Urban Studies Minor Chicago Urban Semester

The nearby proximity of Chicago presents a unique opportunity for the study of urban issues, and the Chicago Urban Semester allows just that. This program, offered in cooperation with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, allows VU students to spend a semester living in Chicago and studying this great city. Through course work and independent study, students learn of the complexity of the American urban environment by analyzing and experiencing the political, social, economic, and cultural forces shaping the city. Through the internship, students gain professional experience working at one of Chicago's many agencies or businesses. 

The Pilsen Neighborhood in ChicagoHow To Apply

An application is available at the ACM Urban Studies web site.All sophomores, juniors and seniors at the University are eligible to participate in this program. Students shall be admitted to this program on the recommendation of the Urban Studies Advisory Committee. Applications are generally due in mid March for the following Fall Semester and in early November for the following Spring Semester. Applications, letters of recommendation and transcripts should be submitted to Professor Longan. Contact Prof. Michael Longan with questions about applying for the program.

Valparaiso University students register at Valparaiso for the Chicago Urban Semester and pay to Valparaiso University the general fee charged of all full-time students. Expenses for travel, meals and lodging are paid directly by the students. Full credit toward graduation is given for all courses taken in the Urban Studies program. The program is offered in both the fall and the spring semesters.

For more information, visit the ACM Urban Studies web site. The web site has information about all three of the ACM's Chicago programs. Only the Urban Studies program fullfills the requirements for the Urban Studies Minor.


The following courses are offered through the ACM residential program in Chicago:

GS 338. The Core Course: Public Policy in an Urban Center.
Cr. 4. A survey of three or four important urban policy areas giving special attention to issues being publicly discussed during the current semester. The course relies on presentations by individuals actively involved with the topic at hand, selected to provide different and sometimes contradictory perspectives. The policy areas are selected from among the following: health care, urban politics, neighborhood development, mass transportation, public education and municipal finance. S/U grade.

GS 348. The Seminar.
Cr. 4. Each student chooses one urban issue to examine in depth in a seminar involving readings, class discussions and field visits. Topics represent a range of academic disciplines, usually making it possible to select a seminar relating to a major. Recent seminar titles included City Politics, Urban Planning, Arts in the Black Community, Sexism and Racism, The Helping Professions, Dynamics of Urban Housing. Graded A-F.

GS 386. The Internship.
Cr. 4. Each student devotes 15 hours per week to an agency which can provide direct involvement in city life and exposure to a particular career environment. The placement is determined jointly by the student and staff during the first week of the semester. A wide range of placements is available. Graded either A-F or S/U at the student's choice upon entry into the program.

GS 395. Independent study Project.
Cr. 4. Each student pursues one topic from the Chicago experience under the supervision of a faculty member. Some projects grow out of the Internship whereas others are based on another component of the program. The student may elect to write a research paper or a creative piece, or to use photographic or other visual media. Graded A-F.