Global Health (Urbanism), PhD

Urbanism is the study of cities and city life, including the cultural, political, social, economic and geographic implications of urban centers and their hinterlands. This field of inquiry has become a vital one in our increasingly populated world. Understanding the dynamics of large-scale communities and their outgrowths is imperative to shaping viable, just and sustainable metropolitan areas that serve the needs of those who depend upon them.

The concentration in urbanism leverages the tenets of the global health program to prepare emerging scholars with the tools to understand and tackle some of the greatest urban health challenges in the world.

Whether focusing on improving the health of populations, health messaging and programming or health delivery systems, the urbanism concentration favors community-based research and runs collaborative projects that encourage students to gain experience and conduct research in a variety of urban settings.

Working with faculty from across a range of departments and programs at Arizona State University, doctoral students will be able to capture the creative tensions that scholarship on urbanism has inspired in order to stimulate a provocative, constructive kind of inquiry.

ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change offers a concentration in urbanism to students in the global health program, as well as the following programs:


The urbanism concentration provides a solid, transdisciplinary foundation in this field and enhances the global health program by expanding understanding of four core areas: natural environment, culture and society, built form, and institutions and governance.

The past two decades have witnessed a surge of scholarship and professional interest in urbanism. However, there is a tendency for disciplines concerned with urbanism to be disconnected from one another. While powerful analytical and technical knowledge has been created within each field, the resulting specialized approaches to the study of urbanism present an impediment to understanding the nature, function and shaping of the human habitat. The concentration in urbanism will be a mechanism for organizing varied perspectives on urbanism into a collective body of scholarship.

Academic units students might engage with to fulfill the requirements of the urbanism concentration include:


See the Global Health PhD page for further information on the degree program.

For the concentration in urbanism, 15 credit hours will be selected from an approved list of applicable courses related to urbanism available PDF iconhere. These courses will include the core urbanism course, GCU 516, as well as one course from each of the four urbanism clusters.

These clusters are:

  • Natural environment
  • Built form
  • Institutions and governance
  • Culture and society


Students without a master's degree apply to phase I of the program, where they will receive a master's-in-passing. During this phase, students develop a research skills portfolio and present one of their papers in a school-wide research symposium. A formal evaluation is then completed to determine the student's readiness to enter phase II of the program.

Students with a master's degree in anthropology or a related field begin in phase II of the doctoral program, where they receive training to become expert scholars able to contribute not only to their chosen field, but to finding solutions to humankind's greatest challenges.

For more information, please contact or 480-965-6215.

Students who graduate with a concentration in urbanism may find work in a diversity of fields, including

  • urban planning,
  • community development and advocacy,
  • environmental planning and consulting,
  • sustainability,
  • urban management and
  • urban development and design.


In addition, the concentration prepares students for academic positions in

  • urban studies,
  • urban planning,
  • environmental studies,
  • urban sustainability,
  • urban design and
  • housing policy and development.

Degree Offered

Global Health (Urbanism), PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study