Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology
The University of Michigan’s trailblazing Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology degree focuses on the intersection of urbanism and technology and the digital systems of tomorrow. You’ll learn how to design and create technologies and organizations that address real urban challenges, such as unequal access to the internet, transportation challenges, safe drinking water, and more.
Electric scooters that let you zip around town; apps that enable sharing of houses, workspaces, and more; embedded sensors that ensure water is clean and bridges are safe—imagining and growing systems like these are what you will do in this first-of-its-kind degree program. You’ll learn how to create digital products and services that make cities better for everyone.
/ Future-Focused Curriculum
As an Urban Technology student, you will learn:
- New perspectives on the history of cities and what is happening in the urban world around you today, including how to research, analyze, and understand urban environments
- How to conceptualize and code software
- Design that balances human-centered and systems-level needs
- How to use quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify opportunities and challenges, and how to make a compelling argument
- How to navigate complex, diverse, and evolving situations with integrity
/ Cities Intensive: Spring Travel Term
After a gap semester in fall, you will begin classes in January and continue into a unique Cities Intensive: a jam-packed two months of hands-on learning during the spring semester (May and June) of your first year. During this busy semester, you will learn how to understand cities in depth, benefitting from field trips to Detroit and other important urban centers. Between field trips, you’ll complete hands-on design workshops that are a chance to experiment with how you see, shape, and experience urban life.
You’ll have the option of joining Taubman College travel studios electives in cities around the world after your sophomore and junior year
Collaborate and Inspire
This degree is centered around project-based, collaborative work. You will experiment and explore the intersection of technology, design, and cities alongside a cohort of inspired peers who will challenge and support you.
You will complete a required minor of your choice to complement your primary studies and connect you to the wide variety of offerings across the University of Michigan. Below is a list of pre-approved minors. Students may propose alternatives in discussion with their academic advisor and program director.
The Urban Technology program is designed for recent high school graduates who will be first-year students at the University of Michigan. Current U-M undergraduates may apply for a cross-campus transfer. Urban Technology is not available to students transferring into the University of Michigan.
If you’re joining us as a first-year student with a declared major, you will take required courses each semester. In your first year, you and your classmates will take the fall as a gap semester before beginning college courses in the winter semester (January) and completing year one with a Cities Intensive in the spring term (May and June).
If you’re transferring from a different U-M Ann Arbor school/college, you should complete a minimum of 34 credit hours and a maximum of 70 credit hours during your first two years on campus, including all of the prerequisite coursework outlined below. If accepted to the Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology program, students will begin their Taubman coursework in the spring semester. This program is not currently available to transfer students outside of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Learn more about cross-campus transfer requirements.
/ Degree Requirements
You will complete a total of 120 credits as an Urban Technology student. Required courses focus on cities, technology, and design. You also will choose electives from Taubman College courses focusing on a specific area of policy or technology. General education course requirements and a required minor complement your primary studies.
View sample schedules for both first-year and cross-campus transfer students.
/ Paying for your Degree
Making decisions about the next step in your educational journey is a time full of opportunity and potential; however, it may also be accompanied by concerns regarding paying for your degree. There are numerous financial resources to help you manage tuition and living expenses.
Our program is designed to be a platform for a variety of city-focused careers. Wherever you go – business, design, research, or a technical field – after you join the ranks of U-M’s 650,000+ alumni, our in-house career and professional development team will support you every step of the way.
To learn more about what internships students completed in Summer 2023, read the Urban Technology Week 164 update.
Our annual Employment Report reflects the outcomes for the most recently surveyed Taubman graduates, which does not include students in our inaugural urban technology cohort who are on track to graduate in spring 2025.
/ Learn from the Best
You’ll learn to see solutions, not problems, with guidance from our internationally recognized faculty experts who are thinking about, designing, and researching the future of cities. These diverse thinkers lead research on climate change, internet inequality, spatial justice, and more to transform today’s cities into more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable urban environments.
/ STEM Designated Degree Program
The Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology degree is an approved field of study within the U.S. government’s official STEM fields list. When a student earns a degree in a field on the STEM fields list, he/she may be eligible for the 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension. OPT is defined as practical work experience in your field of study after completion of a degree. With a STEM degree, a student’s “regular” OPT of 12 months may be extended for an additional 24 months. For further details regarding STEM extensions contact the International Center.
/ Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for the Urban Technology program?
The Urban Technology program is primarily intended for recent high school graduates who will be first-year students at the University of Michigan. Current U-M undergraduates may apply for a cross-campus transfer every fall semester. Transfers from other colleges and universities are not eligible at this time.
