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Urban, Regional, and Global Studies

Effective Autumn 2022, the Urban, Regional and Global Studies (URGS) Specialization will be replaced by the Social and Environmental Geography (SEG) major. Any current URGS major interested in switching to the SEG major should contact their advisor.


The Urban, Regional, and Global Studies specialization in the Department of Geography provides an interdisciplinary exploration of the economics, politics, and cultures of our rapidly changing world. With faculty expertise that is global in scope and driven by a mission to foster a sense of global citizenship, the curriculum examines how cities and their regions are at the forefront of globalization and its most urgent challenges. 

Students in the program acquire a foundation in geographical theory and methods, and complement these with a broad spectrum of topic-focused coursework. Courses within the specialization cover such issues as uneven economic development, global labor issues, urban political economy and governance, social conflict and war, social movement politics, dilemmas around global public health, and tensions associated with difference regarding race, gender, class, and sexuality. Students are encouraged to extend their learning beyond the classroom through internships, service learning opportunities, mentored research, and study abroad.

There is no minimum GPA, required prerequisites, or application required to declare a major in Geography with a specialization in Urban, Regional, and Global Studies.

Urban, Regional, and Global Studies Curriculum

Undergraduate Curriculum

Issues & Topics:


  • Territory and governance
  • Geopolitics
  • Geographies of law
  • Economics and politics
  • Historical preservation

Social difference

  • Difference and democracy
  • Feminist geography
  • Geographies of racism
  • Sexuality and youth

Urban spaces

  • Cities, suburbs, and exurbia
  • Urban politics
  • Cities in the global economy
  • Social/spatial exclusion
  • Location scouting
  • Real estate analysis

Transportation and mobility

  • Routing patterns
  • Cyber-accessibility
  • Access to employment and healthcare
  • Travel/tourism planning

Spatial analysis

  • Statistical analysis
  • Cartography
  • Research design

Acquired Skills:

Critical Skills

  • Ability to critically analyze arguments and evidence
  • Oral and written communication
  • Research design, implementation, and application
  • Knowledge of moral and ethical issues

Technical skills:

  • Quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Graphic communication (including map reading and geovisualization)
  • Ability to develop graphical models that represent planning and development decisions


Geographers find careers in many fields both within and outside the discipline of geography. Below is a partial listing of careers for which students within the Urban, Regional, and Global Studies specialization are well-suited and where previous graduates have found employment.

  • Planner: transportation, urban development, city planning, health services, land use
  • Demographer
  • Community Organizer
  • Land Development Analyst
  • Regional Specialist
  • International Development
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Commodities Broker
  • Urban Research Analyst
  • Business Planning Manager
  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Market Researcher
  • Location planning for private firms
  • Economic Analyst