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Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

Student Life

UEP students eating on campus

Student Life at UEP

The UEP community is tight-knit. Although students' interests range across the board, you can always find "UEPeople" working alongside each other in the Data Lab or Brown House study rooms. When students aren't busy working, you can find them putting in hours as research assistants, attending lectures around the Tufts campuses, playing on the UEP summer softball league, or taking a break for our regular happy hours. The department comes together several times a semester for our Colloquium series, which brings in speakers and practitioners to present on topics ranging from democratizing money and land distribution to shrinking cities to chemical regulations.

While the majority of students live in Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge, several students commute to campus from across the Charles River and a few even drive in from New Hampshire. Campus is a short walk or shuttle ride from Davis Square, a lively neighborhood in Somerville with plenty of restaurants and stores, as well as access to the Red Line of the Boston subway system. Several bus routes serve the campus area too, but many UEP students choose to bike to campus. Parking is more limited, but metered spots are available on many neighboring streets and campus garages offer a student parking pass for purchase.

Our Students

Each year, between 45 and 55 students begin their studies in one of our four master's programs. Whether M.A., M.S., or M.P.P., most students come to Tufts seeking to deepen their theoretical understanding and strengthen their practical skills. Students come from all across the United States and increasingly, from different regions around the world.

Although we admit a few applicants to the M.A. and M.S. programs directly out of college, students most often have had several years of relevant work experience, either during or — more often — subsequent to college. The average age of recent entering classes has been 26, but typically ranges from 22 to 50. The M.P.P., on the other hand, is designed for individuals with at least seven years of significant, relevant professional experience.

We strive for a class that represents diversity in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background. Students' undergraduate studies range from anthropology to zoology and all points between. They have worked in public agencies and nonprofit organizations and as teachers, journalists, Peace Corps volunteers, and research assistants. Their experience includes a broad range of public advocacy, political, and health and human service activities. Our students bring a diverse set of experiences and skills to the program and serve as a rich resource of knowledge for one another.

Our Faculty

UEP is a community of scholars and practice — our faculty are public-spirited individuals committed to engaged processes and just outcomes for cities and communities. Truly multidisciplinary, our training spans the fields of economics, environmental science and engineering, geography, law, philosophy, planning, political science, social policy, and urban design. Our diverse faculty are active in research and professional engagement and many are leading scholars in their respective areas of expertise: just sustainability, environmental health and ethics, shrinking cities, housing and community development, child and family policy, international planning and urban policy, and Chinese urbanization, to name just a few.

Through faculty research and teaching, UEP has cultivated long-standing relationships with government agencies, community development corporations, advocacy organizations, grassroots neighborhood groups, and human service agencies, especially in Massachusetts and the greater Boston area. Frequently, we host visiting practitioners who are engaged in a deeper collaboration with UEP for a specific period of time. None of these relationships, of course, would be possible without our dedicated staff.