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Earn your Urban Community Change Degree and Improve the World

If you're interested in a career working toward racial, social, and environmental justice, the Bachelor of Arts in Urban Community Change at West Chester University is for you!

Our interdisciplinary program in urban and community change studies is designed to provide a foundation in community organizing and give you the skills to understand the assets and challenges of urban resilience, well-being, and engagement.

You will study inspiring activists such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bayard Rustin, a national hero with local roots. Often referred to as the "architect of the 1963 March on Washington," Rustin was a gay, Black pacifist, artist and organizer from West Chester, PA.

Our program is housed in the Rustin Urban Community Change Axis (RUCCAS), in the College of Arts and Humanities, in his honor and our urban and community change program is proudly modeled after his legacy.


Benefits of Earning Your Urban Community Change Degree at West Chester University

Mentors with Firsthand Experience

Your faculty will share their personal expertise in how authentic community change happens. Some of your professors are current practitioners, bringing contemporary lessons in social change directly to small classes, where you have the benefit of intimate discussions with real world implications.

Real-World Advocacy

Our urban community change major connects you with affiliated campus, regional, and national networks, giving you expansive resources and contacts to further the social change you want to see in the world. These organizations include:

  • Antiracist Liberation and Learning Union
  • Aspiring to Educate with the Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Community Learning Partnership
  • United to End Racism (a project of Re-Evaluation Counseling)

Significant Hands-on Work

To conclude your urban community change program, you will put all your classroom knowledge into practice to collaboratively build and sustain change during an in-depth practicum placement with an organization in Philadelphia or other urban area.

While continuing to learn about current research and practices within the community through weekly presentations on urban and community studies, you'll work to positively impact an urban community with one of our partners committed to social change.


What Can You Do with a Degree in Urban Community Change?

Many jobs in urban community change require a bachelor's degree in community development with no further study, setting you up for a successful career immediately upon graduating.

You may also choose to further specialize by pursuing graduate education in law, social work, health or another area. Our alumni report being consistently asked about their unique academic experience at WCU, which stands out to recruiters on their graduate applications and resumes.

Our alumni are thriving in a broad array of jobs, including:

  • Community organizing and empowerment groups, such as Pennsylvanians Organizing to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER) and YouthBuild.
  • Government agencies, such as Philadelphia District Attorney's office and the Veterans' Administration.
  • Well-established national nonprofits, such as the YMCA.
  • Youth development and school programs, such as the Dream Program and Breakthrough.
  • Urban, rural, and suburban school districts and institutions of higher education.

What Will You Study as an Urban Community Change Student?

Our interdisciplinary urban community change program effectively prepares our students to be change makers across industries.

With flexible electives, you'll be empowered to specialize in the areas you feel most passionate about, including:

  • Urban Contexts and Communities: Focus on local housing conditions and study Housing and Planning in America or follow an international track and choose Global Cities.
  • Critical Consciousness and Grassroots Democracy: Study social movements and their impact on the consciousness of the nation and democracy as whole, including the civil rights movement, marriage equality, and sustainability.
  • Race and Social Class: Delve into the impact race and social class have on the experiences of individuals and groups and learn more about expression through unique language variations.
  • Methods of Research and Assessment: Develop your skillset in areas like community engagement techniques, sociological research, and digital research methods.
  • Communication Skills for Justice Workers: Hone your skills in a variety of business and nonprofit related areas like grant and proposal writing, digital journalism, and activism and advocacy.
  • Public Administration: Explore courses to help you move into local, regional, and even national government. You'll study topics like social welfare, labor economics, public service, and urban and regional planning.

