Mar 05, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Urban Studies, Ph.D.

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Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for PhD Urban Studies

Graduates will demonstrate an ability to synthesize urban studies scholarship, apply existing knowledge to diverse urban and regional questions, and create original interpretations of urban and regional debates. 

Graduates will demonstrate to their ability to use urban studies scholarship for original policy analysis and to design applied research. 

Graduates will demonstrate sufficient advanced knowledge in a subfield along with relevant methods to make an original contribution to the body of urban studies knowledge. 


Graduates will demonstrate an ability to evaluate both qualitative and quantitative urban and regional scholarship. 


The program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies program enables students of exceptional ability to undertake advanced study and original research in the fields of urban affairs, urban history, and urban and regional planning. The primary goal of the program is to prepare people for careers in scholarly activity, applied research, and high caliber policy analysis. Although many graduates will undertake applied research and policy analysis outside of academic settings, the program provides a sound foundation for teaching and research in emphasizes command of the literature in a particular area of scholarship and mastery of the research skills necessary to make original contributions to that literature.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. in Urban Studies program will typically have a master’s degree in urban studies, urban planning, public administration, anthropology, architecture, history, or a related discipline. In some cases students admitted to the program may be required to undertake additional preparation appropriate to their major fields of study or areas of specialization.

Admission requirements for the Ph.D. in Urban Studies program include a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0, an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher, a score of 150 or higher on the quantitative reasoning portion of the GRE, a score of 150 or higher on the verbal reasoning portion of the GRE, and a score of at 5.0 or higher on the analytical writing portion of the GRE. The admissions committee may relax some admission requirements if applicants’ records show substantial professional or scholarly achievement.

Degree Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 60 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, including a minimum of nine credit hours for dissertation research. All courses must be approved by the Department of Planning and Urban Studies and the Graduate School. Students are required to earn a B or higher in all required courses. For their other courses, students will be allowed two course grades of C or lower. Students who receive a third C while in the Ph.D. in Urban Studies program must withdraw from the program for at least one semester.

Students may count up to a maximum of 30 graduate credit hours earned after the baccalaureate degree program toward Ph.D. in Urban Studies program requirements. All previous coursework counted toward the Ph.D. in Urban Studies program requirements must be approved by the Ph.D. graduate coordinator and the Graduate School and, if approved, will be covered on a written comprehensive examination that all urban studies doctoral students must pass before advancing to candidacy.

Fields of specialization include

  1. Urban Affairs,
  2. Urban History, and
  3. Urban and Regional Planning
  4. Transportation


60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree:

  1. Core Curriculum (nine credit hours)
    1. DURB 6850    
    2. DURB 6830 
    3. One additional 6000-level seminar course depending on field of specialization
  2. Research Design and Methods (3-15 credit hours, depending on prior preparation; DURB 7030  is required for all students)
  3. DURB 7050 - Dissertation Research  (nine credit hours)


Major and Minor Fields of Study/Area of Specialization (up to 27 credit hours)

Course substitutions are permissible with approval from the program coordinator.

Students choose from four major fields of study: urban affairs, urban history, urban planning, and transportation. They select a group of courses that provide a foundation in the theory and methods of their chosen field and a set of additional courses that constitutes an area of specialization. Typically, foundation courses are completed as part of a previous master’s degree program. Students who do not have a master’s degree in their major field or in a related field should expect to take courses sufficient to demonstrate knowledge of the basic theory, concepts, and methods of their major fields of study.

Students select a group of courses that form an area of specialization within their major fields of study. As a rough rule of thumb, students should expect to complete at least 15 credit hours of coursework in their areas of specialization. The courses may be offered in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies or other departments at the University of New Orleans.

Students define their areas of specialization in consultation with a faculty advisor and the Ph.D. graduate coordinator. The courses must be mutually reinforcing and coherent; assure expertise in some body of knowledge, methods, or problem area; and provide students with adequate skills and knowledge to undertake dissertation research, teach, and carry out original research in their areas of specialization. Students are expected to develop knowledge of the body of relevant theory in their areas of specialization, usually by taking courses in the social sciences, history, or planning; demonstrate an ability to apply theory and methods to specific problems; and develop a general proficiency in research design and methods. Areas of specialization available to urban studies doctoral students include, but are not limited to, urban development, urban anthropology, social policy, social and cultural change, public culture, public history, cultural resource management, and historic preservation.

Students may, at their own option, define a minor field of study. Within the minor field, students must complete at least nine credit hours in a set of courses approved in advance by the faculty advisor and the Ph.D. graduate coordinator. (Students may have completed some of the coursework as part of a master’s degree program.) Courses students complete in the minor field may constitute an independent body of knowledge, or they may support the area of specialization developed in the major field.

Students should check with the department about any revisions approved for the program, but which may not be reflected in this catalog, or visit the department website at

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