Office of Community Studies

Office of Community Studies

Academic and applied research center affiliated with the Department of Urban Studies at Queens College.

Masters Program

Masters Program

We prepare students for professional work in urban administration, organization and policy in the public and

Service Learning

Service Learning

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Program

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies Program


What is Urban Studies?

Urban Studies is a field of study that creates innovative, real-world knowledge of the challenges and opportunities of city life.  Both inside and outside the classroom, the Urban Studies Department reaps the advantage of the immense complexity and diversity both of New York City as a preeminent global city, and Queens as one of the most diverse counties in the United States. In Urban Studies we take a multi-disciplinary approach. We combine history, anthropology, sociology, economics, political science and other fields. To a greater or lesser degree, all of our courses address the deep inequalities that rend our urbanizing world.

The theme of social justice is woven through our courses on a wide array of subjects, from our basic courses on Urban Poverty and Affluence, Urban Diversity, Urban Politics, Public Policy, Research Methods, and Contemporary Urban Theory, to specialized courses in such areas as urban education, transportation, economy, civil rights, social movements, criminal justice, social welfare, health policy, labor, housing, minorities, and the urban environment.

Our mission is to help students to understand cities and think critically about them and their environs, to prepare students for active and engaged participation in civic life, and to provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need for successful careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, as well as for advanced studies.

Department History.  The Department of Urban Studies was founded in 1971 by Marilyn Gittell, a scholar and activist who spearheaded the movement for school equity and democratic schooling, and Matthew Edel, an urban economist who did pioneering research on the economy of cities and neighborhoods. From the start, we have emphasized participatory, community-based models of teaching and learning that take into account the needs of people and neighborhoods marginalized by race, class, gender, sexuality or nationality.

The Faculty. The faculty has expertise in a variety of fields including urban anthropology, environmental policy, geography, health policy, history, political science, public administration, sociology, and urban planning. Practitioners with extensive experience in city government and non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, community planning agencies, public policy organizations and labor unions teach many of our courses.

More information about the URBST Department

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Leonard Rodberg Retires after 35 Years of Service as Professor, Department Chair, and Interim Dean

Policymaker and researcher for the federal government in the 1960s and 1970s on nuclear disarmament, energy efficiency, and health care
  • Became a professor in the Urban Studies department in 1981
  • Elected Chair of the Department in 1994
  • Served a total of 22 years as Department Chair
  • Leader in the creation of labor studies and environmental studies programs and fundraising for a variety of enriching student programming
Thanks so much to Len for his many years of service! Follow this link to read his inspirational retirement speech and to see photos of the April, 2016 party to celebrate his service. 

Office of Community Studies

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65-30 Kissena Blvd. Flushing, NY 11367
Powdermaker Hall, Room 250
Telephone: 718-997-5130

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