Graduate Certificate

The Urban Humanities Initiative offers an innovative cross-disciplinary curriculum that bridges design, urban studies, and the humanities, leading to a Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities. Students will have the opportunity to explore methodologies for both urban analysis and representational techniques, and will develop skills in digital media, spatial analysis, urban representation, video, critical cartography, and narrative analysis. For our initial study of megacities around the Pacific Rim, the studio will include travel to a host city during Spring Break for students, funded by the Mellon Foundation.


For the 2016-17 academic year, UHI will focus on the theme of peripheries between the cities of Los Angeles and Tokyo. The core curriculum will commence with an intensive summer course, titled “Introduction to Urban Humanities,” from August 22 – September 9 running Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. Students will then be required to attend a 2-unit Urban Humanities seminar in Fall as well as the Winter terms. Finally, students will travel to Tokyo to conduct fully-funded fieldwork, returning to a final capstone 4-unit studio-formatted course in the Spring where collaborative projects are completed based off of the fieldwork. Two additional 4-unit elective seminar are required to complete the necessary coursework for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities and these electives 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: Guides to Tokyo (2 units, Fall term)

Urban Humanities Winter Course (2 units, Winter term)

Urban Humanities Studio (4 units, Spring term)


— Elective Courses:

Two 4-unit courses from pre-approved list of courses related to Japanese culture and urbanism. Courses pre-approved as electives will be listed each term under “Current Courses” on the UHI website. Students may petition any course that is potentially applicable as an elective course by submitting a request to Ben Leclair at and including 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 which will include 1) a short statement (300-600 words) of purpose articulating why they want to participate in the program, and how it will support their academic or professional goals; 2) a resume or curriculum vitae; and 3) a digital copy of their transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended (an unofficial copy is sufficient).


All materials should be packaged as a single PDF and submitted via email to UHI Associate Director, Ben Leclair at by June 3, 2016. Inquiries about the application and admission process may also be submitted to this address. The application process is competitive, with 18-24 students admitted from a balanced representation of the humanities, architecture, and urban planning.


The application can be downloaded by clicking here.