Urban and Environmental Policy

Overview

Occidental's Urban and Environmental Policy (UEP) major is an interdisciplinary program for students who want to change the world.

The UEP major combines politics, planning, environmental policy, public health, urban studies, economics, sociology, community engaged research, and other disciplinary approaches. The major recognizes that "urban" and "environmental" are very much interconnected and that issues of economic and environmental justice are integrally linked to where and how we live, work, play, eat, and go to school. Topics covered in the program include housing and community development, public health, land use and transportation, environmental health, food and resource issues, education, environmental justice, immigration, climate change, air and water quality, water and energy supply, poverty and social welfare, criminal justice, race and gender and class relations, globalization, and other topics at the local, state, national and international levels. Students interested in the UEP major should have a strong commitment to public service and social justice and change, be interested in working on group projects with other students, and be interested in engaging in community activities and internships.

The UEP major is a unique combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience in the field of public affairs and civic engagement. Students learn interdisciplinary social science skills and public policy analysis with special emphasis on applying those skills in the real world challenges. It is an intensive major designed for students with a strong interest in public service careers such as government, law, human services, urban and/or environmental planning, public health, community organizing, social work, journalism and communications, socially responsible business, or academia.

The goal of Occidental's UEP program is not simply to produce policy experts, but to educate students to think and act critically on issues at the intersection of urban and environmental policy. The major includes careful consideration of ethical issues that arise in the formulation and implementation of public policy. It trains the next generation of change-agents and future leaders how to think critically and creatively and act effectively to solve problems and improve society. 

The UEP major coursework includes a series of intensive seminars in the junior and senior years, with introductory courses in the freshman and sophomore years. The course of study includes developing skills in public policy analysis, internships, community participation, a research project with an applied policy focus, and leadership training. In addition to the prerequisites and the core seminars, students are encouraged to take electives in a variety of disciplines to sharpen their expertise in different policy areas and approaches.

We encourage our students to engage in off-campus learning. Some students may choose to spend a fall semester in the Campaign Semester program (offered in alternate Presidential and Congressional election years); summer research and/or internships in Los Angeles or abroad (e.g., through the China-Environment program, the Richter program, and the Undergraduate Summer Research Program), through the Occidental-at-the-United Nations program, or in one of the abroad programs sponsored or approved by the College.

During their senior year, students design and complete a policy-oriented comprehensive project that has an applied focus and includes original research. This project may take several forms. It can be a traditional research paper, a hands-on policy research report, a project in collaboration with other students, or a study conducted for a community-based "client" organization.

A significant dimension of UEP’s problem-solving and social change-related curriculum is its connection to the research, education, and community-based activities of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI). UEPI is the research and advocacy program arm of UEP and a key component of Occidental’s focus on community engagement. UEPI's mission is to connect ideas and action to create a more just and livable region, nation, and world.

Through UEP and UEPI, students experience a range of classroom-based and independent internships and engage with urban and environmental policy through government agencies, political campaigns, grassroots community and environmental justice organizations, public interest groups, social service agencies, labor unions, health organizations, food justice groups, as well as the government and private sector. Under the supervision of faculty as well as the UEPI program staff, students gain experience in practical applied research by working with and for community partners in the Los Angeles area, across the country, and abroad Current programs address food justice, environmental and public health, the built environment and transportation, and global trade and freight transportation. We also facilitate College-wide initiatives such as our minor in Public Health and a China-Environment program that links students to universities and NGOs in Hong Kong, Nanjing, and other partners in China. More information about UEPI is available at www.oxy.edu/uepi.

Major Requirements

COURSEWORK

All students majoring in Urban and Environmental Policy are required to take the following courses in the freshman or sophomore year:

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4 units

POLS 101American Politics and Public Policy

4 units

UEP 101Environment and Society

4 units

*Or another Economics course approved by the chair.

Upper Division Coursework

Students majoring in UEP are required to take the following upper division courses:
UEP 301/POLS 301Urban Policy and Politics

4 units

 

UEP 304Research Methods for Urban and Environmental Policy

4 units

Or

UEP 305Urban Data Analysis

4 units

 

UEP 310Community Organizing and Leadership

4 units

UEP 311Community Internship

4 units

UEP 410Controversies in Policy and Politics

4 units

UEP 411Applied Public Policy Practicum

4 units

Additional Electives

Majors are required to complete two additional UEP electives. Students may also choose courses from the list below as approved by the chair. Additionally, one study abroad course will be allowed to count as a UEP elective as approved by the chair.

