Overseas and Off-Campus Studies

Students in the Urban Studies program seek to understand how cities vary across societies, and the program’s philosophy holds that observing cities firsthand is a very effective way to accomplish this goal.  The program faculty encourages our students to get direct experience of urban areas by studying off campus, whether in the United States or internationally, during their Stanford career. 

If you are considering spending a quarter or more off campus, please meet with an Urban Studies advisor to find the best way to fit your plans into your academic program.  Timing is important; Urban Studies majors should try to be on campus to take the required senior seminar (URBANST 203) and one of the required junior-year seminars (URBANST 201 or 202).  Many students find that they can count some courses taken off-campus or overseas toward their Urban Studies major, making their time away from campus more academically productive and rewarding. 

The following descriptions outline some of the most common options for Urban Studies majors to study off campus.  For more details, see the website of the program you are interested in.

Stanford Overseas Studies Program

Bing Overseas Studies Program
First Floor, Sweet Hall
590 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
(650) 723-3558

Through the Stanford University Overseas Studies Program, Urban Studies students have the opportunity to study and, in many cases, to intern at locations around the world for one, two, or even more quarters.  For information on overseas internships for Urban Studies students, please download the overseas internships guide (pdf).

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Stanford in Washington

Stanford in Washington
Encina Hall West, room 204
(650) 736-2319

Stanford in Washington enables Stanford students to study public policy, government institutions, and political processes in Washington DC. The program operates during all three quarters, which allows for maximum flexibility in schedule planning; the program focuses specifically on environmental policy during the winter quarter.

Students typically study at the center for one quarter, during which they participate in small tutorials taught by policy experts, weekly policy seminars taught by Stanford faculty, and internships.  Depending on the content of the seminars and tutorials offered during a student's quarter in Washington, these courses may fulfill requirements, or count as electives toward an Urban Studies degree.

Internship: Urban Studies majors may fulfill their capstone internship requirement by completing the Stanford in Washington internship and submitting appropriate products (such as papers or projects) that demonstrate their learning. Before beginning the internship, students must complete an Urban Studies internship proposal (pdf), describing how they plan to fulfill the internship requirement, their faculty supervisor, and anticipated final product. 

Students who carry out original research as part of their internship may also be able to use the experience as the basis for an honors thesis, or for their senior “capstone” paper, which they complete in the senior seminar (URBANST 203). Students should consult their major adviser before leaving for Washington to determine whether their academic work or internship at Stanford in Washington will fulfill Urban Studies requirements.

Potential internship placements of interest to Urban Studies students include such institutions and agencies as the Brookings Institution, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Hispanic Caucus, the L.A. Times, the National Council of La Raza, and the Urban Institute.

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Stanford Diversity Exchange Programs

Stanford Diversity Exchange Programs
Undergraduate Advising Center
Sweet Hall - 1st Flr.
(650) 723-2426

Stanford has programs with Howard University in Washington DC, Spelman and Morehouse Colleges in Atlanta, and Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH that allow students to exchange schools for a quarter/semester or for a year, depending upon the school. Howard, Spelman, and Morehouse are three of the most highly regarded historically black colleges; students are exposed to disciplines from a different perspective. The Dartmouth exchange is focused on Native American studies.

Note that, in order to receive credit at Stanford, courses taken through the exchange program must be approved by the External Credit Evaluation section of the Office of the University Registrar.  External coursework must be approved by the registrar’s office for credit before it can be considered for credit toward the Urban Studies major.

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Non-Stanford Overseas Programs

We include here a short list of overseas programs offered by other universities that may be of particular interest to Urban Studies students.  For more comprehensive information on study abroad through non-Stanford programs, consult website or visit the offices of Stanford’s Overseas Resource Center.

Note that, in order to receive credit at Stanford, courses taken at another university’s overseas program must be approved by the External Credit Evaluation section of the Office of the University Registrar.  External coursework must be approved by the registrar’s office for credit before it can be considered for credit toward the Urban Studies major.

Columbia University
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation 
The Shape of Two Cities: New York-Paris

The Shape of Two Cities: New York-Paris is a program for undergraduates enrolled in other universities that offers a year's exposure to architecture, urban planning and historic preservation in New York and Paris. A full year of academic credit is offered through a carefully constructed program of history, theory and studio courses conducted in English. Directed by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University, the program offers a two-semester curriculum whose intention is to immerse participants in the rich physical and intellectual urban environments of New York and Paris. Instruction draws on the resources of Columbia University and its faculty and the architectural communities of New York and Paris.

Cornell University
Art, Architecture, and Planning Department

Program in Rome
Cornell’s program in Rome offers courses in architecture, art, and urban studies, architecture history, art history, drawing, photography, architecture theory, contemporary Italian culture, European politics and Italian language.  The Urban Studies component of the program is offered spring quarter. 

In addition to taking classes with architecture and art students, Urban Studies participants engage in field research, and assist civic leaders and municipal officials in developing workable solutions to challenging problems confronting contemporary Roman neighborhoods. Students meet with professional planners; government officials; community activists; leading architects; and researchers and others responsible for urban policy-making in the areas of economic development, neighborhood stabilization, urban design, regional planning, city management, agricultural development, tourism, historic preservation, and immigration.

International Honors Program

Cities in the Twenty-First Century: People, Planning, and Politics
Established in 1996, Cities in the 21st Century was developed through the leadership of Janice Perlman of The Mega-Cities Project, based in New York City. Cities in the 21st Century combines an innovative urban studies academic curriculum with fieldwork involving public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs, and grassroots groups.  IHP has developed programs in a group of important world cities where exciting changes are happening, including New York City, Sao Paulo/Curitiba, Capetown, Auckland, Bangalore, Beijing, Buenos Aires, and Istanbul.  We build each semester’s itinerary from among these cities.

The International Honors Programs are offered in affiliation with the School for International Training (SIT), the accredited higher education division of World Learning.  The Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) is a partner in the Cities in the 21st Century program.

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