Tufts University
Our accredited Master of Arts degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning requires completion of 12 or 13 course credits (most semester-long courses receive one credit), a thesis or capstone exam, and an internship. The M.A. program usually takes two-years of full-time study. Students may also enroll in the program on a part-time basis. Our M.A. degree is awarded through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

M.A. Degree Curriculum
  1. Five required core courses covering theoretical foundations and professional skills.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

  2. Seven additional elective courses in theoretical foundations, policy and planning fields, and professional skills.

  3. An internship relevant to public policy or planning.

  4. A master's thesis or capstone exam.

Quantitative Prerequisite:

Students admitted to UEP (both the M.A. and M.P.P.) 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) in their first year. A score of 146 or above on the quantitative section of the revised GRE test (as of August 2011), or 550 or above on the quantitative section of the former GRE test, is sufficient to satisfy this requirement. Those students who scored below 146 (or 550), or did not take the GRE, are required to have completed a college algebra or equivalent course within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program.


In addition to our course offerings, M.A. students may select courses from other Tufts departments and schools, and Boston-area consortium universities. To receive credit for a course toward their M.A., graduate students must attain a grade of B- or better.

Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning · Tufts University · 97 Talbot Avenue · Medford, MA. 02155 USA · Phone (617) 627-3394