Core Courses

(For further information about Department of Social Science courses please consult the Department calendar or website)

Courses offered regularly but not offered in 2017-2018 are listed in the calendar marked with an asterisk [*] in order to provide students with information about courses that, while not available this year could be taken in other years across their three or four years with the program.

Students with an interest in a course not mentioned here that seems to have an urban focus should consult the Urban Studies Program coordinator about the possibility of pursuing the course as a program option.


Course Director: TBA

This course considers our contemporary urban and urbanizing world. For the first time in history, more than half the world's population lives in cities. How has this happened? What's going on in these cities? What do cities in different parts of the world have in common? Why are they different? Students are introduced to cities around the world through images, films, and stories, as well as scholarly texts, and are encouraged to think about the ways in which different cities and their unique urban cultures produce different everyday life experiences.

The course introduces some of the questions that underlie the field of the Urban Studies-what makes cities a different kind of human settlement?-and offers an historical overview of the development of cities into the mega urban regions that are a particular feature of the contemporary urban world. We explore urban issues and their spatial expression such as poverty and inequality, urban communities, migration, municipal governance and civil society, urban networks and globalization, downtowns and suburbs, nature and cities, urban icons, the role of the city in art, cities and consumption, urban environments, and so on.

Format: One two-hour lecture and one one-hour tutorial weekly
Projected Enrollment: 250
This course cannot count as a General Education course for URST majors/minors


Course Director: T. Abbruzzese

The course introduces the tradition and practice of urban study and considers ways that the city is both shaped by and shapes the culture, politics and economy of contemporary society and everyday life. Its themes include the history of urban study, the diversity of Canada’s urban populations, the development of the city’s physical fabric and spatial patterns, the place of Canadian cities in global society, the practice of urban fieldwork, and contemporary urban issues and dilemmas.

Format: One two-hour lecture and one one-hour tutorial weekly
Projected Enrollment: 100
Prerequisite: (beginning 2017) AP/SOSC 1733 6.0


Course Director: T. Abbruzzese

The aim of this course is to equip students with the knowledge to conduct research and develop a research proposal. The course introduces students to the practice of urban research, exploring theoretical assumptions, research ethics and methods, both quantitative and qualitative. The course has two segments, both analogous to the phases of the pre-field research process: (1) a discussion of theoretical approaches to urban analysis and how these view the city differently, as well as an exploration of research ethics; (2) an exploration of different research methods. The course includes a compulsory three-day field trip to Montreal in which students visit a variety of neighbourhoods and institutions, and meet with other students, teachers, community groups and policy makers.

Prerequisite: SOSC 2710 or permission of the instructor
Course Credit Exclusion: AP/SOSC 3700
Format: Three seminar hours weekly
Projected Enrollment: 35


Course Director: T. Abbruzzese

The aim of this course is to equip students with the knowledge to conduct research. Students conduct their own original research. The course introduces students to the practice of urban research, data analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, and writing up research results to produce a research report. The course has two segments, analogous to the phases of the research process: (1) field work, in which students collect their own data (2) post field work in which students explore techniques of research analysis and analyze their own data. The course concludes with students presenting their research results.

Prerequisite: AP/SOSC 3701
Course Credit Exclusion: AP/SOSC 3700
Format: 3 hour seminar
Projected Enrollment: 35


Course Director: D. Young

SOSC 4700 is a capstone course in the Urban Studies Program, providing a framework for senior students to pursue fieldwork projects about topics of scholarly and personal interest. As well, the course may accommodate students in fields related to Urban Studies who wish to join the seminar to do a sustained urban fieldwork project. For those ending their schoolwork this year, the course is a final opportunity for self-directed urban research. For those who will continue their studies, it is a bridge from undergraduate work to the independent research that is a cornerstone of the graduate and professional programs. The course builds on the Urban Studies Program’s 2000- and 3000-level core courses as well as on class members’ work in other urban-related courses. In framing and carrying out their projects, students will draw on material encountered in other course and on the store of urban knowledge they have developed. To provide common ground for the seminar, the projects share the same framework as case studies of social, spatial, historical, cultural, economic or political features of a specific community or place in Toronto.

Format: Three seminar hours weekly
Prerequisite: AP/SOSC 3700 6.0, OR AP/SOSC 3701 3.0 AND AP/SOSC 3702 3.0 and completion of 84 credits, or permission of the instructor
Projected Enrollment: 25