Chair's Message

Whether we look at the global, national or local scale, the magnitude and intensity of our intersecting policy and planning crises becomes clearer every day. From racism and segregation to Indigenous and immigrant rights; from threats to public health to threats to public space; from extreme floods to intense fires; from housing affordability and homelessness to gentrification, and from food waste to food security and food justice.

These, and many other policy and planning issues cannot be thought of, as they were in the past, as separate issues, demanding discrete, technical policy solutions. They represent our systemic failure to develop holistic, inclusive governance systems, to recognize the value of both big data, and community story and narrative, and to develop and center proven universal human values such as equity, empathy, dignity and trust. These failures bolster a system that prioritizes profit over people and planet. The big question is, can we resolve these fundamental issues by reformative policy change, or do we need a reset, a transformative paradigm shift?

The Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) has been pondering these questions since it was founded in 1973, fifty years ago this year. We recognize the deeply embedded nature of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, culture and other forms of difference in all aspects of public policy and planning. Then and now, UEP is firmly anchored to our core values which center the inextricably interlinked goals of social justice and environmental sustainability. As a community of free-thinkers, innovators, academics, practitioners, problem solvers and change agents, we are committed to educating the next generation of leaders — 'practical visionaries' — who will contribute to the development of more just, inclusive and sustainable communities across the globe.

Our core courses provide a cutting-edge education in critical planning and policy skills, and a broad set of electives that allow students, in consultation with their advisor, to customize their chosen program to their particular interests. In addition to our in-house MA, MS, and MPP degree programs and certificates, we offer a wide range of joint and dual degrees for students interested in gaining additional content expertise and skills in fields such as law, business, public health, economics, diplomacy, and nutrition. Students not pursuing a joint or dual degree can still develop cross-disciplinary training by taking electives in other departments and schools across Tufts campuses.

Our uniqueness among planning and policy schools is based around a group of flexible degree and certificate programs explicitly designed to help you incorporate intersectional social justice and sustainability goals into whatever career path you choose. Our alumni find themselves in critical roles in government, nonprofit organizations, citizen advocacy groups, international NGOs, and the private sector, both in the U.S. and across the world. Look at our website to learn more about our degree and certificate programs, our highly regarded faculty, and our outstanding students and alumni.

Are you ready to become a practical visionary?