We offer a diverse set of courses that focus on current issues affecting cities across the world. As urban populations grow, so do the challenges. Whether it is the global economic crisis or natural disaster, Urban Studies majors learn about an array of issues that prepare them to be problem-solvers.

The Walt Whitman House, built in 1848 in Camden, N.J., was the only house the poet ever owned. He lived here for 19 years, until his death in 1892.
(Credit: New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry)

As a student in our program, you will study cities and how they function, grow, and prosper or decline. The program is policy-focused and interdisciplinary, so students are able to take courses in other departments, such as criminal justice, sociology, political science, and history. Subjects include how cities are planned, population trends, and urban policy issues like housing, sustainability, and environmental justice. Through fieldwork and internship opportunities, you can apply what you are learning to acquire a range of skills prized in the wider labor market, including how to marshal leadership, how to conduct community-based participatory action research and policy analysis, and how to use computer mapping programs to diagnose problems and facilitate community engagement.

Coil Winder, RCA Victor Company, Camden, N.J., 1937. The caption for this Federal Works Progress Administration photograph by Lewis Hine reads, “If a girl has good fingers for this work, she can become expert on this job in three weeks. If she is not naturally deft, she never learns.”
(Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

Rutgers-Camden is fertile ground for studying cities. By the late 19th century, Camden had been transformed from farmland to a vital center of industrial production, followed by deindustrialization and disinvestment by the middle of the 20th century. In the wake of what some have called an “urbicide” brought on by capital flight, racial conflict, political corruption and misguided government policy, Camden, like so many other struggling American cities today, faces many intractable social, economic and political problems. Poverty, crime, violence, racism, joblessness, industrial pollution, governmental neglect and under-funded schools continue to plague the city.  

Camden, New Jersey, 2007
(Credit: Sylwia Kapuscinski for the New York Times)


Camden’s redevelopment will depend upon how it mobilizes its greatest strength, its people and their creativity. The Rutgers-Camden Urban Studies program offers unique learning and research opportunities to explore urbanism and community-building and to make a contribution to a brighter future for Camden.