The most popular occupations for those who study urban studies or social work as a major are:
- community and social services
- public health
- welfare of the elderly, disabled, veterans and others
- public administration
- economic development
- child welfare
- city planning
- community organization
- criminal justice
- race relations
Urban studies programs teach the methodologies and tools of the social sciences to facilitate analysis and improvement of life in cities. They learn how cities function, characteristics of city cultures and how cities tend to address social problems, crises, human welfare and social change. They focus on how people define and shape life in cities and how cities define and shape the lives of their citizens.
Social work helps individuals and families, especially children, with any of a number of the issues in their lives – financial, medical, education, communication, ethnic/racial, and community issues. Social workers must have excellent communication and inter-personal skills, the ability to work independently and as a member of a team, the ability to solve problems and to advocate for others.
There is a natural connection between urban studies and social work. Many of the programs and resources available to assist people with social welfare, medical or educational needs are located in cities. As our population ages (particularly with the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age), there is increasing need for assistance for the elderly. The poor and the disabled also need advocates and help. Unfortunately, there is no apparent decrease in the number of people who need help freeing themselves of substance addictions. All of these people need to find a place in their cities and they need assistance locating and leveraging the assistance available to them to their greatest advantage.
Protecting human welfare and promoting the common good will always be a social necessity. As a result, our society will continue to need social workers, city planners, public health advocates, and policymakers. There may be no more rewarding line of work than helping others enjoy a better quality of life.