Please note:

To view the Spring 2023 Academic Calendar, go to

Urban Studies Program | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023

Urban Studies

Master of Urban Studies

The city is a central feature of modern societies and economies. The development of cities over the past 500 years has enabled the evolution of the modern world. Academic interest in urban studies spans many disciplines and focuses on understanding cities, how they function, and how they change for the better.

This master of urban studies (MUrb) program develops the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals, organizations, communities and governments need to improve human lives, strengthen municipal governance and advance urban sustainability. Students seek to understand, develop and diversify the structures, processes and actions that make cities livable. The curriculum integrates traditional understandings with new perspectives, both locally and globally.

Programs are available to both full-time and part-time students, ranging from mid-career professional to those who are simply curious about local politics, urban development, and sustainable cities. The program provides a strong foundation in economic, geographic, political and social analysis techniques and applies these skills to real-world urban problems.

Courses are offered in the evenings at Vancouver campus, located in the core of British Columbia’s principal urban centre.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulation 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. Applicants for admission are normally required to have an undergraduate degree in one of the urban studies base disciplines such as: economics, geography, history, political science, sociology and anthropology. Applications from students with other degrees or with equivalent professional training and experience will also be considered. Admissions decisions will be based on material submitted with the application.

Program Requirements

This program consists of course work and a project for a minimum of 32 units.

Students must complete both of*

URB 670 - Urban Research Methods (4)

Offers a tip-to-all approach to researching urban public policy problems, from imagining projects, to gathering interpreting data and presenting findings to the public. The emphasis of this program is for students to be able to understand the work of others and design their own studies. In addition to this, students are trained in how to apply descriptive statistics such as means, measures of spread and cross-tabulation. Students wishing to deepen their quantitative skills, such as multivariate, qualitative or spatial analysis, will be encouraged to take advanced programs offered in affiliated departments.

URB 696 - Seminar in Urban Studies (4)

In-depth study of two or three areas of urban studies with particular attention to (1) the contributions of various disciplines and (2) the development of a proposal for research to explore a suitable area of particular interest to the student. Where feasible, students will be involved with external organizations in developing their research proposal. Prerequisite: 16 units of course work, including URB 670. If the grade received in URB 670 is lower than A-, supervisor permission is required. This may require completion of remedial work.

and five graduate courses for a minimum of 20 units from Urban Studies**

and a project

URB 697 - Research Project (4)

A research project on some aspect of urban studies supervised by a faculty member with the participation of a supervisory committee. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: URB 696 with a grade of A- or higher. Students who receive a B+ in URB 696 may enroll for URB 697 with permission of their senior supervisor.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD
G400 TBD

* These courses help students prepare an original urban research project to demonstrate integration of concepts and techniques acquired in previous course work.

** Up to two graduate courses beyond those offered by Urban Studies may be substituted with the approval of the Urban Studies program committee.

Accelerated Master's

SFU students accepted in the accelerated master’s within Urban Studies may apply a maximum of 10 graduate course units, taken while completing the bachelor’s degree, towards the upper division electives of the bachelor’s program and the requirements of the master’s degree. For more information go to:

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in nine terms.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.