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About the PhD in Urban Affairs

The PhD in Urban Affairs focused on providing an interdisciplinary, community-engaged approach to urban problem-solving. This doctoral program combines training in urban theory and application and prepares students for careers in public, nonprofit, private, and educational sector positions as well as careers in academia. 

Our program is designed to prepare graduates with skills in research, program evaluation, policy design and evaluation to address the kinds of socioeconomic and socio-political challenges that face Memphis and cities like it. Students will be engaged in the latest scholarship and research in urban affairs, apply and understand major theoretical perspectives of urban studies, as well as have opportunities to engage in community-based research while in the program. 

The School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy (SUAPP) at the University of Memphis considers the training of graduate students to be one of its primary objectives. SUAPP’s faculty and programs are aimed at producing highly qualified researchers that seek to produce real change in urban centers throughout the Mid-South and beyond. We are highly integrated and engaged with the Memphis community and our partnerships allow for doctoral students to receive hands-on training and experience working with various types of private, public, nonprofit, and other organizations. We think you will find our Ph.D. program to be unique in its engagement with the community as we strive to find solutions to the most intractable of urban problems.

The Ph.D. program curriculum is divided into three parts. First, all students take four core courses that introduce them to urban theory, research methods, and collaborative urban problem-solving. Students are expected to take two courses in advanced quantitative or qualitative methodology as well as take six courses in their self-designed focus area. Unlike other programs that restrict students from taking courses outside of a given subfield, the Ph.D. in Urban Affairs is unique in that it allows doctoral students to design a Focus Area that addresses their unique research interests. Students can take their six focus area courses from any of the fields below. For a closer look at graduate courses in each of these departments, please head to the Academic Catalog page to explore course offerings.