Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which Certificate programs are available through the
graduate Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
(UEP), and who is the contact person for each?
A: There are three Certificate programs available through UEP:
Community Environmental Studies (CES), Management of Community
Organizations (MCO) and Program Evaluation (PGE). The advisor for
the CES and MCO programs is Rusty
Russell at (617) 627-2220 and for PGE the advisor is TBD.
Q: How do I find out what standards and requirements apply
to the Certificate program?
A: Take a look at the UEP
website and the
Graduate Studies website. In addition, you may contact the appropriate
UEP Certificate program advisor.
Q: Can I complete more than one Certificate program?
A: Yes, so long as the requirements for each one are independently met.
For example, you cannot apply one course to more than one program.
Q: Can I transfer from one Certificate program to
A: Yes, although you will have to meet the requirements of the program
to which you seek to transfer. If the transfer is between programs
administered by UEP (i.e., CES, MCO and PGE), the transfer can be
handled administratively - that is, without the need to reapply. For
transfer to another Certificate program, please contact that program's
Applications for Admission
Q: What are the main elements of the application?
They are: the online application form itself; one letter of recommendation
(it can be from anyone, but the most effective tend to be written by
professors or employers who know you and your work well); your undergraduate
transcript(s); a personal statement; a resume; and the fee.
Q: Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)? Even if
I don't, may I submit scores if I want to?
A: GRE scores are not required for any Tufts Certificate program. But if you
do have GRE scores (old or new), they may be submitted as part of the
application package and will be given due consideration.
Q: Is a bachelor's degree required?
Q: Can I apply on the Web?
A: Yes. You will
find the forms you need by visiting the
Apply Online website and following the links there.
Q: After I've submitted complete application materials, when
will I find out whether I've been admitted?
A: That varies, but we try to provide an answer within two weeks - in the
form of a letter to you from the dean of the Tufts Graduate School of
Arts and Sciences.
Q: When is the application deadline?
A: Students are admitted to the Certificate program on a rolling basis.
However, applications received less than two weeks before the start of the
semester may not be reviewed in time to permit you to enroll directly at
that point. In this situation, we generally recommend that you enroll in
the Tufts Graduate Career Advancement Program (GCAP). GCAP allows you to
take courses for credit on a space-available, non-degree basis. You could
start out in this program and, when you are accepted by the Certificate
program, transfer all GCAP credits that meet the requirements of your
Q: Can I count courses for the Certificate program that I've completed
prior to entering the program?
A: Yes, you may normally apply up to two Tufts courses, provided that (i)
they've been completed within two years of the date of your acceptance to
the Certificate program; and (ii) they are listed as electives for the
Certificate track you've chosen (core courses cannot be counted). But,
please note that, in this situation, you as the applicant bear the risk
of not being admitted to the program. Hence, we strongly recommend that
you matriculate to the Certificate program before you enroll in any required
Q: Generally what do you look for in applicants?
A: There's no standard answer, just as there's no standard applicant. Many
qualities are taken into account. But a typical applicant will have a 3.0
or higher undergraduate grade-point average; a strong letter of
recommendation; and a well-written, concise personal statement offering a
persuasive reason for joining the Certificate program.
Q: Can I begin my Certificate program by taking courses during
A: Yes, although you should apply and be admitted prior to the date by
which you must register for summer courses. Please visit the
website for registration details.
Q: Will credits I earn in the Certificate program be transferable
to the full-time UEP master's (M.A.) program if I decide to enroll?
A: Credits earned for courses offered by UEP are fully transferable, whether
completed as part of the Certificate program or otherwise. In certain cases,
transfer of credits for Tufts courses taken outside of UEP also may be
approved (e.g., a course offered by another graduate department at Tufts that
directly pertains to a student's core interest at UEP). But no more than two
such non-UEP courses will be approved for transfer to UEP. (Note that all
such courses must be offered by Tufts University.)
Q: Does a limit exist on the number of credits that may be
transferred to the full-time UEP master's program from a certificate
A: Yes. Students may transfer up to four full courses (four credits) to the
master's program from a Tufts University certificate program (see the
Graduate Student Handbook for full details).
Q. Can I transfer a course from another college or university
into the Certificate program?
A. Transfer of non-Tufts courses is not permitted.
Q: What about transferring Certificate credits to UEP's M.P.P.
program or to another Tufts graduate program?
A: The credits must be acceptable to that program. If a course for which
you're seeking credit transfer is not among those that the program requires,
contact the program to see whether the credits may be transferred. Given
that the M.P.P. program is only a year in duration and is aimed at mid-career
professionals, transfer of certain Certificate program credits may not be
Q: How do I initiate the credit transfer process?
A: As a current certificate student, you should include the courses you've
taken on your application to the program. The Department Chair will make the
final decision on the request and notify you. Additional information on course
credit transfer can be found in the
Graduate Student Handbook.
Q: Will the Certificate program grant credit for courses that I
took as an undergraduate at Tufts?
A: Credit may be given for an undergraduate course if (i) it directly pertains
to the Certificate program in which you plan to enroll; (ii) you did not need
to count it toward your undergraduate degree; and (iii)you earned at least a
B-minus in the course.
Q: Can I earn a Certificate as a Tufts undergraduate?
A: No. You must apply to and enroll in the Certificate program after graduating.