What does a fall application with winter semester start mean?
High school students will submit a fall admission application (due by February 1), and if you are admitted to the program, you will start classes at U-M at the beginning of winter semester the following January. This nontraditional start will prepare you for immersive, off-campus experiences in global centers of urban technology the following semester. (And, thanks to our schedule, you can still graduate with friends who begin in fall term!)
What should I do during the fall semester?
During your sophomore year, you will begin learning how to code in Python 3, but you can get a head start on this by learning Python via a non-credit bearing online course such as PY4E on Coursera or at Code Academy. (Remember: taking credit-bearing college courses in fall semester immediately prior to enrollment at U-M in winter semester is not permitted.)
Once admitted, we’ll send you suggested book titles to help you build a reading list. If you’re the bookish type, you could certainly make this your primary concern.
Get out and see a new part of the world. This can be local, like taking walks around your hometown, or regional, like exploring nearby cities with fresh eyes. Grab a copy of Intro to the City and use it to guide your observations, pack a water bottle, and lace up some comfy shoes. (*if it’s safe to do so in your region)
You are interested in this program because you’re passionate about your community, so what about volunteering with a local group for a few months? This is a great way to gain real world experience.
Whether it’s at a place you’ve worked before, like a regular summer job, or somewhere new altogether, working for the semester gives you the chance to save up a little extra money before college starts.
When will I graduate as a winter start student?
It will depend on how you pursue your coursework while enrolled in the program. Upon successful completion of winter and spring terms, you will join your fellow U-M bachelor’s degree peers the next fall with an option to graduate in the typical four-year period.
Is it possible to enroll with my classmates who will begin in August?
No. This program is for a winter semester (January) start only.
Where will I live on campus as a student?
First-year students will be a part of a community of nearly 6,600 first-year Wolverines living in residence halls. While students may request a specific building, placement depends upon availability. For the last 2 years, all urban technology students who applied to live on campus were given a place in our residence halls. In Winter 2023, for example, our students were housed in 13 different locations among North and Central Campus.
Can I live on campus during the Fall prior to my first Winter semester?
Since you will not be enrolled as a student at U-M until winter semester, you are not eligible to live on campus in the fall.
Am I eligible to receive need-based financial aid?
Yes, if you have filed the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Learn more here.
How does financial aid work?
Students admitted for winter semester will receive a two-semester aid package (sent as two separate communications) that will include the winter term and the spring term. The spring term only includes six required college credits so you are considered a part-time student for that term. You can enroll in six credits for summer, so those summer credits paired with the six credits in the spring term would make you a full-time student for financial aid purposes. A limited number of scholarships may be offered to some incoming students on the basis of merit using the application for admission.
Will I be at any disadvantage when registering for spring courses?
Absolutely not. The spring term courses will be held for the Urban Technology students and they will be guaranteed enrollment.
Will I be able to join a fraternity or sorority during my first semester on campus?
Not during your first semester. For more information, explore the Fraternity and Sorority Life webpage.
What internship opportunities exist in Urban Technology?
Our Career and Professional Development team has a great network and we will work with you individually to identify opportunities of greatest interest. Program Director Bryan Boyer is also personally working on building bridges for the urban technology students and will be involved in finding internship opportunities for you and your classmates.
What are the networking opportunities in Urban Technology?
In the Urban Technology program, you will have classes with full-time professors as well as professors of practice and visiting professors who come from industry. And you will have regular guest speakers in class. This means your networking will start right in the classroom. Additionally, U-M as a whole has lots of networking events with alumni and a global network of alums, so there will be plenty of opportunities to network with people from the built environment (architecture and urban planning) as well as other disciplines. This is essential. You want to network with your future peers but also your future clients and collaborators—the people who will hire you.
What about looking beyond a bachelor’s degree?
Our program in Urban Technology is a foundation that prepares you to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. After this degree, some may choose to go on to master’s programs in architecture or urban planning, interaction design, or MBA – but the possibilities are endless. You can apply the knowledge from this program to any field. The degree is designed to be a platform for whatever you do next, so it will enable some people to join the workforce directly after college and for others, it will give them a good base from which to continue their studies in a specialized field.
Should I visit campus before I enroll in January?
Should I attend summer orientation?
No. Students admitted to the Urban Technology degree program will attend the U-M orientation for winter admits offered in December or early January. A second orientation to Taubman College will also be offered (likely in December).
/ Program Newsletter
Dive deeper into conversations about the field of urban technology, the future of cities, design, design education, and more.