The Academic Program
There is no major in urban studies at Yale College. However, several majors allow specific concentrations in urban issues: the Architecture major has an urban studies concentration; students in Ethics, Politics, and Economics (EP&E) are required to select an area of concentration, and urban studies meets this requirement; in American Studies, students interested in urban studies tend to concentrate in Material Cultures and Built Environments or Politics and American communities, but they do have the option to petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) if they prefer to be designated as an urban studies concentrator.
In other majors, students may design a self-directed concentration in urban studies, in consultation with their advisors and other faculty members. Students may also petition the Yale College Committee on Honors and Academic Standing for approval of a Special Divisional Major in urban studies. Several students have been approved for a Special Divisional Major in urban studies in recent years. Official Yale College program information is found in the Yale College Programs of Study, available online at www.yale.edu/ycpo/ycps.
Courses related to urban studies are offered in many different departments, particularly African American Studies; American Studies; Architecture; Ethics, Politics, and Economics; History; Political Science; and Sociology. The introductory course Study of the City is also offered each year; details about this course and other urban studies classes may be found in the classes section of this guide.
Community-Based Learning at Yale
Community Based Learning (CBL) is designed to integrate academics and service, to allow students and community organizations to work together to meet both an organization's needs and the student’s academic requirements. Community-Based Learning projects are research-based rather than typical volunteer or internship projects. Students who take classes with a CBL component will have the opportunity to write a term paper based on research or analysis that local organizations have identified as useful to them.
In 2009-2010, Community-Based Learning classes at Yale will include AMST 190a/ HIST 112a, The Formation of Modern American Culture, 1876-1919; ANTH 010b, Urban Culture, Space and Power; EVST 012a/F&ES 012a, Urban Ecology in New Haven; PLSC 203b, Inequality and American Democracy; and PLSC 277b, Politics and the New Media.
Since the program started in the fall of 2003, students in CBL classes at Yale have carried out research on topics such as the health benefits of greenspaces, teachers’ impressions of an after-school program, the history of black philanthropy in New Haven, and strategies for growing the size and diversity of attendance at arts events. A student interviewed business owners in New Haven’s Enterprise Zone neighborhoods to find out why businesses were not using tax incentives available to them. Another student took oral histories to assess prior homelessness among residents of public housing. Students have worked with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Connecticut Voices for Children, Empower New Haven, the Housing Authority of New Haven, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership), New Haven Housing Services, and the United Way Compass Project, among other organizations.