Geography and Urban Studies

Geography and Urban Studies has a central purpose underlying its curriculum:

To enable students to develop a body of knowledge, through a variety of learning processes, that provides substantive spatial and urban contexts for understanding society.

GUS majors share common objectives with other social sciences and with Arts and Sciences departments.

General Competencies

Shared with CLA

·       Develop critical and analytical skills

·       Be able to gather, interpret and analyze data

·       Design and carry out research projects

·       Be able to work with a research team in a collaborative setting

·       Be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing

·       Utilize quantitative techniques

Shared with the Social Sciences

·       Understand the inter-relationship of the individual and society

·       Appreciate cultural diversity

·       Understand human and societal conditions in the contexts of time and place

·       Be aware of the policy implications of social science analysis

Competencies specific to GUS

Exposure to and knowledge of disparate cities, regions, countries, and environments, and through that, a comparative, critical, and spatially oriented conceptual framework

·       Use mental maps and appropriate models to organize information about and analyze spatial behavior

·       Understand the physical and human dimensions of “place” in both objective and subjective terms

·       Use multiple criteria to identify regions of different types

Knowledge of the history of urban development and of different developmental paths toward urbanization

·       Identify the internal structure of cities

·       Discuss the global context of urban settlements in both industrialized and non-industrialized contexts

·       Identify new urban structures, such as megalopolis, edge cities, labor sheds, and metropolitan corridors

Knowledge of the intersection of the physical environment with human settlements, especially in urban areas

·       Knowledge of the earth’s basic physical systems and spatial variations across the globe

·       Knowledge of the earth’s basic ecosystems, their bio-diversity and productivity

·       Analyze the role of human activity in affecting the physical environment, and the limits placed by the physical environment on human society

Knowledge of global and spatial contexts of social processes, including:

·       The distribution and interaction of international, national and local economies

·       Political divisions and control, and the processes of transnational, regional, and local cooperation and conflict

·       The role of inequality, e.g., race, class, and gender in different socio-spatial contexts and communities

·       The policy consequences and conditions involved with issues of space and location

·       The ability to discuss trends in world population, including the economic, political and social factors underlying migration

·       The concepts of cultural convergence and divergence

·       The spatial and urban contexts of social problems

Development of skills specific to each student that complement their substantive knowledge base from among the following:

·       Interpret, evaluate and create visual representations of knowledge outcomes, using maps, graphs, tables, web-sites, etc.

·       Design & conduct research projects, including applied, field based projects

·       Develop critical and analytical skills critiquing and proposing social policy

·       Conceptualize differences in Place from a multi-cultural perspective

·       Develop geographic data base and computer cartography skills

·       Interpret a wide range of landscapes, deconstructing natural and built environments and texts

·       Develop graphic and evaluation tools related to land use planning issues

Specific methods and skills

Note that not all students will be interested in all skills and techniques.

·       Observe social space: observation, description, interpretation, evaluation

·       Recognize learning styles and processes through learning journals

·       Carry out extra-linguistic observation

·       Determine validity and reliability in research

·       Know different interview techniques including directed, formal, and informal

·       Design and execute surveys

·       Collect life histories

·       Learn how to listen

·       Be a participant observer

·       Create and interpret maps

·       Map urban neighborhoods (transects, economic activity, social networks, etc.)

·       Collect and analyze visual data

·       Write reports

·       Present reports and other material

·       Use, create and evaluate basic tables and statistical analysis

·       Use census data

·       Perform electronic data base research

·       Design research questions

·       Visually present data

·       Do web-based data systems management

Learning Objectives for the Master’s Program

Graduates from our Master’s program should be able to:

·       Integrate perspectives from multiple social science disciplines to understand city and metropolitan dynamics

·       Understand basic urban processes both in U.S. and non-U.S. contexts

·       Use spatial frameworks to analyze urban and metropolitan problems

·       Recognize the differing approaches to urban policy represented by governmental, market-based, and nonprofit/non-governmental organizations

·       Employ basic statistics to analyze data sets

·       Engage in secondary research on urban dynamics and problems using available data sources, including quantitative data housed in the Social Science Data Library and Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project

·       Design and deliver professional presentations using PowerPoint and other presentation technologies

·       Engage in both theoretically informed and applied scholarship

·       Recognize and abide by ethical norms of research and professional conduct

·       Understand the major academic and intellectual movements governing the analysis of urban public policy and urban dynamics over the past 100 years

·       Develop an expertise in particular qualitative or quantitative analytical methodology for urban analysis

·       Design, execute, and report on an applied urban studies research project in a written format at a standard of quality that is suitable in a professional or academic context

 

Learning Objectives for the Doctoral Program

Graduates from our doctoral program should be able to:

·       Integrate perspectives from multiple social science disciplines to understand city and metropolitan dynamics

·       Understand basic urban processes both in U.S. and non-U.S. contexts

·       Use spatial frameworks to analyze urban and metropolitan problems

·       Recognize the differing approaches to urban policy represented by governmental, market-based, and nonprofit/non-governmental organization

·       Employ basic statistics to analyze data set

·       Engage in secondary research on urban dynamics and problems using available data sources, including quantitative data housed in the Social Science Data Library and Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project

·       Design and deliver professional presentations using PowerPoint and other presentation technologies

·       Engage in both theoretically informed and applied scholarship

·       Recognize and abide by ethical norms of research and professional conduct

·       Understand the major academic and intellectual movements governing the analysis of urban public policy and urban dynamics over the past 100 years

·       Develop an expertise in particular qualitative or quantitative analytical methodology for urban analysis

·       Design, execute, and report on a theoretical urban studies research project in a written format at a standard that is suitable for publication by a peer-reviewed academic journal or publishing house

·       Conduct original research that makes a substantial and novel contribution to the urban studies academic literature

·       Employ multiple (i.e., spatial analytic, quantitative, and qualitative) methods to conduct research on urban dynamics and problems

·       Participate successfully in scholarly and professional communities