Urban Humanities

About the Program

More and more, urban spaces are not only home to most of the world’s population, but are important to economic development, political cooperation and conflict, human-environment relations, and creative expression — that is, to the complex and diverse experience of being human. The Urban Humanities program investigates what it means to be human in an increasingly urban world.

The Urban Humanities program explores the urban experience in an interdisciplinary way, drawing on faculty and courses from across the university. It also emphasizes community engagement: Montclair State University lies in the center of the one of the largest and most diverse urbanized areas in the United States, and this context serves as a laboratory and source of career opportunities for Urban Humanities students. Students in the program will explore diverse subjects such as urban inequality, development and gentrification, forms of activism and advocacy, community planning, climate change, culture and art, criminal justice issues, and the dynamics of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity.

Urban Humanities MajorUrban Humanities MinorApply to Montclair State UniversityIntroduction to Urban Humanities (URHS 101)

Flexible Curriculum

The Urban Humanities program’s curriculum is designed to provide students with both a coherent framework through which they can explore urban life and the flexibility to pursue individual courses of study that fit their interests and needs. As well as taking courses in the Urban Humanities, students can meet the program’s requirements by taking courses in a variety of fields: social sciences like anthropology and sociology; humanistic fields like the arts, history, and literature; and scientific fields like environmental studies.

• View the Course Requirements for the Urban Humanities Major and Minor.
Apply to Montclair State University
• To learn more about the discipline, consider adding Introduction to Urban Humanities (URHS 101) to your schedule. Visit NEST for more details.


Students in the Urban Humanities program will be well-prepared for a variety of careers related to urban issues. These include careers in:

  • Urban planning
  • Community, economic, and cultural development
  • Urban administration
  • Housing and real estate
  • Museums and heritage work

Urban Humanities students’ training in qualitative, quantitative, and digital methods, as well as digital skills, will provide them with marketable skills. Their community engagement work, which will include a hands-on, community-engaged capstone workshop for majors, will provide direct links to networks of employers in our region. A degree in Urban Humanities also helps prepare students for graduate education, including in urban planning, public administration, museum studies, fine arts, communication and media, and a variety of other humanities and social sciences.

Career Advisors are available to meet with you virtually. Visit our CHSS Career Development pages for more information!

Director, Urban Humanities Program

Julian Brash is an associate professor of Anthropology and the director of the Urban Humanities program. He received a PhD from the Anthropology program of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of anthropology, geography, and interdisciplinary urban studies. They include urban development and politics, economic development policy, urban neoliberalism, the politics of space and place, urban identity, political economy, and the study of North American society and culture. He teaches courses including Cultural Anthropology, Communities in Transition, and Multicultural America. He is the author of Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City, published by the University of Georgia Press (2011). Brash’s current research focuses on the High Line and other new public parks in New York City. It has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.
Students at Hinchcliffe Stadium
MSU students conducting urban ethnographic research at Hinchcliffe Stadium in Paterson NJ, November 2020
Pictured left to right – Gabriel Schein, Christian Castan, Sammy Dubourg, Naveed Ahmed, Bailie Stypa, Zeph Ramos, Julian Brash (Program Director)