MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

Our Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning is a professional degree, which prepares students for careers in a wide variety of planning and policy fields. A nationally accredited program, it is distinct from many other planning and policy programs by having a strong social justice focus.

UEP students learn to engage and confront the social and environmental challenges in today’s world of rapid urbanization. Students gain skills through academic coursework, applied projects, work experience, and individual research. The program is offered either full-time or enroll in the part-time track for working professionals, attending courses during the evenings and on weekends. The MA program usually takes two years of full-time study. 

Program Requirements and Policies

  • For the MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, a total of twelve or thirteen courses (36-39 credits) are required plus a thesis or capstone exam for a minimum of 42 credits. 
  • To receive credit for a course toward their MA, graduate students must attain a grade of B- or better.
  • In addition to our course offerings, MA students may select courses from other Tufts departments and schools, and Boston-area consortium universities. 

Course Requirements

  • Five required core courses covering theoretical foundations and professional skills:
    1. Foundations of Public Policy and Planning — A conceptual and critical overview of public policy and planning theory, process, and practice. Provides an introduction to basic elements of public policy formation and application involving a range of environmental, social policy, and planning issues. This includes methods for analyzing policy and planning decisions, strategies for developing alternatives, examination of the role of values and empirical knowledge in setting policy agendas, and implementation.
    2. Cities in Space, Place and Time — Introduces students to the history and theory of cities and metropolitan regions focusing specifically on the actions of planners and policy-makers and how these actions shape our communities, neighborhoods, cities, regions, and world. The focus will be on the US, but the course will include comparisons to other systems (e.g., UK, Western Europe, Latin America, and China). The course will examine the urban and metropolitan fabric through the lens of work, family, transport and communications, energy, environmental conditions, physical structure, economics and trade. Race, class, gender, immigration, and culture change will serve as cross-cutting themes throughout the readings, lectures, and discussions. Particular attention will be paid to institutional actors and their responses — governments, business leaders, and community leaders.
    3. Quantitative Reasoning — This course presents basic concepts of statistical analysis and research, and develops related skills that are indispensable to agency directors, policymakers, and advocates alike. Students learn to select among available data sources, measures and indicators, and statistical techniques in order to best answer questions of interest.
    4. Field Projects: Planning and Practice — Practical planning and research experience in a community or governmental setting. Students are exposed to the realities of urban and environmental planning practice by working in teams for actual clients. Focuses on the interplay of expertise, social and political values, and professional relationships.
    5. Economics for Policy and Planning Analysis — This course introduces economic concepts and tools of analysis relevant to public policy and planning. Microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches to understanding economic behavior and to generating solutions to economic problems are explored. Applications include policies related to the environment, housing, individual and family income, and community development.
  • Seven to eight elective courses or modules (20-24 credits) approved by student's advisor;
  • An internship in public policy or planning; and
  • A master's thesis or capstone exam (may count for 3 or 6 credits).

Quantitative Prerequisite

UEP students are required to show evidence of basic algebra and graphing skills prior to registering for the department's quantitative courses (UEP 251 and UEP 254). This prerequisite must be fulfilled in one of the following three ways:

  1. Score 153 or above on the quantitative section of the GRE within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program
  2. Pass a college algebra or equivalent course (with a B- or higher) within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program
  3. Pass a UEP math screening exam with a score of 80% or above (this exam must be taken in person at UEP).

Students must fulfill the prerequisite before matriculation or have an approved plan submitted to the academic advisor and department chair to complete the prerequisite by the end of the first semester. Please contact UEP if you have questions.