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Urban Studies

Degree Programs

Urban Studies


The following are just some of the courses that fulfill the Urban Studies minor. New courses having urban studies content are offered across the university every year. Please check with the program director, Dean Saitta (, if you have questions about a course that you think might be eligible for Urban Studies credit.



ANTH 3500 Culture and the City (4 qtr. hrs.)
Examines the past and future of the city as a human built environment that reflects and reproduces social, political, economic, and cultural forces and ideals. Begins with the origin of cities in antiquity and ends with contemporary urban landscapes. Analysis is sensitive to both the technologies and aesthetics of urban form. Emphasis is on the possibilities for urban redesign to meet the problems of 21st century city life.

ANTH 3510 The Ancient City (4 qtr. hrs.)
The archaeological study of ancient cities around the world is a booming and controversial area of research. This course investigates what we know about the nature of the earliest cities in the great original cradles of civilization: Mesopotamia, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Our focus is on how the first cities were planned, built, and experienced by citizens. 


ECON 3590  Urban Economics (4 qtr. hrs.)  Covers topics and issues of economic growth and decline in metropolitan areas.  A broad range of policy issues is discussed including labor market policy, welfare reform, housing policy, racial segregation, transportation, and environmental policy. Restriction: Junior standing. Prerequisite: ECON 2020 or 2030.


GEOG 3400 Urban Landscapes (4 qtr. hrs.)
Urban geography is concerned with the spatial interpretation of areas containing city-centered populations. Urban geographers want to know where something is, why it is there, and why that location is important. Moreover, they are interested in spatial patterns in the city- they attempt to describe and explain the city's spatial layout. There are two broad areas: interurban geography and intraurban geography. The interurban section deals with linkages and interaction between cities on a regional, national and global scale. The intraurban portion concentrates on the urban form of the individual city and how transportation, housing and economics shape the individual city. By studying these different areas, students gain a greater understanding of the forces that shape urban areas and the complexity found within these areas.

GEOG 3420 Urban and Regional Planning (4 qtr. hrs.)
This is the core urban planning course, which is a prerequisite for additional courses in land-use planning and transportation planning. Topics include the theory of planning; the history of planning in the U.S. Planning methods including GIS and the legal, political, economic, social and environmental aspects of urban planning.

GEOG 3440 Urban Transportation Planning (4 qtr. hrs.)
A specialized course in the urban planning sequence focused on issues, practices, and policies of urban transportation planning.


HIST 2701 Topics in History: History in the Community (4 qtr. hrs.)
This is a service-learning course and it is designed to give students the opportunity to use their skills and interests as historians in a community-based project. What exactly does that mean? At the beginning of the quarter, students will work with me on developing an independent or group project that brings their skills and knowledge directly into the community. Projects include but are not limited to: working with local public schoolchildren in class and in after-school history clubs; researching and writing histories of nonprofits and other community organizations; working in museums and historical societies. During the rest of the quarter, students will work with community partners to realize their project goals and then assess their contribution to the community through this project. Throughout the quarter, students will work with me and their community partners; they will also work independently.

HIST 3100 Cities and Society in Latin America (4 qtr. hrs.)
Cities have always played a central role in Latin American societies. From the early creation of highly planned urban grid-like trazas in the colonial period, to the futuristic airplane-shaped city of Brasília in the 1950s, Latin America has been profoundly shaped by the evolution of its urban centers. More than simple physical locations, cities historically embodied the notions of order, civilization, modernity, culture, and progress. This course will approach the history of Latin America through the prism of its cities, paying particular attention to the ways in which the urban environment defined, and was affected by, the regional path of socio-economic and cultural development.

HIST 3190 Immigrants in American History (4 qtr. hrs.)  Immigration to America from Colonial period to 20th century, responses of Native Americans, role of ethnicity in American life, assimilation in American society.


COMN 1700 Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication (4 qtr. hrs.)
This course explores the fundamental concepts and issues in intercultural communication with a particular emphasis on issues surrounding identity. This course will address intercultural issues on a local, national, and international level, maintaining an identity focus throughout.

COMN 3315 Public Deliberation (4 qtr. hrs.)
An introduction to the theories and problematics of public deliberation. The course pays particular attention to the demands of inclusion, equality, and public reason as requirements of public deliberation. Instructors permission required.

COMN 3140 Intercultural Communication (4 qtr. hrs.)
Contrast and comparison of communication patterns, norms, customs as they vary across national ethnic and gender groups.

COMN 3142 Dialogue, Culture & Conflict (4 qtr. hrs.)
Dialogue as a mode of public deliberation and community problem solving is being taught widely by organizations in the private and public sector. This course addresses how dialogue and dialogue programs are being used as a way of resolving conflict in intercultural communities and to approach controversial topics about culture and communication. The course includes attention to conflict, negotiation, mediation, resolution, and transformation as well as culture, cultural identifications and representations, and dialogue as communicative practice. A number of specific dialogue programs in international and national conflicts are assessed.

