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Urban Studies (BA)

Joint program with the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies

We live in an urban world.

The extensive spread of urban form across vast regions challenges our conventional understanding of the city as a distinct form and its relationships with suburban, exurban and rural environments. The urban now figures as both cause and consequence of many planetary issues: It is an instigator of the climate emergency, global migration, increasing inequality and poverty – while also being a vessel for economic growth, public discourse, innovation and creativity.

In a world threatened by climate change, sustainable cities are a declared goal of urban planning and design. In a global health emergency, pandemic preparedness and resilient communities are a necessity. In a world of racial inequality, our municipalities need to be held accountable to the highest democratic standards of social and environmental justice. As an Urban Studies student, you will be encouraged to reimagine the responsibilities of global urban citizenship and local policy and activism and to help design new forms of urban governance that is inclusive and participatory, especially for those historically excluded from democratic decision-making and planning processes.

The program addresses such critical issues as:

  • Global migrations
  • Megacities and global cities
  • Planning theory
  • Urban analytics and geomatics
  • Urban wildlife and habitats
  • Urban risk and resilience
  • Public participation
  • Urban inequalities
  • Urban ecologies
  • Communities and urban life
  • Urban and regional planning

You will develop conceptual, analytical and technical skills in processes of urban change, development trends and climate change. Enhance your critical thinking, civic engagement and leadership skills as you work collaboratively with communities, non-government and government agencies and the private sector to effectively address urban challenges.

This program is supported by the CITY Institute at York University, a leading research centre that combines critical urban investigation with applied research and intervention.

Program Details

4 years

Full time and some part time

Fall, Winter and Summer entry

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Sample Courses

  • World of Cities
  • City Lives, City Forms
  • Sustainable Urbanism: Environmental Planning and Design
  • Urban Ecology
  • Urban Planning and Politics in a Global Context

Career Paths

  • Urban planner
  • Policy analyst
  • Youth worker
  • Community developer
  • Emergency management consultant

Additional Details

Admission Requirements

Please note that meeting the minimum academic requirements is not a guarantee of admission. More information is available on the York University Admission Requirements page.

  • ENG4U
  • Mid to high 70s
  • Grade 12 English
  • Mid to high 70s
  • Overall average of 3.0 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent)
  • Overall average of 2.3 on a 4-point scale (or equivalent)

How to Apply

Deadlines can be found on the York university Future Students website.

  1. Complete an Online Application Form.
  2. Pay the application fee.
  3. Submit supporting documents through the York University online portal, MyFile.
    • Within four business days of application, you will receive a confirmation email with your nine-digit student reference number, which will allow you to access your MyFile account and upload your documents.
    • It is important to check your MyFile regularly for any documents you are required to submit and updates to the status of your application.
    • More information about supporting documents, document processing times and decision processing times is available on the I’ve Applied page.