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Master of Science in Urban Studies

Cleveland State University's Master of Science in Urban Studies program offers advanced training in urban studies to recent graduates, in-service professionals, and others wishing to pursue or advance careers in fields such as economic development, environmental affairs, and community organization management. The program prepares individuals to assume leadership roles in organizations, to analyze urban systems, and to develop creative and effective strategies for urban revitalization. The M.S. in Urban Studies draws on many disciplines to broaden and extend the student's knowledge and expertise through a combination of specially developed urban courses. Internships and other experiential training that add depth and scope to the program augment classroom knowledge.

The objective of the M.S. in Urban Studies is to educate students concerning theoretical perspectives and applied research methods useful for effective problem definition and problem solving. These skills enhance organizational capacity in attempting to define and solve complex urban problems. Special emphasis is placed on economic development, organizational leadership, law and public policy, urban ecology, and policy analysis.


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Urban Building
Phone: 216.687.3884

Admission Requirements

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Undergraduate Transcripts
    • Minimum 3.0 Undergraduate GPA
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Maximum of 1000 words, detailing your academic background and interests, your motivation for pursuing the MSUS, and your post-graduation plans.
  • GRE Test Scores
    • Average Verbal & Quantitative Test Scores at 40th percentile and an Analytical Writing Score of 4.0
    • Students with a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university are exempted from this requirement. 

*Admission to the program is based on a combination of a candidate’s undergraduate GPA and the GRE score.  

-International students are required to have met at least one of the following English language proficiency requirements:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based): 78 & at least 17 in each section
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based): 550
  • IELTS: 6.0 and at least 5.0 in each section
  • PTE (Pearson’s Test of English): 50
  • iTEP: 3.8

Admission Deadlines

All applications must be submitted and complete on the following application deadline dates:

  • Domestic Students
    • Rolling
  • International Students
    • Fall Semester – May 15th
    • Spring Semester - October 15th
    • Summer Semester - March 15th


Program Requirements

  • UST 601 - Applied Quantitative Reasoning I
  • UST 603 - Public Sector Economics
  • UST 605 - Regional Theory and Analysis
  • UST 606 - Evolution of Human Settlements
  • UST 671 - Urban Colloquium

Students complete an area of specialization 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

Required Courses
  • UST 622 - Economic Development Policy
Choose 2 Courses
  • UST 524 - Distressed People, Distressed Places
  • UST 626 - Workforce Development
  • UST 629 - Economic Development Finance
Elective Courses
  • Two approved electives

Public Finance

Required Courses
  • UST 633 - Budget Policy and Management
  • UST 636 - Public Budgeting and Finance
Choose 2 Courses
  • UST 542 - Environmental Finance and Capital Budgeting
  • FIN 610 - Real Estate Finance
  • UST 623 - Urban Development Finance
  • UST 629 - Economic Development Finance
  • UST 650 - Financial Administration and Control of Nonprofit Organizations
Elective Course
  • 1 approved elective course

Urban Real Estate Development

Required Courses
  • UST 610 - Development Process/Market Analysis
  • UST 623 - Urban Development Finance
  • FIN 610 - Real Estate Finance
  • FIN 612 - Real Estate Investment
Elective Course
  • 1 approved elective course

Community and Neighborhood Development

Required Course
  • UST 550 - Fundamentals of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership
CHOOSE 1 Course
  • UST 660 - Neighborhood Planning
  • UST 664 - Neighborhood Development
Elective Courses
  • 3 approved elective courses

Urban and Public Policy

Required Courses
  • UST 602 - Research Design and Program Evaluation
  • UST 616 - Systems and Processes of Policy Development
  • UST 633 - Budget Policy and Management
Elective Courses
  • 2 approved electives


Choose 20 credit hours of electives with approval of the Program Director


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.

  • UST 699 - Master's Thesis or
  • UST 689 - Capstone or
  • UST 698 - Exit Project or
  • UST 611 - Planning Studio
Did You Know?

Employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026

Bureau of Labor Statistics


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Career Outcomes

  • Levin College graduates are employed in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
  • Many of our graduates pursue careers in: local, state, and federal government, economic development, health care management, program evaluation and policy analysis, housing, community and neighborhood revitalization, environmental advocacy/management, public safety management, historic preservation, human services and resource management, urban planning, and research.
  • These are some of the local companies that are hiring CSU grads: Team NEO, State of Ohio, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, and PK Management.