Advising for Potential Majors and Minors


Students wishing to declare a major or minor in Urban Studies must first meet with co-director Dr. Elaine Simon to discuss their planned course of study. Prior to the meeting, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the information provided below. Students may directly schedule a meeting with Elaine via this Calendly link:, or by writing to

After meeting with Dr. Simon students will then fill out the “Declare/Update Field of Study Form,” which can be accessed through either Path@Penn, or Path Forms.

Major and minor applications will take some time to process. If a student has submitted a form, and they are uncertain if it has been fully processed, they can reach out to Coordinator Vicky Karkov:

  • MAP - Major Advising Program

The Major Advising Program at Penn is a peer advising system that assists students in their decision to declare a major. Freshmen and Sophomores may contact a MAP Urban Studies advisor to find out more about the program from a student's perspective. Students who wish to become MAP advisors should apply using the MAP website (PennKey login required).

  • Transfer Credit 

Students requesting credit in Urban Studies for courses taken at another institution must submit the request electronically through XCAT (External Course Approval). Please note that it may take several weeks for courses to be processed through the XCAT queue, and it is helpful to provide as much information as you can about the course - title, description, syllabus, etc.

  • Study Abroad

Urban Studies majors who are planning a semester abroad are encouraged to do so in the fall term of their junior year, to accommodate the fieldwork requirement in the spring term.

The Office of International Programs coordinates all international activities for the university. 

Penn currently has an exchange program with University College London, Urban Studies - Bartlett School of Planning. To read more about this program, check the link from OIP's website, above.

If you would like to know whether a course is eligible for Urban Studies credit in advance of signing up for it, email Elaine Simon with as much information on the course as you can provide - title, description, syllabus, etc. Once you have signed up for the course, you may then submit it into the XCAT system. Classes taken abroad typically do not appear on your transcript until you have completed the course and earned a grade, and the courses have been approved through XCAT and processed by the registrar.

Please note that no more than 3 abroad courses can be applied to the Themes section of your Urban Studies major.