Master of Urban Affairs (MUA)

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.

Students may also pursue the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability as part of their urban affairs 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. Each course will count toward both the MUA degree and the graduate certificate requirements.


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.

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 required, with scores of 25 in each section: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. 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 and Theory of Urban Planning
  • 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 Urban Affairs Elective Courses

  • MET UA 505 Urban Management
  • MET UA 508 Real Estate Development
  • MET UA 521 Environmental Law
  • MET UA 550 Bike Advocacy Planning
  • MET UA 560 City in the Media
  • MET UA 590 International Comparative Urbanization and Planning
  • MET UA 604 Urban Political Decision Making: Citizen Participation in the Planning Process
  • MET UA 611 Community Development
  • MET UA 620 Urban and Regional Land Use Policy and Planning
  • MET UA 623 Regional and Metropolitan Development Planning
  • MET UA 654 Geographic Information Systems for Planners
  • MET UA 655 Connected City
  • MET UA 657 Housing From an International Perspective
  • MET UA 662 Nonprofits and Land Use Development
  • MET UA 664 Planning and Development Process
  • MET UA 668 Post-Disaster Planning
  • MET UA 672 Regionalism
  • MET UA 675 Urban Sustainability
  • MET UA 715 Planning Law
  • MET UA 801 Graduate Directed Studies in Urban Affairs/City Planning: Internship for Credit
  • MET UA 804 Supervised Fieldwork

Additional Information

A maximum of one graduate course (4 credits) in an urban discipline may be transferred from another accredited institution for credit toward the degree. No credit is allowed for courses used to fulfill another degree. A maximum of two urban affairs or city planning courses (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 B– (2.7) or higher.

No more than two courses (up to 8 credits) taken at Boston University outside the Urban Affairs program may be applied as elective courses toward the degree, with prior approval of the department coordinator.

The minimum passing grade for a course in the graduate program is B– (2.7), but a grade average of B (3.0) must be maintained to satisfy the degree requirements. Students who earn a grade of C+ or lower in a core requirement course must retake that class and earn a grade of B– or higher in order for it to count towards the degree.

Preservation Studies

Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Preservation Studies (historic preservation). Master of City Planning and Master of Urban Affairs students interested in this subfield of city planning and urban affairs are encouraged to take courses from the Preservation Studies graduate program. These courses can count as electives toward the city planning or urban affairs master’s degrees. To learn more about the Master of Arts in Preservation Studies, contact the Preservation Studies program at or 617-353-2948.