COMN 3701 Topics in Human Communication Studies: Latino/a Communication Studies (4 qtr hrs.)
As the Latina/o population continues to grow in the United States, having become the largest "minority" population in the United States, it becomes increasingly important to understand and respect the cultures of this heterogeneous community. Latina/os are often erroneously subsumed or rendered invisible by dominant constructions of race within the United States that rely on a hegemonic black/white binary. Given the increasing visibility and growth of this group, this course will examine the development of Latina/o Studies within the field of Communication Studies by taking both a historical and a contemporary approach.

LanGuages, Literatures, AND CULTURES

ITAL 2355 Images of Rome in Literature and Film (4 qtr. hrs.)  The City of Rome has been a major protagonist on the stage of history for several millennia. It has been the site of the building and the expansion of a vast and powerful Empire, the center of a major world religion, and a magnet for the arts.  This course looks beyond the tourist facade of Italy's capital city to delve into the grandeur and decadence of Rome through the lens of several major writers and filmmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The course is taught in English.      

ITAL 3350 Italy Through Cinema: Screening the Italian City (4 qtr. hrs.)  This course investigates the nature of Italian cityscapes, city-walkers, and urban milieus of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It examines a number of major Italian films and related literary and critical texts in order to gain an overview of urban narratives. It compares urban realities and the idea of the Italian city as it is imagined and filtered through various written and visual representations in literature and film. The specific focus is on the cities of Roma and Venezia/Veneto, and several cities in the Italian south. 


PLSC 2470 State and Local Politics (4 qtr. hrs)  The States have long been considered the "laboratories of democracy." Many of the policies and political reforms that national politicians debate today have been attempted at the state or municipal level, and those experiences can inform our understanding of democracy. Understanding the experiences of states has become even more important in an era when greater responsibility for citizens' welfare has been transferred to the states from the federal government. In this course, we will examine variations in political institutions and cultures across the United States. We will also examine how parties and politicians function at the state and local level. Particular attention will be paid to the government and politics of Colorado. In addition, students will learn basic statistical skills to analyze data about policies and political cultures of the various states.  Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing.


REAL 1700  The Business of the Built Environment (4 qtr. hrs.)  Explores the importance of real estate and the built environment and its impacts and influences on how we live, work, and play. Considers a sustainable model that links the various phases, functions, and professions of real estate, project delivery, and asset/facility management to create holistic, value-generating solutions for society. Demonstrates professional practices and skill sets associated with the many career options that engage the built environment.


SOCI 1810 Understanding Social Life (4 qtr. hrs.)  This course provides an overview of the study of social interaction, social order, and social change. Critical attention is given to various contemporary social issues related to social class, race, and gender and the role of the sociological perspective in the improvement of the human condition. NOTE: This course is often a pre-requisite for other SOCI courses.

SOCI 2190 American Communities (4 qtr. hrs.)
Basic social institutions, trends in urbanization and their relationship to changes in political, family, religious and economic structures; population problems.

SOCI 2320 Race and Ethnic Relations (4 qtr. hrs.)
Relationshiop of racial and ethnic minority groups to systems of social stratification; emphasis on United States. Prerequisite: SOCS 1810 or 1850

SOCI 2420: Social Inequality (4 qtr.hrs.)
Dimensions of social class and its effect upon economic, political, and social institutions and style of life.

SOCI 2500: Schooling and Society (4 qtr.hrs.)
The objective of this course is to examine the relationship between schooling and the larger social inequalities (e.g. racism, poverty, and gender) that profoundly shape education. The major focus in this seminar will be on U. S. K-12 public education. Prerequisite: SOCS 1810 or equivalent.

SOCI 2701: Urban Poverty (4 qtr.hrs.)
In this course, we will explore the spectrum of issues related to social class and urban poverty in the United States. Students will learn to make sociological connections between urbanicity, race and class (and other social identities of gender, age, ability) without relying stereotypical, popular culture ideas. We will also discuss historical and contemporary public policy issues related to poverty. All of this will be accomplished through the use of classic and contemporary writing about the sociology of poverty.

SOCI 2701: Latina/os in American Society (4 qtr.hrs.)
In the next several decades, Latina/os will be the largest minority group in the U.S. Rapid demographic changes among this population raises important questions such as, "How will the growing Latina/o presence affect relations between them and the larger population?" Equally important, "How will these changes affect Latina/os themselves? This course will use a sociological lens to explore the incorporation of Latinas and Latinos into U.S. society. Specifically, the course will address Latinas' and Latinos' migration trajectories and historical experiences in the U.S.; assimilation, incorporation and racial/ethnic identity formation; the family, schools and labor markets; and political empowerment. Empirically, the course will address the major social institutions that define and are being defined by the growing and dynamic presence of Latinas and Latinos in contemporary U.S. society.

SOCI 2710: Crime and Inequality (4 qtr. hrs.) This course conducts a systematic investigation of the nature of inequality as it relates to crime and criminal justice in America.  Racial, gender, and class disparities are explored at critical stages of the criminal justice process, including crime commission, law-making, policing, court actions, and sentencing.  The course considers the effects of inequality on system functioning, employment opportunities, family stability, and offender's communities.