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Columbia University Course/Program Name
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National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

BA Urban Studies

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Department of Urban Studies
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

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About this course

The Barnard–Columbia Urban Studies program enables students to explore and understand the urban experience in all of its richness and complexity.

It recognizes the city as an amalgam of diverse peoples and their social, political, economic, and cultural interactions within a distinctive built environment. Students study the evolution and variety of urban forms and governance structures, which create opportunities for, as well as constrain, the exercise of human agency, individual and collective. They explore the place of the city in different historical and comparative contexts, as well as in the human imagination.

Majors build an intellectual foundation that combines interdisciplinary coursework and a concentration of study within a single field. Through the two-semester junior colloquium, students study urban history and contemporary issues, and at the same time hone their interdisciplinary, analytical and research skills. This shared experience prepares them for their independent research project in their senior year. We encourage our majors to use New York City as a laboratory, and many courses draw on the vast resources of the city and include an off-campus experience.

Student Learning Objectives:

Having successfully completed the major in Urban Studies, our students are able to:

  • Apply concepts or methods from more than one social science or adjacent discipline to analyze an urban issue or problem.
  • Describe the distinctive social, cultural, and spatial features of cities and illustrate their impacts on the urban experience.
  • Apply basic skills of empirical reasoning to an urban problem.
  • Explain how the idea of the city varies in different historical and comparative contexts.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a particular disciplinary approach to the city as an object of study.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and variety of urban forms and governance structures.
  • Articulate a well-defined research question, conduct independent research using primary sources and a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, and write a substantive research paper.
  • Communicate ideas effectively in written or oral form.
  • Organize and present group research projects.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

To be well-prepared for a college like Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard's general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. For transfer students, our recommendations are similar. Take courses that are recommended to fulfill general requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.

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Course Modules

This is only a tentative list of the Fall 2017 courses that fulfill Requirements A, B, and C of the Urban Studies curriculum. This early draft reflects the initial data we were given by the Registrar, but is subject to change as we gather more information.

If you see a course that you think should be included on this list, send the details and syllabus to urban@barnard.edu for consideration.

All 'A,' 'B,' and 'C' courses must be reviewed and approved by the Urban Studies Program Director.

Requirement A


ANTH UN3989 — Urban Anthropology

HIST BC2408 — Emerging Cities: 19th Century West
HIST BC3360 — London: From "Great Wen" to World City
HIST UN3335 — 20th Century New York History
Political Science:

URBS UN3550 — Community Building - Cancelled
POLS UN3560 — Politics of Urban Development in Latin America
URBS UN3833 — New York City: Politics and Governing - Cancelled
URBS UN3920 — Social Entrepreneurship - Cancelled

SOCI UN3324 — Global Urbanism
URBS UN3870 — Urban Transportation Revolutions

Requirement B

Africana Studies:

AFRS BC3550 — Harlem Seminar: Gay Harlem

ARCH UN1010 — Design Futures: New York City
ARCH A4337 — Polit-Space: Cities, Inst, Space

EDUC BC3052 — Math and the City
EDUC BC3058 — Science and the City
Environmental Science:

EESC UN2330 — Science for Sustainable Development
EESC BC3032 — Agricultural and Urban Land Use
EESC BC3033 — Waste Management

THTR UN2100 — New York Theatre
Urban Studies:

URBS UN1515 — Introduction to Urban Studies
URBS UN3565 — Cities in Developing Countries

Requirement C


ECON BC2411 — Statistics for Economics
ECON BC3018 — Econometrics
Environmental Science:

EESC BC3017 — Environmental Data Analysis

SOCI UN3010 — Methods for Social Research
Sustainable Development:

SDEV UN3390 — GIS for Sustainable Development

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

Check further details on University website