Master’s Degree Requirements

Master’s in Urban Studies Degree Requirements

The program requires 30 graduate credits. The five-course core curriculum establishes a common base of knowledge and research skills. On completing their electives, students have two options: they may either secure a generalist degree, requiring 15 additional credits in elective courses, or they may specialize in one of the many areas of concentration offered in consultation with their Advisor. The specialist option requires 15 credits in specified courses beyond the core courses.

All students conclude the program with a capstone requirement in the form of a master’s thesis or paper. The master’s paper/thesis option can be related to an internship in a local government setting, nonprofit agency, or business. Students may earn up to 3 credits toward the Master’s degree in Master’s thesis credits.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits. Students must earn at least 15 of their 30 credits in courses numbered 700 or above. All Urban Studies students are required to take a core curriculum of 15 credits.

Core Curriculum
Select an approved quantitative analysis course3
URB STD 921Seminar: Research Methods in Urban Studies3
Select three of the following:9
Urban Social Structure
Seminar in Urban Political Process
The Internal Structure of the City
Seminar on the History of American Urban Problems
Select 15 credits of approved electives15
Total Credits30

Students may opt to enroll in URB STD 990 and earn up to 3 credits toward the MS degree for their paper/thesis research and writing.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The Director and Associate Director of the Urban Studies Program act as the initial advisors to all entering students. Therefore, upon admission to the program, students should meet with one of them to discuss their course of study. As specified by The Graduate School, the student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies. Once the student has defined an area of interest within Urban Studies, an advisor with similar interests may be chosen from among the other members of the USP faculty.

Paper or Thesis

A master’s paper or thesis is required to receive the MS degree in Urban Studies. A master’s paper may be developed from a seminar paper and should demonstrate conceptual ability and research competence in a sub-area of Urban Studies. It is expected that the master’s paper will be prepared in a scholarly fashion conforming to the format characteristics of journal articles published in the chosen area of study.

A master’s thesis is a more formal document of greater breadth and depth than a master’s paper. Students should refer to Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Format Requirements for information regarding preparation and review of the thesis.

Regardless of the option chosen, the student, in consultation with the faculty advisor, must assemble a committee of three faculty (two of whom cannot be from the same department and must be USP faculty) who will serve as the paper or thesis examination committee. The student must pass an oral examination based on the paper or thesis.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

For more information about course assignments and readings, see course syllabi.

MS/MLIS Coordinated Degree Program

In cooperation with the School of Library and Information Science, Urban Studies Programs offers a MS/MLIS program to prepare students for positions as urban information specialists. Students in this program concurrently pursue a Master’s degree in Urban Studies and a MLIS degree. Prerequisite to the award of either degree in this program is the simultaneous award of its counterpart degree. To obtain information, visit the College of Community Engagement & Professions , or call (414) 229-4707.

Other USP Courses

For a complete listing of all Urban Studies courses, visit the USP Courses webpage to view upcoming USP semester course offerings and course descriptions obtained from the teaching faculty.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.