Urban Studies: What Can I Do With This Degree?


  • Demography
  • Social statistics
  • Public administration
  • Policy analysis
  • Research
  • Program development
  • Human services
  • City planning
  • Law enforcement
  • Politics


  • Federal departments and agencies such as:
    Departments of Agriculture, Education,
    Interior, Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, Drug Enforcement Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development
    Veteran’s Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging
  • Peace Corps
  • State and local government
  • Planning and development commissions
  • National, state, or local parks or recreation
  • Housing authorities
  • Social service agencies
  • Transportation departments

Information & Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with coursework in statistics and social research.
  • Develop exceptional computer, communication, and research skills.
  • Gain work experience via government internships, part-time jobs, or summer work.
  • Develop a specialty such as aging, family, criminal justice, or healthcare.
  • Learn the federal job application process.
  • Obtain a graduate degree for advanced positions.
  • Consider obtaining a minor in political science, public administration, or other relevant fields.

Regional and Urban Planning

  • Transportation
  • Demography
  • Housing
  • Historic preservation
  • Urban design
  • Urban renewal
  • Environmental/Regulatory issues
  • Economic development
  • Land use
  • Research design
  • Program development


  • Architecture firms
  • Engineering firms
  • Local planning agencies
  • Real estate and development contractors
  • Investment companies
  • Transportation agencies
  • Zoning administration
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Utility companies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Historical restoration or preservation agencies
  • Neighborhood revitalization initiatives
  • International development organizations

Information & Strategies

  • Enhance curriculum with courses in business, social sciences, and statistics.
  • Earn a graduate degree in urban or regional planning from an accredited planning program.
  • Find a related internship, part-time, or summer job.
  • Develop strong computer skills.
  • Learn another language to communicate with diverse community members or to work abroad.
  • Plan to work collaboratively with a wide array of professionals and local citizens.
  • Understand that most planners work for local governments.

Human Services

  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Rehabilitation counseling
  • Mental health services
  • Programming
  • Administration


  • Community service agencies
  • Advocacy groups
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • United Way agencies
  • Local branches of national nonprofit organizations
  • Religiously-affiliated service organizations
  • Private foundations
  • Adoption and child care agencies
  • Nursing homes and retirement communities
  • Hospitals and wellness centers
  • Halfway houses
  • Vocational services
  • Educational information services

Information & Strategies

  • Gain experience and develop helping skills through volunteer positions.
  • Spend summers working at camps, YMCA’s, or other social service agencies.
  • Gain experience working with diverse populations.
  • Develop excellent communication skills.
  • Concentrate course work in an area of interest such as youth, gerontology, or poverty.
  • Learn a second language in order to interact with non-English speakers and increase marketability.
  • Serve as a peer mentor, resident assistant, or other student leader.
  • Earn a master’s degree in social work, counseling, or other related field to increase employment opportunities.
  • Most states require licensure or certification for positions involving the direct provision of therapeutic services to clients.


  • Real Estate: construction management, development, sales, leasing
  • Management
  • Human resources
  • Sales


  • Real estate firms
  • Rental properties
  • Construction and development companies
  • Insurance firms
  • Retail stores
  • Banks
  • Staffing agencies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Credit management companies and organizations
  • Service industries
  • Healthcare organizations

Information & Strategies

  • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with courses in general business, accounting, and finance.
  • Gain business experience through part-time jobs, summer work, and internships.
  • Develop excellent computer skills.
  • Learn to use software applications such as spreadsheets, databases, and word processing.
  • Hone written and oral communication skills.
  • Join related professional associations.
  • Seek leadership roles in student organizations.


  • Teaching
  • Research


  • Colleges and universities
  • Adult education providers

Information & Strategies

  • Earn a graduate degree for post-secondary teaching.
  • Assist a professor with research.
  • Take extra courses in research and statistics.
  • Develop exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Secure strong personal recommendations, particularly from professors.

Social Science Research

  • Data analysis
  • Demography
  • Market research
  • Information sourcing


  • Universities
  • Government agencies
  • Research institutes
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Private industries
  • Advertising and marketing firms
  • Consulting organizations
  • Information brokers
  • Newspapers, magazines, news agencies
  • Public opinion research polls

Information & Strategies

  • Develop exceptional quantitative, statistical, and writing skills.
  • Learn to use statistics software packages as well as database, spreadsheet, and desktop publishing programs.
  • Volunteer to help a professor with a research project.
  • Obtain an advanced degree for research administration positions.
  • Network with professionals working in areas of interest.
  • Gain experience working on teams.

General Information

  • Many transferable skills such as analytical, organizational, research, interpersonal, computer, leadership, teamwork, and oral/written communication are associated with the urban studies degree.
  • Internships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and/or volunteer experiences are critical for gaining experience and developing a career path.
  • An undergraduate degree is sufficient for many entry-level positions in business, industry, and government; however, a graduate degree is likely to be more desirable in a competitive market.
  • An undergraduate degree in urban studies is good preparation for graduate or professional education in law, business, and other related fields.
  • Research prerequisites for graduate or professional programs of interest.
  • To enhance graduate or professional school opportunities, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, join student or professional organizations, and gain relevant experience outside of the classroom through work, internship, volunteer, and research opportunities.
  • A PhD is required for teaching at the four-year university level.
  • For human or social service positions, gain experience with a population of interest (i.e., children, college students, elderly adults) and develop multicultural sensitivity and understanding. Plan to earn a graduate degree in counseling, social work, or related field.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals working in areas of interest.
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Kimball El Train