BA Program in
Urban and Public Affairs
412 S. Peoria St.
Suite 315 M/C 350
Chicago, IL 60607
Click on any of the subheadings below to learn all about our program.
Knowledge of the Dynamic Urban Environment
Educate students on the complexity and diversity of urban areas.
Addressing Urban Problems: Policy and Management Tools
Teach students comprehensive policy and management tools for addressing urban problems and creating new opportunities.
Student Success: Real World Experience
U.S News in collaboration with education experts and staff members of the Association of American Colleges and Universities identified college programs that are believed to lead to student success. The Urban and Public Affairs program offers many of these programs to engage students with hands-on learning.
Life Connections: Learning as Cohort and Leadership Development
Foster strong relationships amongst students and with faculty and advisors. Students have access to top scholars and professionals in the field. Leadership development is supported through classroom and group experiences, hands-on learning and community interaction, advising appointments, and involvement in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and CUPPA’s research centers. Visit:
Make the Difference: Careers in Public Service
Graduating Urban and Public Affairs students may choose to enter careers in both the public and private sector, such as:
- Federal Government
- State or local government
- Non-profit service
- Non-governmental Organizations
- Grassroots organizations
- Private companies
- Real Estate
Graduate School Preperation
Graduating Urban and Public Affairs students may choose to pursue graduate education in related fields including:
- Urban and Public Affairs’ emphasis on experiential learning in university and city settings enables students to learn in contexts closely linked to their job and career interests.
- Students learn not just how to find work, but what that work means in relation to other choices not taken and to the many economic, social, physical, cultural and political impacts associated with urban policy.
- Students will learn how professionals address pressing urban problems like traffic congestion, sprawl, and affordable housing. Not only might they learn how urban leaders design development projects, but how cities address the NIMBY - "Not in My Backyard" - reaction to important public improvements.
- Students learn not only how to vote intelligently, but how to improve the institutions that manage the franchise.
- The Urban and Public Affairs program uses the intellectual and practical experience of urban relationships to help students shape and meet their career goals while learning the challenge and responsibility of urban civic engagement.
- The forces that shape urban areas, impact the quality of life and potential remedies.
- The processes for implementing public plans and programs, particularly in the chosen area of specialization.
- The understanding of organization theory and organizational behavior.
- Issues of efficiency, equity and social justice.
- An understanding of human resource management and financial administration.
- Collaboration, diversity and democracy in professional practice.
- Information on the ethical and political values guiding city building and management.
- Knowledge of plan and policy implementation.
- Students of Urban and Public Affairs enter into the program with a variety of academic and professional backgrounds.
- Students with a particular interest or background in areas such as sociology, economics, geography, government, law, architecture, information technology, public health, civics, urban studies, or urban environments – to name only a few! - might find the program to be especially appealing.
- Students with professional or volunteer experience in a community, political, or environmental setting will find that the UPA program provides a strong educational background to build upon these experiences. Potential students might also have a background of involvement in other activities such as student or community organizations, student government, debate, soup kitchens, international relief organizations, political parties, or other community based volunteer groups.
- Anyone with an interest in any one of the numerous topics that affect the urban environment or students who are “undecided” but are looking for a major that offers a multidisciplinary curriculum, professional experience, and the possibility of working toward improving the conditions around us in everyday life should consider this program.
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Why Major in Urban & Public Affairs (UPA)?
"UPA teaches me the theoretical and practical knowledge I will need to work in social justice occupations."
-Kevin Garvey, UPA Student Class of '09
"The UPA program really speaks to me. I saw it as a way to make changes in my city -- it would give me the framework and credentials I need to do what I want and that is to help the community. A bonus is the diverse and kind group of student I hve met!"
-Erica Solomon, UPA Student, Class of '09
"I joined the UPA program because I wanted to learn more about the policies and operations that affect my community. I want to learn the valuable skills and knowledge needed to reform my community’s most serious problems for the good of all people.”
-Kelly Ortega, UPA Student, Class of '09
“I’m in the UPA Program to help people and make a difference.”
-Elliot Hansen, UPA Student Class of ‘09