Urban Studies

Associate in Arts (A.A.)

Are you interested in what makes cities work? Interested in what makes New York City work?

Every day, 8.4 million people navigate issues of housing, transit, employment, health care, education, community development, environmental sustainability and social justice here in one of the greatest cities in the world.

New York is a complex place built on an aging infrastructure. It has a constant stream of new immigrants who come looking for the American dream. What better place to examine how it all comes together than in the heart of the city itself?

At Guttman Community College, we are uniquely situated to offer a program in urban studies. Using New York City as a laboratory, this major will provide you with a rigorous liberal arts education exploring urban issues through the lenses of history, political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, literature, psychology and environmental science. It will prepare you for a range of majors at four-year colleges and open doors for potential careers in such fields as government, community and social services, and regional and urban planning.

By the time you leave us, you’ll be well-positioned to take an active role in your community and advocate for causes that are meaningful to you.


The Urban Studies Program employs interdisciplinary approaches to help students explore and understand the urban experience.  Working individually and in groups, students will study the development and variety of urban forms and governance structures and create effective presentations of knowledge for diverse audiences.  They will engage with concepts and practices of urban planning, social research, and the physical/built environment.

Majors will achieve a greater understanding of the political, economic, social, and cultural factors that contribute to the distinctiveness of cities in general and New York City in particular.


Upon successful completion of the Urban Studies Program, students will be able to:

  • Connect everyday urban experiences to theoretical perspectives and research about cities
  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research to investigate urban problems using sources in various media (e.g. planning documents, maps, census data, journals, magazines, newspapers, textbooks, photography, interviews)
  • Identify major developments in urban history and explain their relevance to modern cities
  • Explain the interdependence of critical urban social, economic, and environmental issues
  • Explain how political structures, policy development, and governance processes operate in cities in general and in New York City in particular
  • Identify the multiple stakeholders (individuals/communities/institutions/government agencies) affected by a particular issue and understand their perspectives
  • Question, describe, and analyze the transformation of our city.