B.A. in Urban Community Change

Code Title Credits
Academic Foundations
First Year Experience requirement4
English Composition requirement6-7
Mathematics requirement3-4
Interdisciplinary requirement3
Diverse Communities requirement3
Ethics requirement 3
Distributed Disciplinary Foundations
Science requirement6-8
Behavioral & Social Science requirement6
Humanities requirement6
Arts requirement3
University Requirements
Writing Emphasis requirement9
Speaking Emphasis requirement9
Degree Requirements
Language/Culture requirement0-15
Demonstrating language proficiency through the intermediate level (202) or demonstrating language proficiency through the elementary II (102) level of a language and further acquiring a cultural foundation.
Capstone requirement1-15
Required Courses
RUX 110Introduction to Urban Community Change3
YES 250Intro to Youth and Urban Community Work: Urban Prof Workshop3
RUX/PSY 215Liberation Psychology: Sustaining Community Change3
YES 300Youth Empowerment and the Urban Context3
RUX/PAX 377Community Organizing: Strategies and Practice3
Cognate Courses
Students select one class from each of the six areas below:18
Urban Contexts and Communities
Select one of the following:3
GEO 204
Introduction to Urban Studies
GEO 333
Sustainable Cities
GEO 200
Global Cities
GEO 312
Urban Geography
Housing and Planning in America
ECO 350
Urban Economics 1
ANT 347
The Cultures of Cities
SOC 342
Urban Sociology 1
PSC 304
Urban Politics
HIS 364
U.S. Urban History
LIT 370
Urbanism and the Modern Imagination
Critical Consciousness and Grassroots Democracy
Select one of the following:3
PAX 200
Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
WOS 310
Feminist Activism
SOC 369
Social Movements 1
PHI 481
Philosophy of Human Rights 1
LNC 110
Global Human Rights in Cultural Production
SUS 100
Introduction to Sustainability and Resilience
LIT 207
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
LIT 309
Thoughts/Writings of Martin Luther King
ESP 317
Utopia and Apocalypse in the Americas
WOS 260
Globalization and the Ethics of Sustainability
Queer Theory 1
Race and Social Class
Select one of the following:3
CLS 333
Latina Writing
CLS 255
20TH Century Native American Literature
CLS 365
African American Film
LIT 213
Asian American Literature
LIT 202
African American Literature I
LIT 203
African American Literature II
LIT 204
New Black Women Writers in America
WRH 301
The Rhetorics of Black Americans
ESP 324
Latinos in the U.S.
SWO 225
Race Relations
SOC 335
Racial and Cultural Minorities 1
PSY 120
Multicultural Psychology
SOC 341
Social Stratification 1
PSY 448
Field Experience in Psychology III 1
PSC 353
Latinx Politics
PSC 323
Racial/Ethnic Politics
THA 250
Race and Gender in American Theatre
CRJ 360
Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice 1
WOS 227
Let's Talk About Race
Methods of Research and Assessment
Select one of the following:3
HIS 480
Digital History
SOC 322
Methods of Sociological Research 1
PLN 302
Community Engagement Techniques
SOC 225
Digital Social Research 1
DHM 325
Digital Research Methods 1
WOS 240
How to Do Things with Feminism
Communication Skills for Justice Workers
Select one of the following:3
YES 301
Seminar in Youth-Led Media and Inquiry
ENG 368
Business and Organizational Writing
JRN 212
Digital Journalism
WRH 335
Activism and Advocacy Writing
WRH 315
Propaganda, Power, and Politics
WRH 342
Document Design
WRH 350
Grant and Proposal Writing
MDC 252
Media Writing
Public Administration
Select one of the following:3
PLN 214
Introduction to Planning
PSC 202
Elements of Public Administration
SWO 200
Introduction to Social Welfare
ECO 334
Labor Economics 1
PPA 500
Foundations of Public Service 2
Capstone Requirement
RUX 400Critical Urban Work Practicum Seminar 36
RUX majors are strongly encouraged to double major, take one or more minors, or to create a directed concentration in courses that will provide them expertise in a particular issue area, such as, but not limited to: Women's and Gender Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, African American Studies, Latin American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Digital Humanities, Journalism, Arts, Sustainability, Psychology, Health, Political Science, Planning, Education, Globalization, Nutrition, Foreign Languages, etc.
Total Minimum Credits Required120

This course requires a prerequisite.


Students must obtain approval from the Dean of the Graduate School.


This course fulfills the Capstone requirement.

Get Started on YourCommunity Development

Charge ahead on your path to creating transformative social change for our communities. Submit your application to West Chester University today.

Apply Now



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