Global Metropolitan Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The 21st century will be an urban century with more people around the world residing in metropolitan regions than in any other form of human settlement. This urbanization is taking place in both the global North and the global South. Its implications are widespread: from environmental challenges to entrenched patterns of segregation to new configurations of politics and social movements. The Global Metropolitan Studies Initiative is concerned with this urban condition. Bringing together numerous faculty, this multidisciplinary endeavor supports research and houses graduate and undergraduate curricula. It is one of a handful of strategic initiatives selected by the UC Berkeley campus to mark a new generation of scholarship and to consolidate an emerging academic field.

The objective of the designated emphasis (DE) is to encourage and support multidisciplinary doctoral-level education and research on global metropolitan issues. Multidisciplinary training will be provided through a wide range of course offerings as well as through participation in seminars and conferences organized by GMS.

The Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies is for selected UC Berkeley PhD students with interest in metropolitan and regional issues. Students may come from any discipline across campus. The designated emphasis provides students with certification as well as with a context for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and development of research.

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Applicants must already be enrolled or accepted into an existing PhD program at Berkeley (master’s students and students at other institutions are not eligible). Students should apply at least two semesters before the PhD qualifying examination.

Interested students must apply for the designated emphasis. They are selected on the basis of academic qualifications, appropriateness of their interests to the program's teaching resources, and the enrollment capacity of the required courses.

Admission to the GMS Designated Emphasis is determined by the GMS co-chairs. Applications are due one week prior to the last day of the fall and spring semester.

The GMS DE application, and list of additional required documents, can be found here.

Designated Emphasis Requirements

The Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies offers two concentrations: 1) Comparative Urban Studies; or 2) Infrastructure and Environment.


Students in the designated emphasis program must complete two core courses required for the designated emphasis.

In addition to the two core courses, students in the Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies are required to take three additional courses for graduate credit on topics in metropolitan studies. The courses must be selected from the approved list for the student’s chosen concentration unless a substitution is authorized by the GMS Graduate Group’s Curriculum Committee (see below). The lists of breadth courses will be reviewed and updated by the committee annually.

Elective courses should be completed prior to advancing to candidacy and no more than one elective course for the designated emphasis can be taken from the student’s home department. Students may substitute no more than one course not on the list, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee. 

Core Courses
GMS 200Global Metropolitan Studies: Introduction to Theories, Histories, and Methods 13
Select one Advanced Seminar in Methods from the following, according to concentration: 23
Research Seminar in Comparative Urban Studies
GMS 202
Course Not Available
Breadth Courses
Select three additional courses for graduate credit on topics in metropolitan studies
Electives for the concentration the student has selected (see below)

This course is designed to examine metropolitan development through history and consider metropolitan issues from the varied perspectives of the social sciences and the professions. This course must be taken for a letter grade, and should be taken precandidacy.


The Advanced Seminars are designed for students who have completed their qualifying examinations. These courses offer an opportunity for in-depth examination of contemporary research topics, data and methods, and recent research findings and challenges in specific subfields of global metropolitan studies. This course should be taken post-candidacy.