Q: If I enroll in the Certificate program, do I have to take at
least one course each semester?
A: No, but you are expected to
complete the entire Certificate program in four years, over eight semesters.
Q: My Certificate program requires that I complete a core course.
Do I have to take that course first?
A: No. But the order in which you take certain courses may be relevant to your
individual program and your learning experience. Thus, you may wish to discuss
this with your advisor.
Q: One of the courses that I need so that I can complete my Certificate
program has limited enrollment and is full. What should I do?
A: Although waiving an enrollment ceiling is up to the individual instructor,
this is frequently done, especially for compelling reasons. Explain the problem
to the instructor in question. If this does not resolve the issue, discuss it
with your advisor.
Q: Is it possible to complete the program in
less than a year?
A: Yes, if the courses that you need are offered. Finishing in one semester would
require you to take a full course load, something that could be overwhelming if,
for instance, you work. Attempting to take even two courses a semester on top of
a full-time job could be quite challenging.
Q: Can I take required courses pass/fail?
Q: Do summer courses qualify for Certificate credit?
A: Yes, if they meet other requirements.
Q: In general, what courses count toward my Certificate program?
A: Here are the basic criteria: (i) They must be Tufts courses (those offered
by other colleges and universities, including members of the consortium of which
Tufts is a member, are not eligible; (ii) They must meet the requirements of
your Certificate program (details are discussed elsewhere here); and (iii) You
must achieve a grade of B-minus or higher (audited courses cannot be counted).
Q: How do I determine whether I have the necessary background for one or
more of the courses I'm interested in taking?
A: You should talk it over with the instructor teaching the course. Pre-requisites,
if required, typically are identified in the course description. Most of the courses
for the Certificates discussed here are offered by UEP. Contact information for UEP
instructors is included with the course listing at
summer UEP courses also are listed at:
Courses for the Certificate in Program Evaluation (PGE) are offered by a range
of departments; please consult the relevant department's web page or contact the
department for a listing of instructors.
Q: How do I find required and elective courses for the CES, MCO and
PGE Certificate programs?
A: You will find links to summaries of all three programs at:
Envirnmental Studies. Note that, for the CES and MCO programs, all such courses
are offered by UEP. These courses are listed at:
with summer courses also are listed at:
Tufts Summer Session website.
Courses for the Certificate in Program Evaluation are offered by a range of
departments. Please consult the relevant department's web page or contact that department.
Q: Are any courses at UEP not open to Certificate students?
A: Yes. Foundations of Public Policy and Planning, Field Projects: Planning and Practice,
Reflections on Public Policy and Practice, the Integrative Seminar, and the Advanced
Seminars in Environmental Policy and Planning, and Urban and Social Policy and Planning
may be taken only by students enrolled in the two-year M.A. program or the one-year
M.P.P. program. A Certificate student may enroll in the Quantitative Reasoning, and
Economics and Public Policy core courses only with the permission of the instructor
and of the Certificate student's advisor.
Q: Can audited courses count toward the Certificate?
A: No, only courses taken for credit at Tufts count.
Q: May a Certificate student audit a course, even though it does not count
toward the Certificate?
A: Yes. The current tuition to audit is $800 per course during the academic year. For audit fees for
summer courses, please contact the Summer Session.
Q: How do I register for a specific course?
A: Generally, bring your registration form (mailed to you when you are admitted to
the program) to the first meeting of the course you want to take and ask the
instructor to sign it. For the next and subsequent semesters, a form will be sent
to you allowing you to pre-register. The
Summer Session handles
registration for summer courses.
Q: Once I've completed all my credits for the Certificate program,
what do I need to do?
A: You'll find a form on the Tufts Graduate Studies website. Please
form, fill it out and submit it to the Office of Graduate Studies, Ballou Hall
or, if you wish, to your advisor (see above), who will review and sign it, then
forward it to the Office of Graduate Studies. In a few weeks, the latter will mail
you a certificate of graduation.
Q: I'm an international applicant (that is, a non-U.S. citizen or
permanent resident who needs visa assistance from Tufts.) When is the application
A: International applicants must apply by September 15 to join the Certificate
program for the spring semester, and by March 15 for the fall semester. Requests
to start the program during the summer session will be reviewed on a case-by-case
Q: As an international applicant, can I seek a scholarship, fellowship
or other type of financial aid from Tufts?
A: Tufts does not award this type of assistance to international students who
are applying to or are already enrolled in the Certificate program.
Q: Are Certificate students eligible for financial aid?
A: Certificate students may be eligible for federal loan assistance. As a
Certificate student, you are considered a graduate student for the purposes
of the federal Stafford Loan Program and are eligible to borrow up to $20,500
per year, assuming that you are enrolled at least half time (two courses per
semester) and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must complete a
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), listing Tufts as a recipient.
You can apply at FAFSA's website,
provided that you have a PIN number from the
PIN website. Applicants
not able to file online must complete a FAFSA form, which you may obtain from
the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
Q: Am I eligible for a teaching assistantship (TA) or scholarship
aid as a Certificate student?
A: Tufts does not provide scholarships or offer TA positions to Certificate
students. However, course tuition for the CES, MCO and PGE Certificates is
lower than that for non-Certificate or non-degree courses (see
Handbook for current tuition rates).