Prospective Undergraduate Student Information
Make Major Change
In UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), students can major in Public Policy or Urban Studies. We also have minors in Sustainable Cities, Public Policy, Urban Studies, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), In CUPPA, we help students match their hopes for the future with the skills and networks to make real change possible. We teach students to first understand the needs and strengths of communities, and then work together to improve them. In Chicago and around the world, we strive to create just, resilient, and livable communities.
Prospective Student Guide
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PUBLIC POLICY MAJOR
A major in Public Policy (BAPP) will help you understand public problems and how different government agencies try to deal with those problems. Studying Public Policy helps you answer why harmful policies exist and how to change them. From administrative policies to ordinances and laws, we show you how to locate, understand, and analyze the policies that impact you, your family, and your community – the world.
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URBAN STUDIES MAJOR
Do you ride public transportation? Do you care about making cities better for all people? Do you ask yourself how Chicago came to look like it does today, and what it might take for you to change it? Urban Studies students examine topics such as access to affordable housing and clean water, public spaces for everybody, efficient transportation systems, and how to create good jobs in cities. You will learn skills like making maps and designing presentations. You will learn tools to make cities ‘great’ and sustainable, and connect to people that can help you make change now and in the future.
With a campus located in the heart of Chicago, every day is an opportunity to understand and apply skills learned in the classroom. Urban Studies majors also have the opportunity to further their education
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Career Pathways & Minors
Learning from faculty who work closely with city officials to change policy and improve city services, as well as community leaders, internship speakers and guest lecturers, CUPPA students pursue careers as activists, city planners, data analysts, policy analysts, government and nonprofit staff, in areas like urban agriculture, public finance, community and economic development, environmental protection, and government services.
Interactive Learning Experiences
All majors in CUPPA take a Senior Capstone course or internship experience where students study and tackle a real-world project in collaboration with local non-profit organizations and government agencies. This experience provides immersion in the community, great problem-solving skill development, and networking connections for job placement later on.
Minors in CUPPA
Whether you choose to major at CUPPA or not, you can select a CUPPA minor to use your general elective credits to gain tangible skills that will help you make a difference upon graduation. By choosing a minor within CUPPA, students gain valuable experiences from one of the country’s leading urban planning and public administration programs, with useful practice that will supplement many other degree areas within UIC like criminal justice, architecture, sociology, political science, and public health. Learn how to help create the just, resilient, and livable communities of the future with a minor in one of four concentrations, and enhance the knowledge you’ve gained elsewhere in the university with a meaningful selection of classes:
Tracking Down Vampires with GIS
Fighting Covid-19 Together
“My teachers have been quite flexible in shifting lectures to online platforms. I tend to then take my notes and work on assignments from my laptop. I would advise my peers to use the greater amount of free time you have right now to fulfill a hobby or goal that you have been wanting to seek out. For me, I have always desired to work on language-learning on the side of classes and routines, and I am now more able to do so given the free time I have at home.”"BA in Urban Studies 22"|
“What is really keeping me positive is seeing the values of community, looking out for the most vulnerable and the working poor, people’s creativity in hard times, and working together to care for each other on full display. I came into this field with these values and it is a huge encouragement to see them across the world. Be kind and gentle with yourself and others. Be honest about your needs and abilities at this time. Keep laughing.”"MUPP 21"|
“Like most people, I have made time in my day to video chat with friends and family. Connecting to others during quarantine has been key to my happiness. The situation has also made me appreciate the little things in life, such as having the time to make the perfect cup of coffee, working with the window open to get a fresh breeze”"MUPP 21"|
Humans Of CUPPA
Explore CUPPA With Some Of Our Alumni:
“You realize that everybody wants to make the world a better place on paper, but this degree lets me take action. A CUPPA degree lets me move up in ranks but also apply it to more entrepreneurial pursuits. I see just me being able to use the knowledge to try to affect proper change. Chicago is pretty set in its ways. Me having this knowledge and using it for the greater good — it’s going to happen. It’s having the patience to apply this idea of making the world a better place”MPA'19' & PhD Candidate|
Recognized For Excellence
#5 in Urban Policy
#3 in the Midwest
#8 In City Programs
At The Forefront Of Research
In CUPPA, we help students match their hopes for the future with the skills and networks to make real change possible. We teach students to first understand the needs and strengths of communities, and then work together to improve them. In Chicago and around the world, we strive to create just, resilient, and livable communities. Our college has over 500 current students, links with more than 250 public service organizations and private companies in the Chicago area who host CUPPA students in internships each year, eight research centers & institutes, and extensive international links with urban planning and public administration research institutes worldwide.
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