Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines the history and nature of cities and the global phenomenon of urbanization. 

At Trinity, Urban Studies majors are a close-knit group of students who care about cities and communities. Working from multiple perspectives, and through research, internships, and field trips, these students are prepared to be ethical and critical citizens and leaders in a variety of fields.

Fast Facts
  • San Antonio is one of the fastest growing U.S. cities, as well as one of the most culturally, historically, and ecologically rich
  • Student researchers helped develop San Antonio’s $2.7 billion “equity budget.”
Student writing on whiteboard


What You'll Study

People, Places, Problems, Possibility


Multidisciplinary Expertise

Urban Studies faculty come from multiple academic departments on campus and are leaders in their fields. They include a geographer, an anthropologist, economists, and historians. Collectively, their research stretches across continents and disciplines. As committed teachers and mentors they help students learn to transform the places where they work and live.

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Habiba Noor, Ph.D.
Headshot of John Anders
John Anders, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Economics
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Christine Drennon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
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Mark Garrison, Ph.D.
Alice P. Brown Distinguished Professor, Art and Art History
Shana McDermott
Shana McDermott, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Economics
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Tahir H. Naqvi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
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Kathryn O'Rourke, Ph.D.
Professor, Art and Art History
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Tim O'Sullivan, Ph.D.
Professor, Classical Studies

Student Opportunities

Out of the classroom, and into the city

Research Opportunities

Community-based research projects in Urban Studies courses give students opportunities to examine urban problems in partnership with community members, nonprofits, and government officials.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad. Urban Studies majors have spent semesters or summers in many cities, including Copenhagen, Berlin, and Shanghai.

Service Learning

Trinity’s strong network can help facilitate internships with city and county governments, local nonprofit organizations, and firms specializing in economic development, land use, and design.

Spaces and Facilities

For many Urban Studies students San Antonio is an extension of the classroom and a subject of research. They get to know the city by riding the bus, walking in neighborhoods, studying buildings and landscapes, and working with community members. 

The Social Science Laboratory offers 24 hour access and serves as a classroom, GIS lab, computer lab, and a late-night study-hangout.

Student Organizations

The Urban Studs is a student-run club for students who are passionate about cities and getting out into town for lectures, exhibitions, service work, and fun.

Student Awards and Recognition

Catherine Powell Prize for Outstanding Student in Urban Studies

Named for a distinguished member of the Urban Studies faculty, the Catherine Powell Prize for Outstanding Student in Urban Studies is awarded annually to the student who, in the judgment of the Urban Studies faculty, has not only performed exceedingly well in the classroom, but has demonstrated a deep understanding of and appreciation for the city.

Alex Briseño Award

Named for a distinguished graduate of the Urban Studies Program and San Antonio’s longest serving City Manager, the Alex Briseño Award is given annually to the student who, in the judgment of the Urban Studies faculty, has not only performed well in the classroom, but also ‘lives’ the Urban Studies experience in his or her daily life.

Lectures and Events

Special lectures and guest speakers regularly bring experts to campus for dialogue and exchange. Representatives come from a wide range of organizations including the San Antonio Housing Authority, VIA, Public Art San Antonio, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

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When You Graduate

Blueprint for Success

Students are prepared for graduate school and work to make a difference in the world. Their intense training in the history and theories of urbanism, combined with experiences working with professionals positions them for success in many fields.


Urban studies graduates become city managers, CEOs of both public and private corporations and organizations, urban planners, and researchers engaged in making cities better and more equitable places to live.

Graduate Schools or Programs:

  • Law
  • Public Administration
  • Urban Planning


    Career Areas:

    • Historic Preservation
    • Nonprofit work and advocacy
    • Public Policy
    • Real estate development
    • Urban Planning

    Notable Companies who have Hired Trinity Graduates:

    • City governments including those in San Antonio, Houston, and Atlanta
    • USAA
    • U.S. Congress

    Take the next step

    Have more questions or want more information? Learn more about becoming a Tiger, and how you can accelerate what’s next for your education.