School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Urban Affairs

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Why Choose Urban Affairs?

The urban affairs major is right for you if you want to make communities better places to live, if you want to fix problems such as vacant housing, decaying infrastructure, access to healthy food, ensuring safe neighborhoods, reducing homelessness, city planning, economic development, and equal education and job opportunities for future generations.

In the 1960s, national foundations asked universities to create teams of faculty from diverse disciplines, such as political science, sociology, geography, and economics, to solve the nation’s urban problems. These initiatives led to new social programs, new curriculum, and new academic degrees. The first Wright State urban affairs major graduated in 1971 and this major remains a strong reflection of Wright State's commitment to contribute to healthy, sustainable communities in our region and beyond.

The urban affairs major offers you the option of a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The major prepares you for professional positions in a broad range of fields, including government, nonprofit organizations, and private sector businesses.


Our graduates work for cities, townships, counties, state and federal agencies, nonprofit corporations, engineering and architectural firms, and development companies. They are state legislators, economic and planning directors, program directors, CEOs of nonprofits, city managers and administrators of all types. They raise funds, fix problems, analyze data, create and implement policy, plan communities and deliver services. They are leaders across the Dayton region and the people behind the scenes making things work.

View the Urban Affairs program profile for sample occupations, average salary, and employment projections. 

Real-World Experience

An internship is required for all urban affairs majors without sufficient professional experience in the field. The internship is waived for students who are already working full-time in their career field and on a case-by-case basis.

An internship provides you with three basic benefits:

  1. You will connect theory and principles learned in the classroom to practice in your career field;
  2. You will gain professional experience often required by employers; and
  3. You will learn about the social network within your career and employment opportunities.

Internship Requirements

  • You will define your career goals and begin pursuing them by meeting with Career Services and CLASS, preparing a resume, and identifying with some degree of specificity organizations you believe might offer both opportunity and satisfaction.
  • You will research your profession and organizations, then seek an internship position.
  • You will apply for an internship as if you were seeking employment. If all works well, your internship could result in a job offer.
  • You will inform potential internship providers about our department’s internship requirements:
    • The scope of work, projects, and/or tasks you will perform will be identified and approved by the program internship coordinator. This information is developed between you and the person who will supervise the internship for the organization.
    • You will work a total of 125 hours during the semester of the internship.
    • You will keep a journal describing the daily activities performed during the internship experience. The journal is submitted halfway through the internship and again at the end of the 125 hours.
    • You will submit a reflection paper at the end of 125 hours that summarizes the internship experience, what you learned, how coursework was applied, and how the experience might be improved. Your supervisor submits a performance evaluation halfway through the internship and again at the end of the 125 hours. The internship should be taken at or near the end of your studies to ensure you are prepared for the work required for the internship. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Success Stories

An urban affairs major, Wright State senior Katie Rossman plans to pursue a career working for the government or in nonprofit management.

Academics and Curriculum

You should meet with a faculty advisor before enrolling and each semester thereafter. The faculty advisors can help you decide whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. They can also help you plan your courses and recommend how you can use electives to enhance your degree by earning a minor, certificate, or honors.

As an urban affairs major, you may select courses that best fit your career path. View Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in urban affairs program information and degree requirements in the Academic Catalog. The links below identify the required courses and potential electives for the B.A. and the B.S. degree in urban affairs:

All urban affairs majors complete five core courses and an internship: Foundations of Urban Affairs, American City, Ethics in Public Service, Public Policy Analysis and Applied Research Project.


Urban affairs majors have the opportunity to take a wide range of courses that fit within a generalist degree or one of three concentrations: Urban Management; Urban Planning; and Nonprofit Management.

Urban Affairs - no concentration

This option allows you to select a broad range of courses with help from your advisor. Courses may be selected from the Urban Management, Nonprofit Management or Urban Planning specializations. We encourage you to add a certificate in Nonprofit Management or in Geographic Information Science to enhance your skills and resume. Typically, electives may be used to complete one of these certificates as you earn credits for your urban affairs degree.

Urban Management

This specialization is for you if you wish to develop a career in management and administration in such agencies as municipal and county government, state government, or federal government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to the major's core courses, specialization courses should be chosen with guidance from your program advisor and internships are available for you if you do not have professional public service experience.

Nonprofit Management

Nonprofit organizations meet community needs that are ignored or cannot be effectively addressed by government or private corporations. Developing and delivering social services and raising funds to pay for the programs needed to help disadvantaged members of society encompass much of the work of nonprofits. Volunteers are critical to nonprofits so recruiting, training, retaining and managing volunteers are also part of nonprofit management. 

The urban affairs program offers a nonprofit certificate sponsored by the national Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Please see additional details on our Non-Profit Administration Certificate page.

Urban Planning

City planning has been a fundamental means of improving and protecting the quality of life in our communities. In addition to the major's core courses, required courses include community and regional planning, financial management, and geographic information systems Elective courses relevant to the planning concentration may include cities and technology, advanced geographic information systems, and remote sensing, community development,  and public leadership among others.


If you haven’t yet applied to Wright State, complete the admissions application and list urban affairs as your intended major.

If you are a current student and wish to change majors, go to the WINGS Express major/minor change request form and change your major. If you are an undecided/exploratory student, talk to your advisor about switching your major to urban affairs.


You will have two advisors available to help you throughout your academic experience:

  • an academic advisor within University Academic Advising (120 Millett, 937-775-2601)
  • a faculty advisor (325 Millett, 937-775-2942)

When you have been accepted into the undergraduate program as an urban affairs major or minor, you will receive a welcome letter informing you of your advisor and the contact information.

Whether you are a transfer student from another college or university, changing majors at Wright State, or adding a minor, you should meet your urban affairs advisor as soon as possible to learn your degree requirements and to acquaint yourself with the educational opportunities available to urban affairs students.


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