Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Downtown Kalamazoo

Why Study Public Policy and Urban Affairs at K?

Learn how to improve your community at a local, national, and global scale, and directly apply your knowledge by partnering with local organizations in Kalamazoo. 

As a public policy and urban affairs student, you will study the social problems in modern industrial societies and how to alleviate them. To develop holistic solutions to the most pressing problems in urban development, you will learn to think from the perspective of policymakers, organizations, and everyday residents. You will gain these skills throughout your coursework, as well as through experiential education opportunities that will allow you to apply your learning within the Kalamazoo community. 

The concentration takes an interdisciplinary approach to education, combining the methodologies and perspectives of economics, political science, philosophy, anthropology and sociology. You will look at contemporary urban issues—such as resource management, ecological design, gentrification, and city planning—through these varied lenses as you assess the efficacy, equity, and applicability of current and potential policies. Some notable courses include Issues in Urban Economics; Race, Law, and U.S. Politics; Real and Imagined Cities; and Ecological Philosophy. 

Outside of the classroom, you are encouraged to gain first-hand experience by focusing on an issue or policy within Kalamazoo and partnering with local organizations to address it. The College offers numerous community engagement opportunities to partner in children’s development, community organizing, social justice and government programming—to name a few. 

Your coursework and experiences in Kalamazoo will prepare you for a lifetime of community engagement. Notably, our alumni have parlayed their public policy and urban affairs concentration into successful careers in law, education, government, and community organizing. 

What can you do with a public policy and urban affairs concentration?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools our alumni have worked for.


  • Campaign Manager
  • Attorney
  • Property Manager
  • Teacher
  • Community Engagement Manager


  • Fair Food Network
  • New York State Justice Center
  • YWCA
  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety
  • The Vera Project

Graduate Schools

  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan
  • Northwestern University
  • New York University
  • Georgetown University