May 22, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2013 - 2014 
Graduate Catalog 2013 - 2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Urban Studies, MS

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Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

Urban Affairs 231
(216) 687-3884

Brian Mikelbank, Graduate Program Director

Areas of Study

Economic Development
Public Finance
Urban Real Estate Development
Community and Neighborhood Development
Urban and Public Policy


The program offers advanced training in urban studies to recent undergraduate-degree recipients, practitioners already working in the field, and returning students who wish to pursue careers in public, not-for-profit, or private service. No single discipline adequately covers the broad spectrum of knowledge that the modern urban problem solver needs. Thus, the program draws on many disciplines to broaden and extend the student’s knowledge and expertise through a combination of specially developed urban core courses, research seminars, and electives. It is an interdisciplinary program drawing on resources and faculty from a variety of disciplines, colleges, and departments. Classroom knowledge can be augmented by internships and other experiential training that add scope to the program.

The objective of the program is to educate students to the major theoretical perspectives and applied research methods useful for effective problem definition and problem solving. These skills enhance organizational capacity in attempting to define, analyze, and solve urban problems. Special emphasis is placed on economic development, public finance, law and public policy, community and neighborhood development, and urban policy analysis.

For updated information about the MS in Urban Studies program, visit

Faculty Research and Publications

Urban Studies faculty members conduct research in the areas of housing, economic development, environmental policy and planning, historic preservation, neighborhood and community development, social policy, conflict resolution, public finance, and urban management.

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.

Research Units

Students may have opportunities to work with the faculty and staff in the research, public service, and training centers in the Levin College. See for information on the Levin College facilities.

Financial Assistance

The Levin College provides graduate assistantships on a competitive basis to full-time students. Although the deadline for receipt of graduate assistantship applications is March 1, fullest consideration is given to those who have submitted all application materials for the MS program by February 1.

The College also offers paid internships and tuition grants to eligible degree-seeking students. Application forms are available from the Levin College Office of Student Services. See also the section on Expenses and Financial Aid: Graduate Assistantships  Graduate Assistantships in this Catalog.

Career Information

The Levin College, through the Department of Urban Studies, the Office of Student Services, and the faculty, provides a variety of services related to career planning to help students and graduates find employment related to their program of study. Current job postings are maintained in the Office of Student Services and on the College Web site. Cleveland State’s Career Services Center also provides graduate students and alumni with career advice and career development assistance, including resume review. (See the section on Campus Services and Programs: Career Services of this Catalog).

Careers in Urban Affairs

Graduates of the MS program in Urban Studies hold a variety of positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The alumni roster includes elected officials, directors of local development corporations and other nonprofit organizations, real estate redevelopment entrepreneurs and program planners and managers working in a broad spectrum of urban organizations

Admission Information

Applicants to the Master of Science in Urban Studies Program must meet the minimum requirements established by the College of Graduate Studies and the MS program faculty:

  1. A minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0.
  2. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, with an average Verbal and Quantitative score at the 40th percentile, and an Analytical Writing score of at least 4.0. Students with a graduate degree from an accredited college or university are exempted from this requirement. Other standardized admission examinations may be substituted at the discretion of the Program Director.
  3. Two letters of recommendation, using the Recommendation Form for Graduate Admission (available online at
  4. Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English-language proficiency as indicated in this bulletin under “Admission Requirements for International Students and Permanent Residents”.

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Types of Admission

The academic status of a graduate degree-seeking applicant is determined after a review of admission credentials. Graduate Program Committees, in concurrence with the Office of Graduate Admissions, may recommend admission of applicants as regular or conditional graduate students. Please refer to the Admission to the College of Graduate Studies  section of this catalog for information on admission categories.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of forty credit hours is needed to complete degree requirements. Students must meet all University requirements and must attain a 3.0 or better grade-point average.

Students are required to complete a common core curriculum and an area of specialization with the advice and consent of their faculty advisor.

Core Courses

The core of the MS in Urban Studies curriculum (20 credit hours) is required of all students and consists of the following:

Areas of Specialization

Students complete an area of specialization (24 credit hours) to be chosen in consultation with an advisor. Specializations consist of required courses, elective(s), and a capstone course, exit project, or thesis. The areas of specialization are given below. Please see the Graduate Advisor for specific curriculum plans.

Economic Development
Public Finance
Urban Real Estate Development
Community and Neighborhood Development
Urban and Public Policy

Law and Public Policy Program

The Levin College and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law jointly sponsor the Law and Public Policy program. The program and its curriculum are recommended for law students and graduate students in urban affairs who are interested in public-service careers and who wish to expand their understanding of legislative and administrative procedures, governmental decision-making, and public-policy development.


*See the College of Law Catalog for course descriptions.

Three experiential opportunities are offered.

The Law and Public Policy Clinic introduces students to the legal and analytic tools needed in addressing public policy issues. The Washington and Columbus seminars allow students to observe public policy as it develops through the legislature and executive agencies.


Students may select courses in the areas of economic development, environment, law and public policy, organizational leadership, urban policy analysis, and urban services administration.

Those students whose needs are not met with one of the six areas of specialization listed above may design individual programs of study in consultation with their advisors and with the approval of the Program Director. Examples of individually designed programs of study include Housing and Comparative Urban Studies.


An internship is not required; however, students without related work experience are encouraged to seek an internship placement. Paid and unpaid internships are arranged through the Department of Urban Studies. Interested students may receive elective credit for internship work.

Exit Requirements

All candidates for the Master of Science in Urban Studies degree must complete a thesis, capstone, or an alternative exit project. Generally, students may not register for thesis/capstone/exit-project credit until they have completed the core courses and the required courses in their area of specialization.


Before registering for thesis credit, a student must select a thesis advisor from the Urban Studies faculty. In conjunction with the advisor, the student then selects a thesis committee. The committee consists of at least three members, all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The committee’s function is to advise and assist the student in writing and research and to formally approve the thesis once it has been successfully completed.

Students selecting the thesis option should familiarize themselves with the regulations and procedures of the College of Graduate Studies. (See the section on Thesis/Dissertation in this Catalog.)


The capstone seminar provides a final experience for MS in Urban Studies students. Students are expected to prepare and defend a capstone paper reflecting their understanding of a specialization field. The Capstone is a required course for the following specializations: Economic Development, Public Finance, and Urban Real Estate Development.

Exit Project

Before registering for exit-project credit, a student must select an advisor, who will approve the student’s proposed project and read the completed report. Students must complete the Exit Project Approval Form and obtain the required signature prior to registering for the project.

Students selecting the exit-project option must successfully complete an applied research report, an original project design, a policy analysis and evaluation paper, or a similar project as approved by the advisor. The exit project must place the work in an academic context, including a comprehensive literature review and appropriate consideration of the theoretical roots of the particular professional application.

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