Master of Urban Affairs (MUA)

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2017–2018 academic year.

The Master of Urban Affairs (MUA) program is designed for students seeking a broad background in urban public policy, community development and service delivery, and the administration of public and private agencies in urban settings. The urban policy professional is prepared to assume a variety of responsibilities, including assembling and analyzing information for policy making, identifying community needs and resources, and administering effective service delivery programs. These tasks are common to public, private, and voluntary organizations in a wide variety of urban functions, such as housing, health services, economic development, transportation, and environment control.

The course of study emphasizes analytical skills and a deep understanding of urban issues. It is flexible and well adapted to students who (1) seek career entry or advancement in urban public agencies, private service organizations, or community programs; (2) desire advanced background in urban affairs for personal, community, or political activity; or (3) are in a related field such as real estate, law, finance, architecture, urban design, or social services. Many students obtain the MUA degree in preparation for further study.

The program accommodates students on both a part- and a full-time basis. The 36 credits required may be earned in one year of full-time study and must be earned within a maximum of five years.

For more information about the City Planning and Urban Affairs programs at Boston University, including faculty bios, student resources, events, and more, please visit the program website.


Candidates for admission to the degree program are selected on the basis of academic transcripts, academic and personal references, and interviews or statements of intent. The statement of intent should clearly outline the applicant’s interest and aspirations in the field. Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) lower than 3.0 are encouraged to submit additional information to demonstrate their capacity to succeed in graduate school.

International students are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test (iBT). A minimum score of 100 is generally required for admission, though the minimum score maybe lower for some admission cycles, depending on the average score of the applicant pool. Suggested scores in each section are as follows: Reading—25; Listening—25; Speaking—25; and Writing—25. International applicants are also urged to submit their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, although these are not formally required.

There are no fixed application deadlines. The program allows for students to submit applications on a rolling basis, although all students are encouraged to submit a complete application no less than one month prior to the start of the semester in which they desire to commence studies. Admission decisions are announced promptly, pending receipt of all application materials.

The Application for Graduate Admission can be found on the Metropolitan College website at

Degree Requirements

A total of nine courses (36 credits) are required, distributed as follows:

Urban Affairs Core Requirements (six courses/24 credits)

  • MET UA 515 History, Theory, and Urban Planning Practice
  • MET UA 701 Urban Problems and Policy Process
  • MET UA 702 Urban Analytical Methods
  • MET UA 703 Urban Research Methods
  • MET UA 704 Urban Economic Issues and Analysis
  • MET UA 805 Boston Urban Symposium

Electives (three courses/12 credits)

Elective courses are selected with the advice of the department coordinator or faculty advisor. See course descriptions for more information. Electives should constitute a coherent concentration within the general curriculum.

Sample of Urban Affairs Elective Courses

  • MET UA 503 Housing and Community Development
  • MET UA 505 Urban Management
  • MET UA 508 Real Estate Development
  • MET UA 510 Special Topics*
  • MET UA 580 Boston Experience: The Role of Architecture in Creating a Sense of Place
  • MET UA 610 Urban Environmental Issues
  • MET UA 613 Urban Design
  • MET UA 617 Actionable Sustainability
  • MET UA 629 Urbanization and the Environment
  • MET UA 654 Geographic Information Systems for Planners
  • MET UA 664 Planning and Development Process
  • MET UA 715 Planning and Land-Use Law
  • MET UA 801 Graduate Directed Study in Urban Affairs and Planning
  • MET UA 804 Supervised Fieldwork

*Sample of Special Topics Courses

  • Transit-Oriented Development in the 21st Century
  • Urban Land-Use Policy and Planning
  • Affordable Housing Financing
  • History of Metropolitan Boston

Course Waivers for Related Programs

The six core requirements for the Master of Urban Affairs and Master of City Planning programs are identical. Therefore, Urban Affairs graduate students may opt to transfer their credits to obtain a Master of City Planning degree instead. In such cases, MCP candidates may receive a full waiver for all six core courses, provided they received a grade of C (2.0 or higher).

Master of Urban Affairs students may pursue a certificate program in Commercial Real Estate and Real Estate Finance at Boston University’s Center for Professional Education (CPE). MUA students who earn a CPE certificate in Commercial Real Estate or Real Estate Finance will be granted a waiver of three graduate-level elective courses (12 credits) toward their degree.

Students may also pursue the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability as part of their degree. The Applied Sustainability certificate consists of four courses distributed across three Metropolitan College departments: Applied Social Sciences (Urban Affairs and City Planning), Administrative Sciences, and Computer Science. Students who earn the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability will be granted a waiver of four courses (12 credits) toward their MUA graduate degrees. In addition, with the corresponding department approval, students pursuing or planning to pursue master’s degrees in Computer Science or Administrative Studies may apply certificate credits toward their degree.

City Planning and Urban Affairs students who are interested in the sub-field of Preservation Studies (historic preservation) may take elective courses offered in the Preservation Studies graduate program at Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. With prior approval of the Program Coordinator, these elective courses may be applied toward the MCP or MUA graduate degrees. For more information, please contact the Preservation Studies program at or 617-353-2948.

Additional Information

Credits for graduate courses in an urban discipline that meet the program criteria and received a grade of C (2.0) or higher may be transferred from another accredited institution for credit toward the MUA degree after completion of two graduate-level courses in the program. No credit is allowed for courses used to fulfill another degree. Prior approval of the program coordinator is required.

A maximum of two City Planning and Urban Affairs courses (up to 8 credits) taken at Metropolitan College before acceptance into the degree program may be applied toward the degree. The courses must be of graduate level, with a grade of C (2.0) or higher.

Up to three courses (12 credits), with a grade of C (2.0) or higher, taken outside the Urban Affairs program may be applied as electives to the degree. Prior approval of the program coordinator is required if students wish to take more than three courses outside the department to fulfill their MCP or MUA elective requirements, and will be considered only under special circumstances.

An average grade of B (3.0) must be maintained during the course of the study to remain in good academic standing and satisfy the degree requirements. Students who earn a grade lower than C in a core requirement must retake that class and earn a grade of C or higher for it to count toward their degree.