Elective Courses for Comparative Urban Studies Concentration
AFRICAM 256BDiaspora, Citizenship, and Transnationality4
ANTHRO 250CCourse Not Available
ANTHRO 250LCourse Not Available
ANTHRO 250PCourse Not Available
ANTHRO 250XSeminars in Social and Cultural Anthropology: Special Topics (Metropolitan Theory and Practice )4
ANTHRO 250XSeminars in Social and Cultural Anthropology: Special Topics (Cities of the Global South )4
ARCH 219ACourse Not Available
ARCH 233Architectures of Globalization: Contested Spaces of Global Culture3
ARCH 271Methods in Historical Research and Criticism in Architecture4
CY PLAN 223Economic Development Planning3
CY PLAN 225Course Not Available
CY PLAN 231Housing in Developing Countries3
CY PLAN 271Development Theories and Practices3
CY PLAN 275Comparative Analysis of Urban Policies3
COM LIT C221Aesthetics as Critique4
GEOG 164The Geography of Economic Development in China4
GEOG 214Development Theories and Practices4
GEOG 215Seminar in Comparative and International Development4
GEOG 220Capital, Value, and Scale4
GEOG 253Topics in Urban Geography4
HISTORY 275BCore Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: Europe4
HISTORY 280BAdvanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Europe (The Problem of Enlightenment Europe )4
HISTORY 280BAdvanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Europe (Early Modern Europe )4
HISTORY 280EAdvanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Latin America (Race and Nation in Modern Latin America)4
POL SCI 249PCourse Not Available (Metropolitan Governance in Developing Countries )
POL SCI 273Urban Politics4
SOCIOL 205SSupervised Preparatory Course Work: Social Movements3
SOCIOL 205USupervised Preparatory Course Work: Society and Environment3
SOCIOL 280CAdvanced Study in Substantive Sociological Fields: Political Sociology3
SOCIOL 280HAdvanced Study in Substantive Sociological Fields: Development3
SOCIOL 280JAdvanced Study in Substantive Sociological Fields: Urban Sociology3
SOCIOL 280YSociology of Globalization3
SOCIOL 280XAdvanced Study in Substantive Sociological Fields: Immigration and Incorporation3
Elective Courses for the Infrastructure and Environment Concentration
CY PLAN 219Comparative International Topics in Transportation3
CY PLAN C234Course Not Available
CY PLAN 254Sustainable Communities3
CY PLAN 250Course Not Available
CY PLAN 270Course Not Available
CIV ENG 206NCourse Not Available
CIV ENG 259Public Transportation Systems3
CIV ENG 261Infrastructure Systems Management3
CIV ENG 268ECivil Systems and the Environment3
CIV ENG C293ACourse Not Available
ENE,RES C200Energy and Society4
ENE,RES 201Interdisciplinary Analysis in Energy and Resources3
ENE,RES 275Water and Development4
ENE,RES 280Energy Economics3
ENVECON 162Economics of Water Resources3
LD ARCH 138Analysis of Metropolitan Form3
LD ARCH 222Hydrology for Planners4
LD ARCH 227Restoration of Rivers and Streams3
LD ARCH C229Course Not Available1-3
LD ARCH 228Research in Environmental River Planning, Management, and Restoration1
LD ARCH 235Course Not Available
LD ARCH 237The Process of Environmental Planning3
PB HLTH 220CHealth Risk Assessment3
PB HLTH 255ASocial Epidemiology3
PB HLTH 257ACourse Not Available
PB HLTH 267DHealth Impact Assessment3
PB HLTH 272AGeographic Information Science for Public and Environmental Health4
PB HLTH 285APublic Health Injury Prevention and Control2

Qualifying Exam

The student’s PhD qualifying exam committee must include at least one member of the Global Metropolitan Studies Graduate Group core faculty, who will evaluate the student’s knowledge related to the designated emphasis.

Once the student has completed the Application for the Qualifying Exam and the GMS qualifying exam checklist (located in the student handbook), they should submit both forms to the GMS DE graduate office in 226 Wurster Hall for the head graduate adviser’s signature.


The student’s dissertation topic also must be related to Global Metropolitan Studies and the dissertation committee must include at least one member of the GMS Graduate Group core faculty who can evaluate the dissertation from that perspective. 


Global Metropolitan Studies

GMS 200 Global Metropolitan Studies: Introduction to Theories, Histories, and Methods 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
The investigation of modern cities presents great challenges for social and urban theory. This seminar addresses these challenges through a multidisciplinary perspective that structures the discussion in terms of a history of metropolitan transformations, global urbanization, and the production and regulation of cities as spaces of contestation and creativity.

Global Metropolitan Studies: Introduction to Theories, Histories, and Methods: Read More [+]

GMS 201 Research Seminar in Comparative Urban Studies 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Spring 2014
This core seminar for the Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies offers an in-depth examination of contemporary research topics, data and methods, recent research findings, and challenges in specific subfields of international urban studies. Emphasis will be placed upon the discussion and improvement of students' dissertation chapters.

Research Seminar in Comparative Urban Studies: Read More [+]

GMS C203 Urban and Subnational Politics in Developing Countries 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2014, Fall 2013
This course will consider the political and institutional environment in which efforts to address metropolitan problems are developed, the financial and institutional vehicles used to provide services of different types, and the role of political parties and other forms of political organization in the development and allocation of services. Emphasis will be placed upon fertile areas for research within the social sciences.

Urban and Subnational Politics in Developing Countries: Read More [+]

GMS 299 Independent Study or Research 1 - 12 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Individual study or research program; must be worked out with GMS faculty in advance of signing up for credits.

Independent Study or Research: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


+ Nezar Alsayyad, Professor. Virtual reality, urban history, Architectural history, Middle Eastern Studies, cross-cultural design, cities and cinema, cultural studies of the built environment, environmental design in developing countries, housing and urban development, Islamic architecture and urbanism, traditional dwelling and settlements, urban design and physical planning.
Research Profile

Christopher Ansell, Professor. Political science, social movements, political sociology, network analysis, organization theory, public administration, political parties, Western Europe.
Research Profile

Peter C. Bosselmann, Professor. Urban design, architecture, city and regional planning, landscape architecture.
Research Profile

Teresa Caldeira, Professor.

