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Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Urban Technology


See cities through data.
Shape cities through code.
Design positive change.

Urban Technology is an emerging field at the intersection of technology, urbanism, and design. This is where apps, devices, and organizations are created with the aim of making cities better for all people. 

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology at the University of Michigan is a first-of-its-kind degree in this dynamic field. Through the program’s unique winter-start structure, you will begin classes at U-M’s Ann Arbor campus during winter term, and you also will participate in spring intensives hosted in centers of urban innovation, including the City of Detroit.

Urban Technology is an emerging field at the intersection of technology, urbanism, and design


So what is urban technology?

Electric scooters that let you zip around town; software that enables new sharing of places like houses and workspaces; embedded sensors that make sure water is clean and bridges are safe. Imagining those concepts and growing those ideas is what urban technology is all about. At Taubman College, you will learn how to design and create technology with an entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to creating a positive social impact. 

Follow Program Director Bryan Boyer's blog to learn more


Join the program

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021 admission cycle. The application deadline for bachelor degree programs is February 1 annually. The 2022 application for admission is expected to open in August 2021.

 


Why Michigan?

World-Renowned

The University of Michigan is globally recognized as one of the world’s most prominent public universities.
QS World University Rankings 2020-2021

Leaders and Best

The University of Michigan has more than 100 programs ranked in the top 10, so you will learn from the best.

Inaugural Class

Purpose-driven program that combines technology, urbanism, and design as a way to shape future cities and urban services.


Six reasons to learn with us

STEM-Designated Degree Program

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology degree is an approved field of study within the U.S. government’s official STEM fields list. When a student earns a degree in a field on the STEM fields list, he/she may be eligible for the 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension. OPT is defined as practical work experience in your field of study after completion of a degree. With a STEM degree, a student's "regular" OPT of 12 months may be extended for an additional 24 months. For further details regarding STEM extensions contact the International Center.


Where your studies may take you

After graduating with a degree in urban technology you may go on to work in areas such as mobility, information technology, innovation, digital equity, economic development in places like:

  • City Government or Metropolitan Authority
  • Technology Companies
  • Business Improvement Districts
  • Non profits and philanthropic foundations
  • Community-based organizations
  • Starting your own company or organization

Because of our hands-on approach, you’ll gain skills that can be applied in a variety of different roles:
 

  • Interaction / User Experience Designer
  • Service designer
  • Game Designer
  • Analyst or researcher
  • Entrepreneur
  • Product/Program Manager

See industry from the inside

Elective spring term travel offers you the chance to visit global centers of urban technology like New York, San Francisco, and Shanghai. We will visit alumni and partners in industry to see how they’re reimagining city life, and learn from companies working on smart cities, the Internet of Things, new mobility, and other areas of urban technology.


Hit the ground running

You’ll start learning about urban technology during your first semester on campus. There will also be room to explore your passions through elective coursework in areas like climate change, housing, and mobility.

Learn more in the Requirements section below.

View sample schedules

View the B.S. in Urban Technology sample course sequence (PDF)

FIRST-YEAR

WINTER

  • Why Cities?
  • Principles of Economics I (Microeconomics)
  • First-Year Writing Requirement
  • Distribution: Humanities

SPRING

  • Anatomy of a City
  • The Incomplete City: Design Workshop

SOPHOMORE

FALL

  • Change-Making in Cities
  • Programs, Information, and People (Intro to Programming)
  • Intro to Data Science
  • Distribution: Social Science
  • Distribution: Race & Ethnicity

WINTER

  • Core Studio: Design and Urban Inquiries (Intro to Design)
  • Data-Oriented Programming
  • Module: Seeing - Freehand Drawing
  • Module: Insights from Ethnography and Observation
  • Elective

JUNIOR

FALL

  • Data Manipulation
  • Core Studio: Interaction Design & Urban Experiences
  • Distribution: Social Sciences
  • Elective

WINTER

  • Advanced Studio: Service Design & Urban Needs
  • Module: Modeling Urban Scenarios
  • Module: Urban Sensing Introduction
  • Becoming Digital
  • Elective

SENIOR

FALL

  • Advanced Studio: Strategic Design & Urban Systems
  • Module: Storytelling, Diagramming, Visual Communication
  • Module: The Future - Foresight & Scenarios
  • Elective
  • Elective

