Examine principles of social justice while you explore Chicago and the surrounding communities. Examine principles of social justice while you explore Chicago and the surrounding communities. Examine principles of social justice while you explore Chicago and the surrounding communities. Examine principles of social justice while you explore Chicago and the surrounding communities. Examine principles of social justice while you explore Chicago and the surrounding communities.

College of Arts & Sciences

Chicago Area Studies

Questions?

Undergraduate Admission

(630) 637-5800

admissions@noctrl.edu

Why choose Chicago area studies at North Central College?

You’ll work closely with faculty who are published authors and experts on Chicago history, media, sports, jazz, architecture and art history. Through the Chicago Semester, these professors will extend the boundaries of your classroom as you travel through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods for facultyled lectures, field trips and research. You’ll examine principles of social justice while you explore the history, culture and social fabric of the inner city and suburban communities. Students who have participated in the Chicago area Studies program have gone on to careers in urban planning, community organizing, museum studies, criminal justice, social services, higher education administration, and social services.

You can also:

  • Hear presentations by visiting lecturers and attend on-campus film screenings that support and supplement the urban and suburban studies curriculum.
  • Develop contacts with employers and officials in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
  • Work directly with professors on their research, helping write papers, create presentations and present results in the media.

More Department information

Chicago Area Studies Minor

An interdisciplinary study of cities, suburbs, and rural areas as they impact issues of culture, sports, politics, community and inequality in the larger Chicago metropolitan area. Students will undertake a substantive and practical examination of issues related to careers in fields such as urban planning, community services, public policy, environmental management, and museum studies.

For additional information about this program, see Chicago Area Studies.

Minor Requirements

A minimum 20 credit hours, including:

Gateway

One of the following:

  • ARTH 200 - Chicago Art and Architecture

    ARTH 200 - Chicago Art and Architecture

    4.00 credit hours

    Development of the city of Chicago including architecture, public art and urban design. Emphasis on analysis of urban challenges and the application of design solutions. Field trips.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Arts.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HIST 120 - Chicago History

    HIST 120 - Chicago History

    4.00 credit hours

    This introduction to Chicago history explores the major events, people, and transformations of the metropolitan area from Indian Country to twenty-first century metropolis through historical texts, films, literature, visual art, and media related to Chicago's development. Particular attention will be paid to the following themes: politics and government; industrialization and technological change; reform and social change; labor; and racial and ethnic identities.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity, Experiencing Place, Innovating the World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOCI 223 - Community and City Life

    SOCI 223 - Community and City Life

    4.00 credit hours

    Discover the breath of experiences, the range of life styles, and the persistent problems that make city life the social setting for the richest opportunities and most perplexing inequalities in contemporary society. Attention given to issues of urban culture, schooling, housing and planning for more sustainable and equitable environments.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

A minimum 12 credit hours from the following:

  • CHAS 310 - Leadership and Place

    CHAS 310 - Leadership and Place

    4.00 credit hours

    Leadership and Place traces the influence of home towns and home places on contemporary and historical leadership paradigms while considering such ethical questions as: What role does place play in forming a responsible and responsive leader? How does one lead responsibly and well far from home? How and where do rural, urban and suburban ethical standards and value judgments converge and diverge? Where have the leaders of the past come from and where are they likely to be found in the future? Paying close attention to small communities and neighborhoods as key loci in the production of twentieth-century civic leaders and as ethical centers in a Jeffersonian republic, course texts, lectures and discussions feature real-life case studies designed to engage students in debates weighing ethical and moral positions viewed through the lens of place. Leadership and Place uniquely encourages students in the study of personal (inside-out) as well as cultural (outside-in) place-based, ethical perspectives while inviting them to consider the foundational role home communities play in ethical leadership on the local, regional and national level.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Sophomore standing.

    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHAS 390 - Special Topics in Chicago Area Studies

    CHAS 390 - Special Topics in Chicago Area Studies

    4.00 credit hours

    Emerging issues, specialized topics, experimental offerings find their home in this course. That is, the regular curriculum may benefit from the expertise of a new faculty member, a more in-depth discussion of a particular issue or specialized content not represented in the main curriculum. This course provides the flexibility for these discussions and would include topics such as public housing, immigration, urban innovation, sports and urban life.

