Fordham will offer an interdisciplinary master’s degree in urban studies beginning in September.

The new degree consists of a 36-credit curriculum that includes three core courses, plus fieldwork and project requirements. The new program, offers concentrations in “Race, Class, Gender and Ethnicity,” “Urban Society and Culture” and “The City and Globalization.”

Rosemary Wakeman, Ph.D., director of the urban studies program at Fordham, said that the master’s came about largely because of the demand by Fordham students for a graduate-level program. Also, urban studies is a field of scholarship that is growing more popular globally, as the United Nations predicts a continuing shift in world population into cities over the next 50 years.

“There are very few urban studies graduate programs, so there is a real need for them,” Wakeman said. “This interdisciplinary program, in particular, brings a humanitarian focus that makes it distinct. Students will examine social issues and planning issues, questions of culture, of governance, of populations at risk and issues of gender and ethnicity.”

Besides attracting interested students, program organizers hope to draw professionals already working on urban issues who may want to earn a master’s degree. The fieldwork and project component of the program, Wakeman said, offer a chance for professionals to “self-design” a curriculum that would apply to their areas of practice.

For example, she said, an architect may choose to study the social aspects of building design, or a city official might choose to do a comparison study across cities of public aid for people at risk for AIDS.

Core courses include Issues in Urban Studies, Urban Political Processes, and Research Skills in Urban Studies. Beyond the core, students must choose four courses in their area of concentration, and three additional courses in other concentrations.

The new master’s program is poised to include international study and student exchanges. Last year, the urban studies program joined in the Transatlantic Graduate Research Program Berlin-New York, a five-university initiative based at the Technische Universität Berlin’s Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS).

The urban studies program also has just partnered with the University of Amsterdam, and plans are underway to offer courses in urban studies at Fordham’s London campus.

The partnering opportunities offer “a way for Fordham to participate with first-rate scholars on urban issues while fulfilling the international mission of the University,” Wakeman said.

The program will sponsor an open house on Thursday, June 11 on the Rose Hill campus.


Janet Sassi is editor/associate director of internal communications. She can be reached at (212) 636-7577 or [email protected]