Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning
The urban studies and planning major offers an interdisciplinary curriculum in urban planning and policy and reflects a social science education with an applied, problem-solving focus, training in research methods, and practical hands-on experience in a carefully supervised internship and a practicum (senior seminar). Core courses integrate social science, planning, and policy perspectives into the study of cities, develop the research and analytic tools necessary for urban planning and policy analysis, and offer hands-on applied research experience. Elective courses are designed to apply the basic core course content to urban planning and policy areas of interest.
The B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning is recognized as a solid basis for graduate study. Recent program graduates have gone on to M.A. and Ph.D. programs in schools of city and regional planning (Cornell, Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, the New School for Social Research, and the University of Texas at Austin), schools of public policy and administration (Kennedy School, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, and San Francisco State), and other fields including law, architecture, social work, and public health. We also have a large number of students who seek entry-level urban planning and policy jobs with a B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Subject area student learning objectives o Understanding the basic evolution and development of cities, the fields of urban studies, and planning and the tools and approaches practitioners in these fields uses to address urban issues;
- Be familiar with a range of perspectives and methods used to understand and analyze the dynamics of urban life;
- Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze and critically evaluate urban issues;
- Understand the interactions between cities, metropolitan regions, and global forces;
- Be sensitive to and knowledgeable about the importance of equity and ethics in the fields of urban studies and planning.
- Research methods/Basic skills student learning objectives
- Demonstrate competence in writing about the dynamics of cities informed by urban theory and practice; skills - critical thinking, oral presentation, GWAR;
- Demonstrate research and analytic skills used in urban studies and planning fields, including the ability to think critically, design and execute research, collect, analyze and interpret relevant evidence, and formulate reasoned conclusions;
- Be familiar with basic spatial and statistical analyses of urban data
- Applied professional learning objectives
- Apply subject area knowledge and skills in a wide range of professional settings;
- Have an ethical and proactive stance towards addressing solving urban challenges;
- Demonstrate critical thinking, research, writing, presentation, and teamwork skills.
Urban Studies and Planning (B.A.) — 43-45 units
Many of the urban studies and planning courses included below in the list of program requirements are cross-listed with other departments.
- All students are required to receive at least a grade of C in all courses in the major or minor.
- All courses in the major or minor (including electives) must be taken for a letter grade.
- Students planning to enroll in USP 603 and USP 604 must attend a mandatory informational meeting the semester preceding their enrollment in these courses.
Core (23 units)
|USP 401GW||Seminar in Urban Studies and Planning - GWAR||3|
|Research Methods and Data Analysis|
|Providing the basic tools necessary for effective research and analysis.|
|USP/PLSI 492||Research Methods||4|
|USP/PLSI 493||Data Analysis||4|
|Foundation Course in Policy or Planning|
|Developing the conceptual and analytic approaches necessary for effective action intended to address current urban issues|
|Introduction to Urban Policy and Analysis|
|Fieldwork and Practical Applications|
|Internship and research project providing carefully supervised hands-on experience in both a real-world work setting (the internship) and a practicum (the senior seminar).|
|USP/PLSI 603||Public Service Internships||3|
|USP/PLSI 604||Internship Seminar||1|
|USP 680||Senior Seminar||4|
|or USP 681||Senior Thesis|
Electives (20-22 units)
|GEOG 435||Geography of Global Transportation||4|
|USP 400||Dynamics of the American City||3|
|USP 402||Introduction to Planning History and Theory||3|
|USP 432||Urban Geography||4|
|USP 433||Urban Transportation||4|
|USP 456||Urban Community Organizing and Citizen Action||3|
|USP 470||City in a Global Society||4|
|USP 480||Introduction to Urban Policy and Analysis||4|
|USP 485||San Francisco Political Issues||4|
|USP 512||Urban Politics and Community Power||4|
|USP 513||Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment||4|
|USP 514||Sustainable Development in Cities||4|
|USP 515||Environmental Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Environment||4|
|USP 530||Alternative Urban Futures||3|
|USP 535||Urban Economics||3|
|USP 555||Urban Anthropology||3|
|USP 560||Urban Poverty and Policy||4|
|USP 565||Social Policy and Family Systems||4|
|USP 570||Urban Health Policy||3|
|USP 580||Housing Policy and Planning||3|
|USP 652||Environmental Impact Analysis||4|
|USP 658||Land-Use Planning||4|
|USP 685||Projects in the Teaching of Urban Studies||1-4|
|USP 686||Field Work in Urban Studies||1-4|
|USP 699||Independent Study||1-4|
Students completing a Bachelors of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning must complete 12 units in Complementary Studies courses bearing a prefix other than USP, and not cross-listed with USP. The units used to satisfy Complementary Studies may be in a minor (or a partial minor if the minor requires more than 12 units), a foreign language, or a coherent group of courses from the following departments/college: Political Science, Geography, History, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Economics, and the departments in the College of Ethnic Studies. All complementary studies units must be approved by an advisor in the major.
Any courses with prefixes other than USP or cross-listed with USP that can be counted toward the major can also count toward the Complementary Studies Requirement.
General Education Requirements
|Requirement||Course Level||Units||Area Designation|
|Written English Communication I||LD||3||A2|
|Arts or Humanities||LD||3||C1 or C2|
|Social Sciences: US History||LD||3||D2|
|Social Sciences: US & CA Government||LD||3||D3|
|Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD)||LD||3||E|
|Physical and/or Life Science||UD||3||UD-B|
|Arts and/or Humanities||UD||3||UD-C|
|SF State Studies|
|Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.|
|American Ethnic and Racial Minorities||LD or UD||3||AERM|
|Environmental Sustainability||LD or UD||3||ES|
|Global Perspectives||LD or UD||3||GP|
|Social Justice||LD or UD||3||SJ|
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):
- Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
- Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
- Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.
For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.
|Pathway||QR Cat I/II||QR Cat III/IV|
|ENG 114||Roadmap A||Roadmap C|
|ENG 104/ENG 105||Roadmap B||Roadmap D|
General Advising Information for Transfer Students
- Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
- The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
- a course in U.S. History
- a course in U.S. & California Government
For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.
Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).
Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.
Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.
Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.
Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs
Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.
All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.
For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.
- Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
- Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
- Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
- Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
- One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
- One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
- One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
- One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
- The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.