Geography & Environmental Studies at Aquinas College

Urban Studies Minor

Minor Requirements:

Twenty-two (22) credit hours. Required courses:

  • GY212 Urban Geography (4) 
  • PS203 Urban Government (3) 
  • SY302 Communities (3)
  • Twelve (12) semester hours from the following:
    • GY120 Human Geography (4) PGC GP
    • GY264 Economic Geography (3)
    • HY218 African American History (3)
    • PS205 State Government and Politics (3)
    • PS/BS340 Public Administration (3)
    • PS/CL345 Public Policy (3)
    • PS/ES376 Public Sector Economics (3)
    • SY102 Introduction to Social Work (3)
    • SY162 Drugs and Society (3)
    • SY260 Introduction to Social Problems (3) PSC
    • SY261 Criminology (3)


  • GY212 Urban Geography (4) (SS1/SS2)

    Urban environment and landscape from a human perspective: the city as an economic environment, as a cultural place, as a political entity, policies and planning.

  • PS203 Urban Government and Politics (3) SS1/SS2

    The governance and problems of cities is the focus of this course. Planning, decision-making, issues and solutions are developed in this introduction to the politics and power structures in America’s Urban settings.

  • SY302 Community Sociology (3)

    Examination of communities of place and interest through a sociological perspective. Topics include history of community, theories of community sociology, community power and leadership, rural and urban communities, and factors influencing community growth and decline. Prerequisite: SY101, GY120 or CL100.

  • GY120 Human Geography (4) (SS1/SS2) (GP)

    The geographic subfield of Human Geography discusses and interprets the role of human beings as they are distributed across the surface of the earth. This is a far-ranging field of inquiry that incorporates information from the traditional social scientific realms of economics, sociology, political science, and anthropology into a spatial analysis of the world around us. Given the nature of the topic, this course will be introductory in nature and examine the breadth of cultural geographic thought.

  • GY264 Economic Geography (3) (SS1/SS2)

    Spatial distribution of economic features as they affect production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services: emphasis on locational theory regarding manufacturing and retail service centers.

  • HY218 African American History (3) HP

    A survey of the history of African Americans in the United States with an emphasis on African contributions to American culture, the nature and effects of slavery, and leaders in the struggle for justice and equality.

  • PS205 State Government and Politics (3)

    Introduction of the institutions and politics of state governments with special emphasis on Michigan

  • BS340/PS340 Public Administration (3)

    Theory and practical skills involved in working with public agencies and implementing public programs.

  • ES376/PS376 Public Sector Economics (3)

    Public Sector Economics is the study of tax and expenditure policy and theory. Public goods (education, infrastructure, etc.) require unique funding mechanisms to induce economic efficiency. Public sector economics is the study of these mechanisms. Beginning with a treatment of the median-voter model and utility maximization, the course charts a robust discussion of the interaction between government and citizen as taxes are collected, revenues are spent, and the efficiencies/inefficiencies of these mechanisms are uncovered. The course will focus on both the theoretical foundations of public sector economics and what the empirical research as to say about theory.Prerequisites: E211 and ES212 An understanding of algebra is mandatory and an understanding of calculus will be beneficial.

  • SY102 Introduction to Social Work (3)

    This course offers a sociological introduction to social work, social welfare, case work, group work, and community organization. The course also examines current efforts and future trends within the realm, discipline, and field of social work. As a part of the engaged department initiative this course will have 30 hours of assignments that get students out of the classroom and meeting social workers and the organizations they work with.

  • SY162 Drugs and Society (3)

    This course is a critical analysis of the complex and interconnected ways in which drugs and society influence each other. The course also examines contemporary trends in drug usage, policy, treatment, and enforcement.

  • SY213 Race and Ethnicity (3) GP

    This course examines the underlying social and cultural dynamics of selected multicultural groups in the U.S. and around the world, emphasizing intersectionality, dimensions of unequal power, and racism.

  • SY260 Social Problems (3)

    This course introduces students to the social constructivist approach to studying social problems. Students will learn to examine the origins of social problems, the process of claimsmaking that define issues as social problems, and how these processes might affect individuals, groups, and policies. In this process students will understand how social problems are constructed in everyday life, develop skills to critically assess claims about social problems, and use course concepts to analyze the social construction of a variety of contemporary social problems.

  • SY261 Criminology (3)

    This course offers a critical analysis of crime with reference to behavior of those who engage in, or become victims of criminal behavior. Prerequisite: SY101.

  • SY312 Social Stratification (4)

    This course explores systems of inequality focusing on the political, economic, and social forces that shape inequality and social stratification. Various sociological concepts and theories of inequality will be examined to help describe and explain social inequality in the United States and elsewhere. As a part of the engaged department initiative, students will complete 40 hours of participant observation and field research in community-based initiatives, organizations, or cultural events outside of the classroom pertaining to social stratification. Prerequisite: SY202 and 291.This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.