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Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology

Application Deadline:

The Summer 2021 application will be available beginning on August 1, 2020, and is open until February 1, 2021 (11:59 pm pacific standard time).


As digital services transform city life, will they do so equitably and sustainably?
Can automation be designed without discrimination?
How will data and technology be used to improve buildings and cities?
Do you want to lead these changes?

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology is a first-of-its-kind degree in an emerging field that combines urbanism, technology, and design. This four-year, transdisciplinary curriculum will prepare you to understand and analyze cities as complex systems; play an active role in shaping urban environments; and envision new products, services, projects, and initiatives that improve urban life. Through the program’s unique structure, you will begin classes at U-M’s Ann Arbor campus during summer term, and you also will spend a semester-long residency in Detroit during your freshman year.

As part of one of the world’s largest and most prominent public universities, working toward the common good in order to produce diverse, inclusive, and equitable outcomes lies at the heart of who we are. You will graduate with an understanding of how urban systems function today, as well as the ambition and ability to shape how they should function in the future in order to better meet the needs of all. Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning offers an unparalleled range of opportunities for you to explore these issues and understand how you can promote sustainable change and inclusivity in cities. Urban environments bring people from different backgrounds and with different viewpoints together, just like our campus does — and those perspectives will help you think more broadly. You will also learn from faculty who are experts in an array of fields, at Taubman College and across campus. The University of Michigan has more than 100 programs ranked in the top 10, so whether you’re taking a class at your home base in Taubman College; in the School of Information; the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; or elsewhere at U-M, you will learn from the best.

U-M’s global reach and partnerships will give you opportunities to contextualize your studies in cities around the world, beginning with a semester-long residency in Detroit. Based at our Michigan Research Studio, you will see Detroit’s transition to a post-industrial society from the inside, learning with U-M faculty as well as industry and community leaders. As you advance in your studies, you will be able to explore major hubs of urban technology activity through elective spring term intensive courses in places like San Francisco, New York, and Shanghai.

As an urban technology student, you will learn in an environment that is collaborative, project focused, and committed to equity and engagement. The curriculum combines integrative design studios with seminars and lectures to introduce you to a broad array of perspectives. Your community of classmates and professors will challenge you, and you will challenge them, to question beliefs and imagine new possibilities. When you graduate, you will know the ins-and-outs of software development and data science; have the historical and theoretical knowledge needed to analyze cities in their full diversity; and be a capable designer who is able to work independently and collaboratively. You will be a leader who is ready to make a profound difference with a unique perspective on the intersection of cities, technology, and design.

What you will learn

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Technology degree addresses a rapidly growing field: the intersection of data- and technology-based approaches with the processes of planning, developing, designing, and using buildings and cities. Our curriculum will give you the vision, knowledge, and skills to shape urban futures. It is a mix of urbanism, technology, and design.

Total 120 Credits: 60 upper-level credits, 45 of which will be completed at Taubman College.

You will learn

  • How to create software
  • How to use quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify opportunities and challenges, and make a compelling argument
  • Interaction, service, and strategic design, complemented by a strong theoretical and conceptual understanding of design attitude and process
  • 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 cities
  • How to navigate complex, diverse, and evolving situations with integrity

Your instructors will be people whose research and practice have led them to become experts in fields, including:

In addition, you will learn from our network of industry practitioners, policy experts, and alumni who will contribute guest lecturers and workshops to the program.


Major Requirements

  • Introduction to Urbanization
  • Introduction to Urban Practices
  • Plural Perspectives of the City
  • Becoming Digital
  • Programs, Information and People
  • Data-Oriented Programming
  • Data Manipulation
  • 2D design
  • Core Studio: Introduction to Design Mindset, Process, Methods
  • Core Studio: Interaction Design and Urban Experiences
  • Advanced Studio: Service Design and Urban Needs
  • Advanced Studio: Strategic Design and Urban Systems
  • Reflective Practice & Career Pathways


  • At least one Taubman College offering focusing on a specific policy area such as transportation, housing, energy, and natural resources
  • At least one Technology course of your choosing (You will work with your academic adviser to identify the right course.)
  • Five electives in these areas or approved alternatives (it may be possible for students to complete a minor in one of these areas in satisfaction of this requirement): Economics; History; Urban Studies; Community Action and Social Change; Political Science; Complex Systems; Science & Technology Studies; Program in the Environment; Entrepreneurship, Real Estate
  • And a selection of Design and Technology Modules on topics including: Collaboration, Co-Creation, Facilitation, Engagement; Insights from Ethnography and Observation; Framing Opportunities & Challenges; Storytelling, Diagramming, Visual Communication; Complex Adaptive Systems; The Future: Foresight + Scenarios; Evaluation & Validation; Modeling Urban Scenarios; Urban Data Visualization and Storytelling; Machine Learning; Computer Vision; Urban Sensing Introduction

General Education Requirements

  • Writing & Literature 
  • Writing and Academic Inquiry
  • Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Principles of Economics I (Microeconomics)
  • Race & Ethnicity Course
  • Humanities Course
  • Social Science Courses

What is a studio?

A design "studio" is a type of course that is collaborative, hands-on, and project based. In each studio project (or projects) you will: research the context and lived experience of stakeholders, identify and define a specific challenge, brainstorm ways to address that challenge, develop one of your ideas into a proposal, and then validate your ideas by prototyping and testing them.

Where you might go after U-M

Salary ranges are based upon San Francisco data from Glassdoor

  • Roles in product design, interaction design, or service design: salary range $66,000 – $130,000
  • Design researcher with a focus on urban issues: salary range $87,000 – $140,000
  • Program manager or entrepreneur related to technology products and services that improve cities: salary range $44,000 – $99,000
  • Policy analyst in government or nonprofit organizations related to core urban needs such as housing, transportation, food, environmental systems, and more: $49,000 – $86,000

For Questions and Additional Information

Students interested in learning more about the program should fill out the prospective student form or schedule a visit.

Contact Admissions at TaubmanCollegeAdmissions@umich.edu

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning