Environmental Social Science (Urbanism), PhD

The PhD program in environmental social science is one of the few doctoral degree programs in the U.S. that draws on the premise that reducing human impacts and developing more sustainable environmental practices will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without a focus on the social dynamics of environmental issues using critical social science perspectives.

The program is organized around theoretically based conceptual domains:

  • culture and the environment
  • environmental hazards and vulnerability
  • environmental justice
  • human environment impacts
  • political ecology
  • science and technology studies

These are the bases for addressing various topical foci, including urban environments, technologies and their consequences, landscapes, institutions, health and the environment.

Students work with faculty who have expertise in a broad range of fields including:

  • archaeology
  • community resources
  • cultural and medical anthropology
  • demography
  • environmental history
  • geographic information systems
  • human and physical geography
  • planning
  • public affairs
  • science and technology studies
  • sociology

The program trains students to move into teaching and research positions or to assume leadership roles in government, industry or in nongovernmental organizations.

Coursework for the degree is focused on developing real-world skills and a solid grasp of complex social science approaches to environmental issues. Students work closely with their committee to develop a curriculum appropriate to their chosen interests and career goals.

The concentration in urbanism leverages the varied interests in urbanism and helps emerging scholars as they attempt to compare, contrast and take stock of urbanism. Working with faculty from across a range of departments and programs at ASU, doctoral students will be able to capture the creative tensions that scholarship on urbanism has inspired in order to stimulate a provocative, constructive kind of inquiry.

Degree Offered

Environmental Social Science (Urbanism), PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

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