Graduate Certificate



The Urban Humanities Initiative (UHI) offers an innovative cross-disciplinary curriculum that bridges design, urban studies, and the humanities, leading to a Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities. Students explore research methodologies for critical urban analysis and representational techniques that foreground new forms and models of inquiry for imagining the city. For the 2017-18 academic year, the Urban Humanities Initiative will focus on a theme we are calling ‘Borders & Commons’ that we will develop looking at cases from Mexico City and Los Angeles.


The Initiative begins with our Summer Institute, an intensive 3-week summer course, title “Introduction to Urban Humanities,” that weds interpretative techniques with urban design. The Institute runs from August 21 – September 8, Monday – Friday from 10am to 5pm. Each student will receive a grant of $935.20 to offset the tuition cost of this course ($1435.20). Students unable to cover the full cost of tuition for the summer institute should also apply. The Urban Humanities Initiative is open to all students, and will assist anyone with need. Students requiring this assistance should let us know after admission decision letters have been issued.


The Summer institute is followed by a required 4-unit Urban Humanities seminar in the Fall, and a 4-unit seminar in the Winter quarter focusing on issues of Borders and Commons between Mexico City and Los Angeles.


Students travel to Mexico City to conduct fieldwork during Spring Break, working in collaboration with local partners to develop urban humanist project on the theme of Borders and Commons. Costs of flights and accommodations are covered by the Urban Humanities Initiative.


Finally, we return to Los Angeles to a 4-unit studio course in the Spring where collaborative projects are completed based off of the fieldwork in Mexico City and Los Angeles.


One additional 4-unit elective is required to complete the necessary coursework for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities, and may be completed at any time during the year, or in subsequent years. The Urban Humanities Initiative is only open to incoming or currently matriculated UCLA graduate students in an existing degree program.


The curriculum is composed of four required core courses and two elective courses for a total of 20 units.


— Required Courses:


Introduction to Urban Humanities (4 units, Summer session C)

Urban Humanities Seminar A: Borders & Commons in Mexico City(4 units, Fall quarter)

Urban Humanities Seminar B: Working in the Field (4 units, Winter quarter)

Urban Humanities Studio: Urban Humanities in Action (4 units, Spring quarter)



— Elective Course:


One 4-unit course from pre-approved list of courses related to urbanism in Mexico City, and the theme of Borders and Commons. Courses pre-approved as electives will be listed each term under ‘Academics’ > ‘Courses’ on the UHI website. Students may petition any course that is potentially applicable as an elective course by submitting a request to Benjamin Leclair-Paquet at that includes a syllabus for the course.



— Admission Requirements
The Urban Humanities graduate certificate will be open to all graduate students across campus, either currently enrolled or newly matriculating in a master’s or doctorate program. Students formally apply to the certificate program by submitting a simple online application that includes:


  • Statement of interest in the Urban Humanities Graduate Certificate (300-600 words);
  • A resume or curriculum vitae;
  • A digital copy of academic transcripts for all post-secondary schools attended (unofficial transcript is sufficient);
  • Simple application form, available for download here.


All materials should be packaged as a single PDF and submitted via email to UHI Associate Director, Benjamin Leclair-Paquet at by May 26, 2017. Inquiries about the application and admission process may also be submitted to this address. The application process is competitive.


The application can be downloaded by clicking here.