Meet Rina Patel, Growth and Structure of Cities Major

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Most people at Bryn Mawr have heard of Growth and Structure of Cities (or Cities, for short) major, but a lot of people outside the major don’t know a whole lot about what goes into it. The Cities major, created in the early 1980s, is unique to Bryn Mawr - it’s not offered at any other college (though there may be similar options).   

Photo courtesy of Rina Patel

The coursework is intended to show students the relationship between man-made structures and the politics, economics, and culture behind them. Rina Patel ’18 first decided on the Cities major after taking some courses second semester of her freshman year.

“I thought I was going to [double major in] chem and poli-sci,” said Patel. She spoke to her D.C. Mentor, with whom she was matched with through a leadership program she participated in during her freshman year.

“She just really made the case of why looking at urban challenges on a global scale is such an important piece of the puzzle,” said Patel. She also cites that Cities covers topics she’s interested in, such as political science, international relations, sociology and anthropology.  

“It’s very interdisciplinary… my minors have really overlapped in my Cities major,” said Patel, who’s minoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science. The senior has held a variety of internships, ranging in discipline from federal policy to domestic policy to nonprofits.

Patel’s Advice for potential Cities students?

“Cities has some weird requirements… so try to get those done early,” said Patel.  

“We’re good for most fields,” she concluded. Ultimately, Patel’s bottom line is that the versatility of the major will prove to be very helpful in her future career, whatever that may be.