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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 that makes cities more humane, just, and sustainable. 


Join the program


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


Where your studies may take you

With a degree in urban technology, you may work for a startup or tech company. Government agencies and advocacy organizations are also increasingly focusing on issues of technology and data.

Careers in Urban Technology:

  • Interaction Designer
  • Experience Designer
  • Service Designer
  • User Interface Designer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Design Researcher
  • Entrepreneur
  • Game Designer
  • Program Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Product Designer
  • Strategic Designer

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

FIRST-YEAR

WINTER

  • Course Zero
  • Principles of Economics I (Microeconomics)
  • Writing & Academic Inquiry
  • Distribution: Humanities

SPRING

  • Introduction to Urbanization
  • Plural Perspectives of the City

SOPHOMORE

FALL

  • Introduction to Urban Practices
  • Programs, Information, and People (Introduction to programming)
  • Becoming Digital
  • Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Intergroup Dialogues (Race & Ethnicity)

WINTER

  • Core Studio: Design and Urban Inquiries (intro to design)
  • Data-Oriented Programming
  • Seeing - Freehand Drawing
  • Module: Insights from Ethnography and Observation
  • Writing and Literature

JUNIOR

FALL

  • Data Exploration
  • Core Studio: Interaction Design and Urban Experiences
  • Elective
  • Distribution: Social Sciences

WINTER

  • Advanced Studio: Service Design and Urban Needs
  • Module: Storytelling, Diagramming, Visual Communication
  • Module: The Future: Foresight + Scenarios
  • Distribution: Social Sciences
  • Elective

SENIOR

FALL

  • Advanced Studio: Strategic Design and Urban Systems
  • Module: Modeling Urban Scenarios
  • Module: Urban Sensing Introduction
  • Elective
  • Elective

WINTER

  • Reflective Practice & Career Pathways
  • Elective at TC in cities/technology
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Distribution: Humanities

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?

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

  • 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.)
  • Five electives in these areas or approved alternatives (it may be possible for students to complete a minor in one of these areas in satisfaction of this requirement): Economics; History; Urban Studies; Community Action and Social Change; Political Science; Complex Systems; Science & Technology Studies; Program in the Environment; Entrepreneurship, Real Estate
  • 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 & Literature 
  • 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