Urban Studies (UR)

UR-101 Introduction to Urban Studies

LASC Categories: USW, HBS

This course offers a broad contextual overview of urban life that examines the relationship between humans and their environment.

Fall and Spring and every year. 3 Credits

UR-103 Introduction to Women's Studies

LASC Categories: DAC, ICW, HBS

This course uses a variety of academic disciplines to study the situation of women around the world.

Every year. 3 Credits

UR-142 Practicum in Urban Studies-Introductory

Students engage in field-based experiential learning through collaboration with WSU faculty and community partners. By stepping out of the classroom, students gain concrete skills that empower them to be agents of change while building a social and professional network of peers and community members. Practicum courses at this level are introductory experiences to field-based learning. There is no cost associated with this course.

Other or on demand and every year. 1-3 Credits

UR-191 Special Topics

Introductory course to cover various topics

Other or on demand and other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-193 First Year Seminar Urban Studies

LASC Categories: FYS

Every year. 3 Credits

UR-201 Analysis of Urban Systems

LASC Categories: HBS

Analysis of activities, programs, and policies designed to sustain and enhance the livability of an urban environment.

Other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-212 American Metropolitan Evolution

LASC Categories: USW, WAC

Prerequisites: UR-101 and EN-102

Development of metropolitan America from a multi-disciplinary approach with emphasis upon dynamics of urban growth, internal development of cities, immigrations, socio-economic stratification, metropolitanization, and problems deriving from growth.

Fall and Spring and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-213 Human Identity and Urban Environment

LASC Categories: DAC

Prerequisites: UR-101

This course addresses a number of learning outcomes, including: studying historical experiences, cultural patterns, and social advantages and disadvantages of different groups within society; exploring social problems such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice, discrimination, and exploitation as both mainstream and non-mainstream groups experience them; examining the diversity of different groups and their changing dynamics; helping students become knowledgeable about diversity issues and develop the ability to distinguish facts from interpretations and opinions; become familiar with materials written by and about diverse groups.

Spring only and every year. 3 Credits

UR-220 Immigrant City

LASC Categories: ICW

This course will explore the important role that immigrants have played in the development of our society, with a particular focus on our cities. We will discuss why and how people move, the forces that shape their opportunities and the constraints on their lives, and how a world increasingly defined by migration is changing everything.

Alternating and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-221 Introduction to Social Work

Prerequisites: College Writing II or permission of department chair.
Prerequisites or Corequisite: UR-101 previously or concurrently.

This course introduces students to the changing concepts, terms, and theories, about the field and practice of Social Work, how social workers interact with individuals and society, and the different roles social workers play in our diverse, ever-changing society. It is structured to provide students with the historical and current understanding of the role of social work practitioners, and it requires that students examine their own concepts, beliefs, and ideas of what "social work" and "social worker" means. These experiences will enhance student's skills in cognitive thinking, reading, writing, and speaking.

Fall only and every year. 3 Credits

UR-230 Technology, Public Policy and Urban Society

LASC Categories: HBS, WAC, ICW

Prerequisites: EN-102

Examination of high-technology and its impact on urban society in areas such as provacy, ethics, intellectual property rights, sense of community, and access to information and services.

Spring only and every year. 3 Credits

UR-232 Quantitative Data Analysis of Urban Problems

LASC Categories: QR

An introduction to methods of developing and examining quantitative information, widely used by planning practitioners and often structuring how issues are framed for public/private discussions and policy decisions. Learn to apply tools of historical and predictive quantitative analysis to all aspects of land use planning and policy, both theoretical, what we expect to happen based on certain assumptions, and empirical, verifying those theoretical relationships by analyzing relevant evidence using mathematical techniques. We will examine and correlate the relationship between data, assumptions, and the leading issues planners and their cities face in today's world.

Alternating and every year. 3 Credits

UR-235 Urban Topics Seminar

An examination of urban topical issues that challenge the intellectual and creative interests of mid-curriculum students in urban studies.

Other or on demand and every year. 3 Credits

UR-240 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences

LASC Categories: HBS, WAC

Prerequisites: EN-102

This introduction course provides and overview of the research process, and introduces students to commonly used qualitative methods in the social sciences.

Every year. 3 Credits

UR-242 Practicum in Urban Studies-Intermediate

Students engage in field-based experiential learning through collaboration with WSU faculty and community partners. By stepping out of the classroom, students gain concrete skills that empower them to be agents of change while building a social and professional network of peers and community members. Practicum courses at this level reflect intermediate-level engagement with field-based learning. There is no cost associated with this course.

Other or on demand and every year. 1-3 Credits

UR-250 Introduction to Urban Planning

LASC Categories: ICW

An exploration of planning theory, dynamics, and practice, and how they form the modern urban planning agenda.

Fall only and every year. 3 Credits

UR-280 The Queer City

LASC Categories: GP

This course is an introduction to the study of same-sex sexualities, their meanings and social organizations, across cultures and through time. The materials for the course are drawn from an array of disciplines, from biology to history, but center upon cultural and urban anthropology. Students will learn to think critically about the role of culture and society in the construction of genders and sexualities worldwide, with an emphasis on urban contexts.

Fall only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-285 Urban Anthropology

LASC Categories: GP

Students in this course will become familiar with urban anthropology through an exploration of ethnography - the study of peoples, cultures, and power dynamics from the perspective of an insider. By investigating ethnographic fieldwork and ethnographic writing from our globalizing world, students will be introduced to a number of different accounts about peoples and cultures - some struggling and some thriving - in cities spanning the globe. Through this diverse sample of lived, urban environments, students will become critical thinkers about the role of culture and society in the construction of the city.

Fall only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-290 Gender and the City

LASC Categories: WAC, GP, HBS

Prerequisites: EN-102

Exploration of the ways in which gender, both male and female, structures responses of individuals to urban life and spaces.

Every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-301 Cities and Suburbs

Prerequisites: UR-101

Multi-disciplinary study of city and suburban growth patterns and problems both of the past, and that hamper metropolitan cooperation and affect the quality of life for city and suburban residents and businesses.

Every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-305 Group Conflict in the Urban Community

Prerequisites: UR-101

Study of conflict and its resolution in contemporary urban settings. Personal, small group, and societal strategies for conflict resolution will be explored.

Fall and Spring and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-306 Interviewing and Counseling Techniques

Investigation of skills and process of interviewing and counseling with emphasis upon theory and practice, participant exercises, and development of helping skills and effective counseling relationships.

Every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-312 Worcester:A City & Its People

LASC Categories: USW

Prerequisites: any 100 level course in Urban Studies.

This Urban History class explores the histories of Worcester's different peoples and their stories, many that are left out of what might be called official Worcester history. Students will read and research various primary and secondary sources, explore different approaches to studying and creating history, conduct fieldwork, and create papers or projects about the city's lesser-known and lesser-told histories, groups, individuals, and events.

Fall only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-315 Oral History for Urban Areas

LASC Categories: TLC

Prerequisites: College Writing II or permission of department chair. Any 100-level Urban Studies course or permission of instructor

In its simplest terms, Oral History is the collection and study of historical information using audio or video recordings of interviews with people having personal knowledge of past events. Often powerful and rich personal narratives, oral histories provide insight into a past event or series of events, often communicating unofficial or previous unknown/misunderstood stories especially in Urban areas. This class explores the theoretical underpinnings of memory and remembering, and best practices for oral history. Students will also engage in oral history work including interviewing, recording, transcribing, analysis, and preparing oral histories for research and dissemination.

Spring only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-319 Transportation Planning

LASC Categories: GP, ICW

Prerequisites: 30 credits. It is recommended that students take UR 250 (Urban Planning) or a GIS or Cultural Geography class in the Department of Earth, Environment, and Physics before taking this course.

This course examines the policy, politics, planning, and design of transportation systems in urban areas, with a special focus on Massachusetts. It covers the roles of the federal, state, and local governments and MPOs. It will also overview planning for different modes (e.g. public transit, auto, active travel), tools for transportation planning and policy analysis, transportation impacts such as air pollution, social costs, and climate change, land use and transportation interactions, and citizen participation and citizen needs in the transportation planning process.

Spring only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-320 Power and Urban Insecurity

LASC Categories: ICW

This class looks at how public policy relates to the social construction of race, class, and gender categories and how urban residents navigate such policies as part of their everyday struggle for survival and stability. We consider how popular discourse features dominant narratives of security, insecurity, and human worth when it comes to questions of how the social safety net is allocated. How do these narratives contribute to the way urban residents experience and interpret government on an everyday level? How do these narratives affect the way urban residents interact with the state and public institutions?

Every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-321 Advanced Social Work

Prerequisites: UR-101 and UR-221.

This course is designed to build upon basic social work skills, and enhance students' understanding about the changing concepts, terms, and theories, about what the field and practice of Social Work is. It is an more in depth examination of the approaches used by social work professionals in assessing and meeting the needs of increasingly diverse, complex and complicated populations.

Spring only and every year. 3 Credits

UR-331 Crime and the City

LASC Categories: HBS

Prerequisites: UR-101

Investigation of crime in contemporary urban society and the social, legal, economic, and cultural strategies for dealing with crime and deviance.

Other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-332 Global Cities

LASC Categories: GP

For the first time in history, urban dwellers outnumber those in rural areas in the world population. Why are people increasingly flocking to cities? And what are some of the impacts of this shift on populations in different parts of the globe? As cities grow to accommodate their swelling numbers, dynamics of both inclusion and exclusion are bound up in processes of change and development. This course addresses these issues by exploring a variety of topics associated with urban exclusion, such as displacement, development, climate change, changing family dynamics, the informal sector, housing, inequality, and forms of resistance to exclusion.

Alternating and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-340 Urban Housing Dilemma

Prerequisites: UR-101

Analysis of the factors that shape the nature, location, and supply of urban housing with special focus on federal policies and the housing needs of elders.

Every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-347 Refugees in American Society

LASC Categories: USW

This course assesses the place of refugees in United States cities, historically and currently. We look at the experience of refugees in the US, relevant policies pertaining to this population, and the various popular debates circulating about refugee settlement and asylum in the US. The course also explores the nature of exile, displacement, and struggle in relation to urban inclusion and exclusion.

Alternating and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

UR-350 Urban Youth in American Society

Prerequisites: UR-101

Role and problems of youth in urban societies viewed from a variety of social science perspectives with additional employment of contemporary music and literature.

Other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-360 Environmental Systems and Public Policy

Prerequisites: UR-101

Examination of urban ecosystems, focusing on land uses designed to effectively utilize water, open space, and other natural resources.

Other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-370 Leadership in Nonprofit & Public Organizations

LASC Categories: HBS

Prerequisites: UR-101

Advanced leadership seminar for students interested in pursuing management careers in public and non-profit urban organizations.

Other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-380 Public Policy and Cultural Diversity

LASC Categories: HBS, USW

Prerequisites: UR-101

This course examines contemporary policy issues to support inclusion in diverse societies. Topics addressed include race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, religion, immigration, segregation, and affirmative action.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-390 Research Methods in Urban Studies

Prerequisites: UR-101

This course will provide an overview of the research process, and review commonly used qualitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences. The course will cover the what, how, and when of qualitative interviews, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, story narratives, ethnographic research, observations, participatory action research, document review and survey research. It will also cover the ethical dimension of research. No prior research knowledge or experience will be assumed.

Other or on demand and every year. 3 Credits

UR-401 Research Seminar in Urban Studies Capstone

Prerequisites: UR-101, UR-212, UR-213, and UR-390 and have completed 75 credits.

Research skills for urban-based projects including techniques in gathering, analyzing, and reporting data and various forms of field research.

Fall only and every year. 3 Credits

UR-408 Directed Study: Urban Studies

Directed study offers students, who because of unusual circumstances may be unable to register for a course when offered, the opportunity to complete an existing course with an established syllabus under the direction and with agreement from a faculty member.

1-3 Credits

UR-410 Independent Study

Prerequisites: UR-101

Individual or small group directed research into selected problems and issues in urban affairs.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-421 Selected Topics in Urban Studies

Prerequisites: UR-101 Or permission of instructor

In-depth examination of topical issues challenging the intellectual and creative interests of advanced students in urban studies.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-430 Seminar in Current Urban Problems

Prerequisites: UR-101

Individual and group investigation and research of selected and current urban problems.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

UR-440 Practicum in Urban Studies

Directed experiential study for advanced students.

Other or on demand and every year. 1-3 Credits

UR-442 Immigration Law Practicum

Students will collaborate with WSU's partner the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice to provide legal services to Worcester area immigrants, especially asylum seekers, in need of legal aid. This practicum will be run through the Urban Studies Department and in partnership with the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice, which also runs a 40-hour training every fall, and which provides ongoing supervision for students who complete the training and who are paired with immigration law attorneys. Pre-requisite: Students who enroll in this class must first complete an immigration law training offered every fall semester through a partnership with the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice and then request permission from the instructor to enroll.

Fall and Spring and every year. 1-3 Credits

UR-450 Internship: Urban Studies

Supervised and intensive semester-long experience in community agencies, including weekly group seminar. (Requires completion of 21 credits in Urban Studies and consent of instructor.)

Fall and Spring and every year. 3-12 Credits