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Urban Studies

Bachelor of Arts (BA) - Honours

Explore one of the world’s most comprehensive urban labs–the Greater Toronto Area–as a student in Urban Studies.

With half of the global population now living in cities, they have become key sites in understanding contemporary social life. Throughout history, cities have been areas of innovation in economic, political and cultural life. 

Focus on the social and cultural issues that characterize urban regions, such as striking gaps between wealth and poverty, as well as planning, governance and environmental concerns, including climate change. 

Explore the city first-hand. Back on campus, you’ll be led by our award-winning faculty in small-group workshops and fieldwork projects. Our cutting-edge curriculum is updated regularly to reflect current issues.

What you’ll learn

  • Learn about the history of human development and urban places in both the global north and global south, and how these have shaped human development.
  • Get exposure to an interdisciplinary curriculum and concepts such as urbanization, urbanism as a way of life and urban planning.
  • Understand the fundamental issues of geography, sociology, anthropology and politics with respect to urban settings.

Hands-on experiences

  • Connect with urban professionals in the classroom and in regular trips off-campus to explore communities and urban settings across the Greater Toronto Area. 
  • Earn credit with placements in in in public, private and non-profit workplaces. 
  • Take your studies on the road with our annual four-day field school trip to Montreal.
  • Participate in The Toronto Urban Journal, which was founded by and publishes scholarly reviewed articles written by our undergrad students. 

What I liked most about the Urban Studies program was the number of resources available at York and the help offered by professors and teaching assistants which helped me through my degree. I was also pleasantly surprised about how interesting the classes were and how one class allowed us to receive some international urban planning experience in Buffalo, New York. It is important to have a basic understanding of cities, and development (in the urban studies/urban planning field) as it allows you to ask deeper questions and to see a broader perspective on why things are built a certain way.

— William Jeon
Alumnus, Urban Studies '17

Read more testimonials from our alumni


Current students can contact Program Coordinator Teresa Abbruzzese at or Program Assistant Nicholas Punsammy at