Anthony J. Cascardi, Professor. English, comparative literature, literature, Spanish, Portuguese, philosophy, aesthetics, early modern literature, French, Spanish Baroque.
Research Profile

Ralph Catalano, Professor. Mental health services, economic antecendents, stress related illness.
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Karen Chapple, Professor. Poverty, economic development, regional planning, metropolitan spatial patterns, labor markets, community development, neighborhood change, gentrification.
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Jason Corburn, Associate Professor. Urban health, informal settlements, global public health, urban climate change, environmental impact assessment, mediation, environmental justice.
Research Profile

C. Greig Crysler, Associate Professor. Architecture, geopolitics of architectural discourse, globalization and social production of the built environment, architecture and identity.
Research Profile

Mia Fuller, Associate Professor. Anthropology, Italy, fascism, urban design, architecture, Italian colonialism.
Research Profile

James Holston, Professor. Citizenship, Brazil, architecture, law, planning, the United States, cities, democracy, political and social anthropology, urban ethnography, the Americas.
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Arpad Horvath, Professor. Life cycle assessment, LCA, sustainability, green design, transportation, water, construction, biofuels, energy, environmental management, infrastructure systems.
Research Profile

You-Tien Hsing, Professor. China, geography, political economy of development in East Asia, the process of international economic restructuring, cultural and institutional configuration in the processes of Taiwanese direct investment, growth in Chinese cities, business networks.
Research Profile

Daniel Kammen, Professor. Climate Change, Engineering, Environment, Energy, Renewable and Clean Energy, Energy Forecasting, Health and Environment, International R&D Policy, Race and Gender, Rural Resource Management.
Research Profile

Adib Kanafani, Professor of the Graduate School. Transportation economics, air transportation, transportation planning, transportation systems analysis, aviation policy and planning, urban and regional planning.
Research Profile

G. Mathias Kondolf, Professor. Ecological restoration, landscape architecture, environmental planning, fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, environmental geology, environmental impact assessment, riparian zone management.
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Michel Laguerre, Professor. Globalization, information technology, urban studies.
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Elizabeth S. Macdonald, Associate Professor. Urban design.
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Samer M. Madanat, Professor. Transportation systems analysis, transportation infrastructure management, transportation sustainability.
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Aihwa Ong, Professor. Cultural anthropology, anthropology, transnationalism, citizenship, global cities, migration, Southeast Asia, urbanism.
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Alison Post, Assistant Professor. Regulation, infrastructure, water and sanitation.
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Isha Ray, Associate Professor. Water and development; Gender, water and sanitation; technology and development.
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William Satariano, Professor.
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Sandra Smith, Associate Professor. Trust, urban poverty, joblessness, race and ethnic inequality, social capital and social networks.
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Joan Walker, Professor. Behavioral modeling, with an expertise in discrete choice analysis and travel behavior.
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Emeritus Faculty

Robert B. Cervero, Professor Emeritus. Transportation planning, city and regional planning, transportation & land use, transportation & urban development, international transportation.
Research Profile

Karen Christensen, Professor Emeritus. Evaluation, intergovernmental relations, city and regional planning, housing policy, planning theory, organizational theory.
Research Profile

Jan De Vries, Professor Emeritus. Economics, demography, history.
Research Profile

Elizabeth A. Deakin, Professor Emeritus. Urban design, city and regional planning, transportation policy, planning and analysis, land use policy and planning; legal and regulatory issues, institutions and organizations, energy and the environment, new technologies.
Research Profile

Peter Evans, Professor Emeritus. Sociology.
Research Profile

Paul Groth, Professor Emeritus. Architecture, vernacular architecture, urban geography, suburban America, cultural landscape studies, housing (US).
Research Profile

Michael Hanneman, Professor Emeritus.

Judith E. Innes, Professor Emeritus. Innovation, governance, collaborative planning and policy making, regionalism, interpretive methods, complexity and adaptation.
Research Profile

Michael Southworth, Professor Emeritus. Management, analysis, design, city and regional planning, landscape architecture, environmental planning, morphology of the post-industrial city, design of public space.
Research Profile

Richard Walker, Professor Emeritus. Race, environment, urbanism, politics, geography, resources, economic geography, regional development, capitalism, cities, California, class.
Research Profile

Margaret M. Weir, Professor Emerita. Political science, political sociology, sociology, American political development, urban politics and policy, comparative studies of the welfare state, metropolitan inequalities, city-suburban politics in the United States.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies

226 Wurster Hall

Phone: 510-643-9440

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Codirector, Head Graduate Adviser

Teresa Caldeira, PhD (City and Regional Planning)

Codirector, Head Graduate Adviser

Joan Walker, PhD (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Graduate Student Services

Clayton Hall

Phone: 510-642-1602

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