    Prerequisite(s)

    SOCI 223, HIST 120 or ARTH 200.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHAS 397 - Internship

    CHAS 397 - Internship

    0.00-12.00 credit hours

    An opportunity to develop substantive knowledge and professional skills as these relate to issues of urban, suburban or rural environments.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHAS 399 - Independent Study

    CHAS 399 - Independent Study

    1.00-12.00 credit hours

    An opportunity to engage in a focused, independent study on a topic related to urban, suburban or rural settings.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ANTH 355 - Native Nations of North America: Homelands, Reservations and Urban Indian Communities

    ANTH 355 - Native Nations of North America: Homelands, Reservations and Urban Indian Communities

    4.00 credit hours

    The archaeology, ethnohistory and ethnography of selected indigenous nations with homelands north of Mesoamerica. Exploration of tensions among continuity and change, diversity and commonality. Examination of cultural and linguistic revitalization in response to imposed cultural and social change. Changing relationships with various landscapes that result from colonial, removal, reservation and assimilationist policies. Concentration on native nations of the upper Midwest.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of ANTH 145, ANTH 165, HIST 114 or HIST 120.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, U.S. Power Structure.
    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place, Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ANTH 375 - Urban Anthropology

    ANTH 375 - Urban Anthropology

    4.00 credit hours

    Draws on anthropological approaches, theories and methods to examine urbanism and city life across time and space. Examination of theories to explain appearance and disappearance of urbanism in the archaeological record. Contemporary urban centers and urban neighborhoods in transnational context. Extensive ethnographic field study required. Emphasis on an urban center determined by the instructor.

    Prerequisite(s)

    ANTH 145, ANTH 165, HIST 120 or SOCI 223.

    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ARTH 200 - Chicago Art and Architecture (if not taken as the Gateway course)

    ARTH 200 - Chicago Art and Architecture

    4.00 credit hours

    Development of the city of Chicago including architecture, public art and urban design. Emphasis on analysis of urban challenges and the application of design solutions. Field trips.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Arts.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGL 216 - Place and Travel Writing

    ENGL 216 - Place and Travel Writing

    4.00 credit hours

    A workshop-based public and professional writing course focusing on writing about travel; nature and ecology; and immersion or experiential writing. Place, setting and location inspire in myriad ways; mindful of this, students read and collaboratively analyze professional and peer practitioners for craft. Students also write, edit and revise original place-based and travel writing for workshop.

    Prerequisite(s)

    ENGL 200.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Arts, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENVI 260 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

    ENVI 260 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

    4.00 credit hours

    Geographic Information Science (GIS) links data to locations to explore spatial relationships. GIS is a research and problem-solving tool used in sciences, social sciences, and business analytics for mapping and evaluating the relationship between different spatial information. This course introduces basic GIS concepts such as spatial data sources and structures, projections and coordinate systems, data editing and creation and geospatial analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENVI 380 - Urban/Suburban/Rural Environmental Nexus

    ENVI 380 - Urban/Suburban/Rural Environmental Nexus

    4.00 credit hours

    The Chicago metropolitan locale provides an ideal location to study the intersections of urban, suburban and rural environmental issues such as regional environmental interdependence, urban ecology, sustainable cities, suburban sprawl, transportation, restoration/reuse of brownfields, green spaces in urban, suburban and rural environments and agriculture and the city. This course explores these issues with particular attention to their relationship to the local history and politics of Chicago.

    Prerequisite(s)

    ENVI 120 and Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HIST 120 - Chicago History (if not taken as the Gateway course)

    HIST 120 - Chicago History

    4.00 credit hours

    This introduction to Chicago history explores the major events, people, and transformations of the metropolitan area from Indian Country to twenty-first century metropolis through historical texts, films, literature, visual art, and media related to Chicago's development. Particular attention will be paid to the following themes: politics and government; industrialization and technological change; reform and social change; labor; and racial and ethnic identities.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity, Experiencing Place, Innovating the World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HIST 248 - American Environmental History

    HIST 248 - American Environmental History

    4.00 credit hours

    This broad exploration of American history from an environmental perspective examines the ways that different groups of Americans adapted to and altered the landscape, and analyzes their changing ideas about nature. The course begins in the colonial era and examines nineteenth-century economic growth and twentieth-century environmental awareness. Key themes include the new perspective of environmental history, the role of region in America, and reading the landscape.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place, Innovating the World, Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HIST 310 - Immigration and U.S. Ethnic Identity

