North Central College - Naperville, IL

Urban and Suburban Studies

Why choose urban and suburban 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 Term, these professors will extend the boundaries of your classroom as you travel through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods for faculty-led 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.

You can also:

  • Hear presentations by visiting lecturers and attend on-campus film screenings that support and supplement the urban and suburban studies curriculum.
  • Travel abroad to study the issues faced by cities around the world.


John Shindler
North Central College is establishing an innovative academic program in Middle Eastern and North African studies that will include language courses in Arabic.
Steve Macek, professor of speech communication
Steve Macek, North Central College professor of speech communication and coordinator of urban and suburban studies, gave talk about film censorship and more.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced a $1.1 million grant to fund improvements to a future downtown Naperville public park on land owned by North Central College.



  • City of Naperville Plan Commission
  • Streetwise Newspaper, Chicago
  • The RedEye (Chicago's free daily newspaper)
  • The Field Museum, Chicago


Recent graduates in urban and suburban studies include:

  • Urban planning
  • Architecture
  • Social work
  • Youth work
  • Public administration
Sociology major, Urban and Suburban Studies minor

“Students can read about urban problems anywhere, but North Central puts you into the city to witness those issues first-hand,” says Ben. The sociology major participated in the Chicago Term, which involves commuting into the city for 10 weeks of study, research and touring. North Central’s faculty teach the Chicago Term courses and lead urban outings. “The experience furthered my interest in city planning and led me to obtain an internship with the City of Naperville Plan Commission,” Ben says. “I plan to go on to graduate school for urban planning. Whatever you study, North Central offers a variety of unique opportunities that many other schools do not.”

Urban and Suburban Studies major

Brian found plenty of opportunities to pursue his passion for urban and suburban studies at North Central. Rather than minor in the subject, he created an individualized major that resulted in a curriculum “unlike any other program at any other undergraduate institution.”

“Other schools have urban studies programs,” he says, “but none has a strong focus on both urban and suburban issues.”

Brian participated in Chicago Term—one of several unique offerings at North Central. It gave him a chance to experience city living firsthand while continuing his education.