Transformative learning for the good of the city. Urban Studies

People who help shape places. That’s how our Urban Studies majors might define themselves. With its broad, multidisciplinary curriculum, our program has become a hub for Wheaton’s engagement with local and global urban communities.

Credential Type

  • B.A.

Major Credits Required

  • 124

Offered As

  • Major, Minor

Experiential Learning

  • Wheaton in Chicago

98.9% employed or in graduate school

Within six months of graduation, nearly 99% of Wheaton’s Class of 2021 found work in their field or continued their education.

25 miles from downtown Chicago

One of the country’s largest, most diverse metropolitan areas is a short train or car ride away.

100% completed an internship

Every Urban Studies major or minor pursued at least one internship, many that counted toward a second major.

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Why Urban Studies at Wheaton?

Urban Studies majors make their mark on communities around the world. After graduation, they go into teaching, law, ministry, city-level government, public health, urban planning, advocacy, social entrepreneurship, and other professions engaged with the complexities of urban contexts.

What You'll Learn: Sample Classes

Urban Studies majors explore and discover their calling to urban communities and places through core and elective courses such as:

  • The City in Popular Culture
  • Urban Economics
  • Urban Politics
  • Cities in the Global South
  • Placemaking in Urban Contexts
  • The Social Life of Cities
the L in Chicago
Program Highlight

Wheaton in Chicago

Live, work, and learn with classmates and professors during a semester-long experience in Chicago. Wheaton in Chicago offers experiential coursework tailored to the city, internships to explore vocational interests, and opportunities to explore one of the most vibrant metropolitan areas in the country.

Learn About Wheaton in Chicago

Faces and Spaces Where You’ll Learn, Who You’ll Meet

Our Faculty

Interdisciplinary by design, Wheaton’s Urban Studies program boasts a unique, diverse faculty: historians, anthropologists, artists, policymakers, demographers, and more. Their research interests include urban anthropology, community development, religion and ritual, political theology, entrepreneurship, activism, social movements, and place-making through art and literature.

Our Department and Centers

As part of the Anthropology, Sociology, and Urban Studies Department, we benefit from the rich intersection of these interrelated disciplines. Campus-affiliated programs and centers like Wheaton in Chicago, the Center for Urban Engagement, Aequitas Fellows Program in Urban Leadership, the Urban Leadership Studio, and HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development give students real-world learning experiences and unique access to faculty experts and visiting scholars and practitioners.

Wheaton Students Walking in the City

Our Experiences

Our majors immerse themselves in urban environments through field trips, experiential programs, and study abroad. They learn more about the inner workings of cities through internships, practicums, and research. And they gain leadership experience on campus in numerous ways, from serving as orientation leaders and resident assistants to spearheading student organizations.

WITH Wheaton Opportunities Across Campus & Beyond

Interdisciplinary learning is a way of life at Wheaton. Aside from your work within your chosen major, you can enrich your educational experience and connect with peers and professors across campus (and beyond) in many ways.

Real-World Learning at Wheaton & Beyond

Other Opportunities

Related Centers, Organizations & Co-Curriculars

Additional Academic Opportunities: Common Minors, Certificates & Second Majors


Wheaton Students praying at footwashing event
URBAN STUDIES for Christ & His Kingdom

Faith & Learning at Wheaton

A Wheaton education is built on the foundation of our unique Christ at the Core general education curriculum. As an urban studies major, you will integrate biblical and theological knowledge with the academic study of cities and urban life, and learn how the urban environment can shape your call to a particular place and community.

Learn More About Christ at the Core

What You Can Do With an Urban Studies Degree Success After Wheaton

Whether they go right into the workforce after graduation or their career path leads them to an advanced degree, our alumni make a difference in cities large and small.

Recent Urban Studies majors and minors have taken positions such as:

  • Assistant property manager
  • Community investment programs specialist
  • Council aide
  • Customer experience advocate
  • Garden educator
  • Government distributions assistant
  • Legislative assistant
  • Outreach manager
  • Program manager in public health
  • Public school recruiting specialist
  • Social studies teacher
  • Youth development coach

Recent alumni have pursued advanced degrees in programs such as:

  • Harvard University T.H. Chan School for Public Health (MS, Public Health)
  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (JD)
  • Portland State University (Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning)
  • University of Illinois (Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Master’s in City and Regional Planning)
Chicago River and Skyline
Urban Studies Students in Action

Finding Her Place in the World Through Place-Based Learning

"I came to understand purpose as inseparable from place... Because of the interdisciplinary approach of Urban Studies at Wheaton, the webs of interconnectedness among people and communities, past and present, institutions and systems are vibrant threads that inspire my curiosity daily."

-- Abigail Chen '21

Whether managing advertising sales for the campus newspaper, serving as class president of student government, or volunteering with urban ministiries, Abigail Chen '21 took full advantage of the real-world learning experiences available at Wheaton College. A hallmark experience for her was Wheaton in Chicago, where she interned in the digital sales division of BBC Midwest -- and made plenty of professional connections with fellow Wheaties living in Chicagoland. This experience directly impacted her decision to start her career in Chicago after graduation.

Abigail, who majored in economics with minors in political science and urban studies, works as a small business sales associate for LinkedIn

Next Steps

Interested in Urban Studies at Wheaton? Request more information or start your application today.