • Three other courses in urban studies

Capstone senior project/thesis:

Students must complete an integrating exercise that synthesizes earlier urban studies work in the major through a major research paper in URST 401. If they choose to get honors in the major which will require them to complete a two-semester thesis through URST 498 (fall) and URST 499 (spring), then the thesis project counts for the integrating exercise in the 401 seminar; thesis students are, however, still expected to take URST 401.

*Courses taken to fulfill requirements for methods, 300-level core courses, or as part of a concentration may not be double-counted.


Community learning: The Office of Community Learning fosters academic collaborations between Trinity students, staff, faculty, and local organizations in metropolitan Hartford. By extending the boundaries of the classroom into the local community, students engage with the city in projects that deepen learning, promote civic engagement, and create mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations.

Kelter Urban Studies Endowment Fund: The Jeffrey E. Kelter ’76 Urban Studies Endowment Fund at the Center for Urban and Global Studies (CUGS) supports student investigations of a broad range of key urban issues confronting humankind in the 21st century. Of special interest are projects related to real estate and urban planning.

Grossman Global Studies Fund: The Kenneth S. Grossman ’78 Global Studies Fund, established in honor of Professor Eugene E. Leach, supports student investigations of global issues that confront humankind in the 21st century. Examples of such issues include human rights, peacekeeping, the preservation of the ecosphere, migrations and diasporas, international health standards, and the consequences of revolutionary advances in information technology and bioengineering.

Thomas Urban China Endowment Fund: The Karen and David Thomas Urban China Teaching and Research Endowment Fund supports students to carry out summer research projects in Chinese cities or about urban China broadly defined. Eligible topics include but are not limited to: Economic development, spatial inequality, regional dynamics, migration, housing, heritage preservation, and environmental protection. This fund also supports a senior thesis prize for a topic on urban China.

Tanaka Research Fund: In 2002 Trinity was awarded a generous grant by the Tanaka Memorial Foundation establishing an endowed fund to allow students to pursue formal research projects abroad, with a special focus on Asia, during the months of July and August. Typically, one grant, ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 in total, is awarded each year for the proposal deemed most feasible and relevant to the wider academic interests of the applicant.

Davis Projects for Peace: Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative for all students at the Davis United World College Scholars Program schools to design their own grassroots projects for peace that they themselves will implement anywhere in the world during the summer months. Through a competition on more than 90 campuses, 100 projects will be selected for funding at $10,000 each.

Study Away:

China Summer Program supported by The Karen and David Thomas Urban China Teaching and Research Endowment: The Center for Urban and Global Studies takes students annually to cities in China (and, on several occasions, Southeast Asia) for an intensive summer course that investigates critical historical, socioeconomic, and environmental questions confronting the cities of the region. Studying these dynamic cities offers urban studies students a fascinating way to glimpse and access the various facets of sustainable urban development. The program carries 1.0 course credit.

Technos Japan Tour: One faculty and two students are invited for a two-week trip to Japan to participate in Technos International Week held in Tokyo every year in June. Technos International Week is an event organized by Technos International College of Japan. Its goal is to promote international exchange and understanding between the international guests and the members of the host institution, as well as to offer the guest group the opportunity to experience and appreciate Japanese life and culture.

Honors: To receive honors in urban studies a student must complete a two-semester thesis with a grade of A- or better, achieve an overall GPA of at least 3.50, and earn at least an A- average in courses counted toward the major.