Urban Ecology explores the interrelationships among social, environmental, and economic systems, with the goal of enhancing the vitality and sustainability of places and communities. It helps communities understand the issues that affect both the daily quality of life and the long-term health of the environment as a whole. The University of Utah’s Urban Ecology program is designed to respond to the particular problems and opportunities that exist in the “new west:” environmental management, fragile landscape protection, recreation and tourism, public lands planning, rapid population growth, rural towns, regional transportation, energy production, and low density sprawl. As a student of the Urban Ecology program, you will take classes in urban ecology, planning, and economics; you can also choose from a variety of electives topics, such as building green communities or site planning. The culminating experience of the programis the capstone internship in urban ecology, allowing you to apply your skills to the real world. Urban Ecology is a highly interdisciplinary field, and the workday usually brings a variety of different activities, including analytical work, community meetings, problem solving, and administrative actions.
The Student Experience
While a student of the program, take time to interact and network with peers and faculty by attending a School of Architecture Lecture Series event. Stay current in your field and learn about the exciting research being conducted by the department’s Metropolitan Research Center and Ecological Research Center, or contribute to the field by completing your own research initiatives.
The undergraduate program in Urban Ecology will prepare students for professional careers in environmental and sustainability planning, urban planning, public health, public policy, and community development. U graduates have used their hands-on and theoretical skills to pursue work as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysts, design draftsmen, surveyors, planning consultants, and project engineers. With further education, work as an architect or planner is also possible.