ECON 301Environmental Economics and Policy

4 units

ECON 324The Economics of Immigration

4 units

ECON 328Economics of Race and Gender

4 units

PHIL 255Environmental Ethics

4 units

POLS 206Race and American Politics

4 units

POLS 207Los Angeles Politics

4 units

POLS 208Movements for Social Justice

4 units

POLS 260Community Law Internship

4 units

RELS 242Environmental Ethics and Religion

4 units

SOC 250Race and Ethnicity in American Society

4 units

SECOND-STAGE WRITING REQUIREMENT

Students majoring in UEP will satisfy the second-stage component of Occidental College's writing requirement by successfully completing:

UEP 301/POLS 301Urban Policy and Politics

4 units

Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. Contact the department chair for more information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT

During their senior year, UEP majors design and complete a policy-oriented comprehensive project that has an applied focus and includes original research. This project may take several forms. It can be a traditional research paper, a hands-on policy research report, a project in collaboration with other students, or a study conducted for a community-based "client" or "partner" organization. Students should enroll in UEP 410 in the fall semester and UEP 411 in the spring semester to undertake their comprehensive project.

HONORS

Students are required to have an overall grade point average of 3.50. See the Honors Program and contact the department chair for more information and specific requirements.

Recommended Math/Science courses

For their college math/science requirement, we strongly encourage UEP majors to take at least one of the following:

GEO 150Geographic Information Science I

4 units

GEO 245Earth's Climate: Past and Future

4 units

GEO 255Spatial Analysis with Geographic Information Science

4 units

UEP 201Environmental Health and Policy

4 units

UEP 305Urban Data Analysis

4 units

*UEP 201 and GEO 150 satisfy the lab science requirement.

Minor Requirements

COURSEWORK

Introductory Courses

POLS 101American Politics and Public Policy

4 units

UEP 101Environment and Society

4 units

Additional electives:

Three courses in the UEP program 200-level or above

12

Three courses in the UEP program: At the 200-level or above.

Courses

Urban and Environmental Policy Courses

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Peter Dreier, chair

E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.A., Syracuse University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago

Mijin Cha

Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.S., Cornell University; J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law; LLM, Ph.D., University of London

Martha Matsuoka

Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

A.B., Occidental College; M.C.P., U.C. Berkeley; Ph.D., U.C. Los Angeles

Bhavna Shamasunder

Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.S., B.A., U.C. San Diego; M.ES, Yale University; Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley

On Special Appointment

Janis Breidenbach

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., M.A., U.C. Los Angeles; Ph.D., Prescott College

Corey Davis

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.S., Indiana University of Pennsylvania; J.D., Temple University; M.P.H., University of North Carolina

Heng Lam Foong

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A. College of New Rochelle, M.S. Capella University

Christopher Hawthorne

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Yale University

Joan Ling

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Chatham College; M.A., U.C. Los Angeles

Myralyn Nartry

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., M.A., Columbia University; Ph.D., U.C. Los Angeles

Jane Schmitz

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., U.C. Davis; M.P.H., Ph.D., U.C. Los Angeles

Jeffrey Alan Seymour

Practitioner Professor, Politics; Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., M.A., U.C. Los Angeles

Nicole Vick

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.S., M.P.H., University of Southern California

Steve Zimmer

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Goucher College; M.S., C.S.U. Los Angeles

Advisory Committee

Bevin Ashenmiller

Associate Professor, Economics; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Princeton University; Ph.D., U.C. Santa Barbara

Elizabeth Braker

Professor, Biology; Advisory Committee, Kinesiology; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy; Affiliated Faculty, Latino/a and Latin American Studies
B.A., Colorado College; Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley

Regina Freer

Professor, Politics; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., U.C. Berkeley; Ph.D., University of Michigan

Jan Lin

Professor, Sociology; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Williams College; M.S., London School of Economics and Political Science; Ph.D., New School for Social Research

Gretchen North

Professor, Biology; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Stanford University; M.A., University of Connecticut; M.A., College of William and Mary; Ph.D., U.C. Los Angeles

James Sadd

Professor, Environmental Science
B.S., University of Southern California; M.S., University of Texas; Ph.D., University of South Carolina

John Swift

Associate Dean for Core Curriculum and Student Issues; English; Core Program; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
B.A., Middlebury College M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia