PhD in Urban Studies

About the Program (Application now open!)

The Urban Studies Institute at GSU, AYSPS focuses on research and teaching in urban studies locally and globally. Our research emphasizes cities as drivers of economic growth, challenges of inclusive urban development & urban sustainability & resilience.

A Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies is a multi-disciplinary, advanced degree designed to prepare graduates for careers as faculty, researchers, and policymakers; providing leadership in facing the complex urban environments of the 21st century.

We live in a world that is rapidly urbanizing. Well over half the world’s population now resides in towns or cities. The modern economy is increasingly located in urban areas. Even in nations that already are highly urbanized, such as the United States, metropolitan areas continue to grow and attract economic activity and are the destination of national and international migrants. It is in urban areas where the grand societal challenges of the 21st century are most acutely felt – but it also where innovation and adaptability are most likely to take hold.


  1. Examination of urbanization processes, historical and contemporary in the U.S. and globally.
  2. Recognition of advanced urban theory in its various formulations and demonstration of the interdisciplinary nature of the field, in relation to geography, sociology, economics, and other disciplines.
  3. Advanced analytical skills based on a range of social science methods (qualitative and quantitative, data visualization and GIS).
  4. Translational research skills, i.e., the formulation of policy implications of urban research or analyses of urban policy impacts.

PhD Urban Studies Flyer 

*Online applications must be submitted and all materials received by the deadline to be reviewed for admission. This application requires that all materials be submitted online. Do not submit paper copies.

February 15 for fall 2019- Application now open!. 

Application Submission Instructions:

  • Create an account.
  • Start a new application.
    • Select application type: “Graduate Programs”
    • Click “Create an application”
    • Click “Open Application” to begin your application
  • On the “Program Selection” page:
    • Select College: “Andrew Young School of Policy Studies”
    • Select Program: “Urban Studies; Doctor of Philosophy”

Application Requirements:

A completed application includes all of the following materials submitted online.  Do not submit paper copies:

  1. Submitted Online Application. All online applications must be submitted by the deadline. Paper applications are not available.
  2. Application fee: A nonrefundable fee of $50 is required for each application. This fee must be paid online by credit card.
  3. Goal statement: wo to three page, typed statement of interest covering personal and professional goals as they relate to the Ph.D. in Urban Studies, including desired area of specialization, research interests, and faculty with whom applicant would like to work. Statement should discuss your reasons for applying to the doctoral program, expectations for completion of the coursework and dissertation, and prospective employment. Include special circumstances, if any, or other information not covered in the application that you think would be helpful in evaluating your application.
  4. Resume or curriculum vitae: Include a curriculum vitae or resume summarizing your academic, research, clinical and/or other relevant experiences
  5. Biographical Statement: Two page Biographical Statement that includes biographical information and defines how you have prepared yourself for doctoral study, uploaded within the "writing sample" section of the online application. It may include schools attended, areas of study and formative experiences (particularly those that are relevant to pursuing a Ph.D.). This statement is intended to help the committee better know the applicant and to see why pursuing a doctoral program is the next logical step.
  6. Official GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores: Official scores must be reported to institution code 5251 and received by GA State by the application deadline. More information can be found at our Admissions FAQ page or, to schedule the test, at Applicants with an earned doctorate or J.D. from an accredited institution in the US are eligible for a GRE waiver. You must review eligibility and apply here.
  7. TOEFL or IELTS Academic scores (International applicants only): All international applicants are required to submit official TOEFL or IELTS Academic scores.
  8. Two letters of recommendation: All letters should be submitted through the online application.
  9. Upload Transcripts from each post-secondary college/university attended: 
    • Upload each transcript to the Academic History section of the online application before submitting your application -or- upload to your application status page under the Upload Materials section if your application has been submitted.
    • Review all requirements for submitting transcripts here.
    • Failure to follow these requirements will delay your application processing

**Committees may occasionally request materials in addition to those listed above. You will be contacted if additional materials are necessary to complete a thorough review of your application.

Begin Application 

The program is  48 credit hours.

Compromised of:

(1). 12 credits of master courses:

  • Urban Theory & Praxis—URB 8010: The course teaches students to understand the conceptual dilemmas presented when analyzing ‘the urban’ and explore the insights by a variety of contemporary urban theoretical perspectives.
  • Global Urban Trajectories—URB 8020: The course compares and debates the main trajectories or pathways of cities, from past to present and future. In understanding the evolution of cities, historical and comparative global perspectives must be considered.
  • GIS Course - GEOG 6532 or PMAP 8561
  • Methods Course– PMAP 8121 (or as approved by DPC chair)

(2). 12 credits of foundational core:

  • Advanced Seminar in Urban Theory—URB 9010
  • Advanced Urban Analysis—URB 9020
  • Methods Course (select two)– PMAP 911, PMAP 9121, SOCI 8342, SOCI 9010, SOCI 9020 (or as approved by DPC chair)

(3.) 9 credits in electives- Elective Course Descriptions

(4). 15 credits in research/dissertation: