Requirement A


The 'A' Course Requirement


An 'A' course is a social science course with a substantial urban focus from one of the following disciplines:

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Sociology


  • You are required to take at least three ‘A’ courses, two of which should be completed before your junior year.

  • Your three ‘A’ courses must come from three separate disciplines — e.g., you might take one ‘A’ course in Anthropology, one ‘A’ course in Economics, and one ‘A’ course in History. You can take more, of course, but the three ‘A’ courses you count towards your major must come from different disciplines.

  • For prospective majors, Requirement A should be your highest priority, since you cannot take the Junior Seminar without having first completed at least two of your three ‘A’ courses.

  • Not every course in Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, or Sociology qualifies as an ‘A’ course. The course must have a substantial urban focus, and must be reviewed and approved by the Director.

  • To help you plan your schedule, the Urban Studies program publishes a list of all known ‘A’ courses being offered each semester on this website.

  • This list is always subject to change. If you see a new urban course being offered, or a course that has been accidentally left out, email and the Director will determine whether it should be added to the list.

Many courses offered by the Urban Studies program count as ‘A’ courses. For example:

  • URBS UN3420 — Introduction to Urban Sociology counts as an ‘A’ course in Sociology;
  • URBS UN3450 — Neighborhood and Community Development counts as an ‘A’ course in Political Science
  • URBS UN3540 — Urban Governance in New York City counts as an ‘A’ course in Political Science.

On double-counting:

Barnard College students can double-count one of their ‘A’ courses toward their specialization.

Columbia University and General Studies students cannot double-count.