    HIST 310 - Immigration and U.S. Ethnic Identity

    4.00 credit hours

    This research seminar examines U.S. immigration history from colonial times to the present. Exploration of the world conditions that led to the major waves of American immigration. Comparison of immigrant experiences to those of African Americans and Native Americans opens to wider focus on the concept of ethnic identity in U.S. history. Each student designs, researches and writes a historical essay related to major course themes.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity, Experiencing Place, Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HIST 315 - Public History and Local History

    HIST 315 - Public History and Local History

    4.00 credit hours

    Seminar examines the field of public history with a focus on local history. Local field trips with behind-the-scenes tours of museums, archives, and area historical sites will offer insight into public history careers. Will study Illinois communities outside Chicago over the course of their history, examining how local communities are part of the wider sweep of regional and national patterns, and also analyzing how they present their histories to the public. Each student designs, researches, and writes a historical essay on a local history topic using primary sources.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HIST 325 - American Cities and Suburbs

    HIST 325 - American Cities and Suburbs

    4.00 credit hours

    This research seminar explores the development of American cities and suburbs, focusing on the forces that have stimulated their growth and transformation. Topics include the influence of immigrants and migrants, technological and industrial revolutions, population mobility and suburbanization, private and public responses to change, race and ethnic issues as well as class and gender matters. Each student designs, researches and writes a historical essay related to major course themes.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life, Experiencing Place.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSYC 330 - Community Psychology

    PSYC 330 - Community Psychology

    4.00 credit hours

    Community Psychology focuses on the integration of social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental influences to promote prevention, health, and empowerment in communities. Course topics include program development and evaluation, grant writing, and community organizing.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One 200-level Psychology course, excluding PSYC 293; Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life, Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 225 - Urban Ethics and Religion

    RELG 225 - Urban Ethics and Religion

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of urban problems and the ways in which religious communities relate and respond to these problems in both helpful and detrimental ways.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOCI 223 - Community and City Life (if not taken as the Gateway course)

    SOCI 223 - Community and City Life

    4.00 credit hours

    Discover the breath of experiences, the range of life styles, and the persistent problems that make city life the social setting for the richest opportunities and most perplexing inequalities in contemporary society. Attention given to issues of urban culture, schooling, housing and planning for more sustainable and equitable environments.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOCI 332 - Chicago Encounters

    SOCI 332 - Chicago Encounters

    4.00 credit hours

    From the Gold Coast to Pilsen, Bucktown to Bridgeport. Join with fellow students in a first-hand, field study of Chicago's most interesting and intriguing neighborhoods. Students work together and conduct an original investigation of a selected neighborhood by means of interviews, demographic analysis and street level observations. A Chicago Semester course that provides students with a supervised introduction to the communities of the city and the opportunity to develop an appreciation for the personal and career opportunities in this world-class urban environment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOCI 344 - Sport in Society

    SOCI 344 - Sport in Society

    4.00 credit hours

    An historical-comparative analysis of sport across time and cultures and its uses in ancient, medieval and modern societies is undertaken. Examines work-leisure patterns that developed over the course of American history. Primary consideration of the urban, industrial and commercial processes that contributed to culture formation, with particular emphases on class and gender relations, commercialized leisure practices and the impact of the mass media in the formation of value systems.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity, Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

Capstone

  • CHAS 400 - Chicago Area Studies

    CHAS 400 - Chicago Area Studies

    4.00 credit hours

    The capstone brings together interdisciplinary themes in the study of urban, suburban and/or rural places, especially as these relate to the larger, Chicago metropolitan area. Students engage in a thoughtful, real world and practical examination of issues related to these places with particular attention devoted to their impact on life chances, opportunities and social justice.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structure.

    Schedule Of Classes

Chicago Area Studies Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Internships

  • City of Naperville Plan Commission
  • Streetwise Newspaper, Chicago
  • RedEye (Chicago’s free daily newspaper)
  • The Field Museum
  • Museums at Lisle Station, Lisle, Ill.

Careers

Recent student participants in Chicago Area Studies have pursued careers as:

  • Urban planners
  • Architects
  • Social workers
  • Youth workers
  • Public administrators
  • Social Service Providers
  • Youth Advocates
  • Criminal Justice Professionals
  • Museum Directors
  • Higher Education Administrators
  • Research Associates
  • Community Organizers
  • School Counselors
  • Teachers
  • Community Relations

 

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