Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Programs Offered: M.A.,
The Master of Arts (M.A.) in urban and environmental policy and planning is a
two-year program which prepares public spirited individuals for rewarding
careers in government, nonprofit organizations, citizen advocacy groups, and the
The program, which consists of twelve credits plus a thesis, focuses on the
opportunities and critical challenges inherent in planning and policymaking for
more just and sustainable communities. Students take required courses in
foundations of public policy and planning; economics for planning and policy
analysis; field projects: planning and practice; cities in space, place, and
time; and quantitative reasoning for policy and planning. In addition to the
core requirements, students take a minimum of seven elective courses that
provide a strong grounding in basic methods and approaches to public policy and
planning. Students choose electives that match their interests, in consultation
with an academic adviser.
Students in the M.A. program are also required to complete an internship of at
least 150 hours. Typically fulfilled between the two academic years, internships
are often based in a public or nonprofit agency and students are usually
compensated. Alternatively, students may pursue a research internship in which
they work on a university- or research institution-based project. Although
faculty members provide assistance and advice, students are expected to secure
their own placements.
The department's thesis requirement provides students with an opportunity to
carry out an independent investigation on a topic of the student's choosing.
Theses may be technical studies, policy analyses, theoretical papers, research
studies, or planning documents.
The Master of Public Policy (M.P.P) is a one-year program for those who are
interested in expanding their policy and planning capabilities.
The program, which consists of nine credits and can be completed full or part
time, provides students with the opportunity to strengthen their critical
thinking, policy analysis, and communication skills; improve their professional
practice in areas such as mediation, land use planning, or financial management;
and establish close professional relationships and networks among faculty,
affiliated agencies, and other graduate students.
The program's curriculum consists of core courses, public policy courses, and
professional practice electives.
A required core curriculum enables students to reflect on their professional
practice and examine dominant theories and themes in the public policy
literature. The core courses focus on reflections on public policy practice,
economics for planning and policy analysis, and quantitative reasoning for
policy and planning. In consultation with their academic advisers, students
choose their public policy courses. These offerings focus on urban, social,
and/or environmental policy issues and include courses in race, class, and
public policy in the United States; community planning and development;
environmental law; and developing sustainable communities.
Students also have opportunities to enroll in courses that enhance their
professional practice skills. Courses cover areas such as leadership and
organizational development, financial analysis and management, program
evaluation, and geographic information systems. Up to two courses may be
selected from course offerings in other Tufts departments or schools and, in
addition, one course may be taken during the second semester at a consortium
school as long as the class relates to public policy and is approved by the
student's adviser. Transfer credits are not accepted.
The dual-degree M.A./J.D. program is for students interested in the connections
between law and urban and environmental policy and planning. Students receive a
Master of Arts and a Juris Doctor (M.A./J.D.).
Law and planning are inexorably linked as recognized by the Graduate School of
Arts and Sciences and Boston College through the creation of this dual-degree
program. Planning (including policy analysis) guides future development
patterns; the law frames the mechanisms and limits of governments' control over
this process. Planning and law immerse students in broad debates and critical
thinking about the environment, human settlements, social and environmental
justice, corporate responsibility, and land use. All of these issues are guided
by constitutional, equitable, and pragmatic principles.
The M.A./J.D. is a collaboration of the Tufts University Department of Urban and
Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) and the Boston College Law School. No
other graduate program in New England offers this unique combination of
Students apply to both schools independently and during their first year take
courses exclusively through UEP or the law school. Students split their courses
between the two in subsequent years. Offerings through UEP include land use
planning, environmental justice, urban planning and design, community economic
development, and water resources policy. Relevant law school courses include
environmental law, real estate finance, housing policy and law, state and local
government, and energy law.
With the M.A./J.D. coordinator and academic advisers from both UEP and the law
school, students plan a course of study that balances background and interests
with program requirements. In addition, the advisers collaborate under the
auspices of an advisory committee to ensure that students receive accurate,
timely information about how to proceed through the program.
Students may transfer credits toward each degree so as to concentrate their
studies and complete the program in four years (five years is typical of
students pursuing each degree separately). For a list of Boston College Law
School faculty, click
UEP and the Boston College Carroll School of Management are now offering
Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration dual-degree.
A three-year combined
master's degree program with the Tufts Fletcher School focuses
on international environmental policy. Another combined
master's program is available with Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition Science
There is also a five-semester combined
master's degree program with the Department of Civil and Environmental
the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning provide students
with the management, community development, evaluation, and/or environmental
skills necessary either to enhance their existing careers or to move into new
Each certificate consists of four courses; earned credits may be transferred
into the department's Master of Arts or Master of Public Policy programs if a
student wishes to continue his/her graduate studies.
The certificate in community environmental studies provides professional
training for careers in evolving environmental fields. Students can take courses
in areas such as planning, policy, economics, sustainable development,
engineering, and science. These courses are complemented by classes in
negotiation, law, and nonprofit management. The program is ideal for midcareer
professionals seeking to apply their skills to environmental work; business
professionals working with communities on environmental issues; and individuals
seeking increased environmental expertise as part of their work for nonprofits,
public agencies, or other organizations.
The management of community organizations certificate is for students seeking
professional management training within the framework of the social, economic,
and political values that shape the nonprofit sector. Courses are offered in
financial analysis and management; nonprofits, states, and markets; social
policy for children and families; and urban planning and design.
Offered in collaboration with the Tufts Eliot-Pearson Department of Child
Development in the School of Arts and Sciences; the Gerald J. and Dorothy R.
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; and the School of Medicine, the
certificate in program evaluation is designed for midcareer professionals who
wish to learn about the design and implementation of effective evaluation
strategies. Students develop practical skills that can be put to use in
evaluating a range of social service, public health, community development, and
environmental programs. Along with taking courses in program evaluation, applied
statistics and data analysis, and research methods, students are required to
complete a practicum in which they design an evaluation and put into practice
their data collection and analysis skills.
Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning: Faculty
Julian Agyeman, Chair
Ph.D., University of London
Sustainable communities, environmental justice, intercultural planning
Rachel G. Bratt
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Housing and community development
Mary E. Davis
Ph.D., University of Florida
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Social welfare and housing policy, policy implementation, public and
Ph.D., Rutgers University
Urban planning and policy development
Ed.D., Harvard University
Child and family policy, program evaluation
Ph.D., Columbia University
Urban and neighborhood politics, social welfare, community development
Ph.D., Boston University
Environmental policy and environmental ethics
Penn S. Loh
M.S., University of California, Berkeley
Barbara M. Parmenter
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Geographic information systems
Ph.D., Tufts University
Environmental science and management
J.D., Harvard University
J.D., Suffolk University Law School; M.R.P., Cornell University
Land use planning
Ph.D., Rutgers University
Comparative urban development, urban economic policy, China