WINTER

  • Reflective Practice & Career Pathways
  • Elective at Taubman College in Technology or Policy
  • Distribution: Humanities
  • Elective
  • Elective

Find your mission

Urban technology is already changing cities in a big way, but we’re not here to build technology for its own sake. Our curriculum is designed to help you identify a mission — a cause, a purpose — that will drive you to always work toward making cities more humane, just, and sustainable. You'll pursue this mission by aligning your elective coursework with your areas of interest such as:

  • Transit & Mobility: Taxis like Uber and Lyft or scooters like Bird and Jump are introducing new ways to move. How will electric-powered mobility, sharing, and autonomous vehicles change the way we move?
  • Housing: Homes are increasingly equipped with digital interfaces like Nest and shared in new ways through short-term rentals. What new ways of life will this enable? Will ideas of home and community evolve in the 21st century? Can society do a better job of providing housing for everyone?
  • Logistics: Robotic deliveries and automated warehouses are changing how we get everything from pants to prescriptions. How will we interact with robots on our city streets and how will that change the way we live?
  • Public Health: From new takes on health insurance to clinics and medical devices, the importance of rapid response to health needs is a constant opportunity. How will we bridge between deep medical knowledge and everyday life to create public health solutions that are natural and widely adopted?
  • Energy: Renewable power like solar and wind promise to remake the electrical grid and how you interact with it in coming years. What new forms of community can you imagine when you're no longer reliant on a power grid and other national infrastructure?
  • Social Justice: Use your understanding of technological systems and data to work on one of the most pressing challenges of today’s digital economy: advocating for the protection of civil rights, personal privacy, fair labor relationships, and other important issues.

What you will learn

You will learn:

  • How to create software
  • How to use quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify opportunities and challenges, and make a compelling argument
  • Interaction, service, and strategic design, complemented by a strong theoretical and conceptual understanding of design attitude and process
  • New perspectives on the history of cities and what is happening in the urban world around you today, including how to research, analyze, and understand cities
  • How to navigate complex, diverse, and evolving situations with integrity


Learn from the best

Your instructors will be people whose research and practice have led them to become experts in fields, including:

In addition, you will learn from our network of industry practitioners, policy experts, and alumni who will contribute guest lecturers and workshops to the program.


Degree Requirements

Our curriculum will give you the vision, knowledge, and skills to shape urban futures. It is a mix of urbanism, technology, and design.

Total 120 Credits: 60 upper-level credits, 45 of which will be completed at Taubman College.

Major Requirements

  • Introduction to Urbanization
  • Introduction to Urban Practices
  • Plural Perspectives of the City
  • Becoming Digital
  • Programs, Information and People
  • Data-Oriented Programming
  • Data Manipulation
  • 2D design
  • Core Studio: Introduction to Design Mindset, Process, Methods
  • Core Studio: Interaction Design and Urban Experiences
  • Advanced Studio: Service Design and Urban Needs
  • Advanced Studio: Strategic Design and Urban Systems
  • Reflective Practice & Career Pathways

Electives

  • In addition to your core classwork, you will complete a minor in an area that is relevant to Urban Technology, such as: Economics; History; Urban Studies; Community Action and Social Change; Political Science; Complex Systems; Science & Technology Studies; Program in the Environment; Entrepreneurship, or Real Estate. If none of these fit your interest, we will work with you to identify a self-directed course of study that gives you depth in an area that complements your major.
  • At least one Taubman College offering focusing on a specific policy area such as transportation, housing, energy, and natural resources.
  • At least one Technology course of your choosing (You will work with your academic adviser to identify the right course).
  • And a selection of Design and Technology Modules on topics including: Collaboration, Co-Creation, Facilitation, Engagement; Insights from Ethnography and Observation; Framing Opportunities & Challenges; Storytelling, Diagramming, Visual Communication; Complex Adaptive Systems; The Future: Foresight + Scenarios; Evaluation & Validation; Modeling Urban Scenarios; Urban Data Visualization and Storytelling; Machine Learning; Computer Vision; Urban Sensing Introduction.

General Education Requirements

  • Writing and Academic Inquiry
  • Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Principles of Economics I (Microeconomics)
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Humanities (2 courses)
  • Social Science (2 courses)

Still have questions?

Our admissions officers are happy to answer any questions you may have about the program.

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning