Master of Urban Affairs

The Master of Urban Affairs (MUA) degree 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. Graduates are prepared for careers in which they assemble and analyze information for policy-making, identify community needs and resources, and administer 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. Many students obtain the Master of Urban Affairs degree in preparation for further study.

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 who complete the master’s degree in Urban Affairs will be able to demonstrate:

  • Mastery of knowledge in the history and theory of urban and regional development, the structure and functions of cities and urban systems, and local and national policy-making processes.
  • Proficiency in quantitative and qualitative research skills and their application to theory-building, data-gathering and analysis, and policy-making processes.
  • Proficiency of communication skills for public (community) and policy settings.
  • Awareness of the political, social, and ethical issues inherent in policy work and the planning practice, as related to minority or disadvantaged urban communities.

For more information visit the City Planning & Urban Affairs website.

Admission Information

Candidates for admission to the degree program are selected on the basis of academic transcripts, academic and personal references, and statements of intent. The statement of intent should clearly outline the applicant’s interest and aspirations in the field.

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 in each section 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 completed applications 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.


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.

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 electives to the degree, with prior approval of the department coordinator.

Academic Standing

No grade lower than B– may be used toward degree requirements. Students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 in order to be in good academic standing and to graduate. Students with a grade point average of less than 3.0 are on academic probation and must be in a position to achieve a 3.0 within the 48 required credit hours for graduation. Students who earn a grade of C+ or lower in a Core Requirement must retake that course and earn a grade of B– or higher in order for it to count towards the degree.

Degree Requirements

A total of 36 credits is required, distributed as follows:

Core Requirements

(Six courses/24 credits)

MET UA 515 History and Theory of Urban Planning
Fall ‘14

History, concepts, and methods of contemporary urban and regional planning practice. Governmental, nonprofit, and private settings of professional planning; plans, research, and policy development; uses and implementation of planning. Political analysis of planning issues, such as comprehensiveness, public interest, advocacy, negotiation, and future orientation. Case materials drawn from redevelopment, growth management, land use conflicts, and service delivery.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Dutta-Koehle CAS 226 M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 701 Urban Problems and Policy Responses

Major problems confronting urban areas and the process of policy formulation and implementation. Emphasis on problem interdependence and systems characteristics. Analysis of problem definitions (housing, crime, poverty, etc.), goals, public/private responsibilities, existing programs, and policy options. Analysis of selected, comparative international experience.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 702 Urban Analytical Methods

Use and analysis of quantitative data in public policy development and planning. Basic skills of organization and presentation of numerical information. Introduction to descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression; computer use. Math review.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 703 Urban Research Methods
Fall ‘14

Examines research techniques useful for urban policy research. Emphasis on survey research techniques, including sampling, survey organization, questionnaire development, and interviewing. Participant observation techniques. Field data collection and analysis.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Cadigan CAS 225 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 704 Urban Economic Issues and Analysis
Fall ‘14

Basic economic concepts and techniques of analysis necessary for urban public policy development. Analysis of the economic bases of selected current urban problems and evaluation of several policy solutions to common urban problems.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Zizzi GCB 203 R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
MET UA 805 The Boston Urban Symposium

The Boston based Urban Symposium will be a thematic Spring symposium, required for students in the Urban Affairs and City Planning programs. The class meetings will weave together the interdisciplinary nature of the urban planning and city planning professions. While the symposium topics will change each spring, professionals and industry leaders will be invited to lecture on their experiences, contemporary challenges to the professions, and major problems confronting the public and private sectors. Recognizing the unique and diverse characteristics of the Boston urban environment, the symposium themes will be drawn from topical issues that involve the greater Boston metropolitan area. The course features a combination of guest speakers and academic case studies that emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of urban planning.   [ 4 cr. ]


A total of three courses (12 credits) is required.

Electives should constitute a coherent concentration within the general curriculum. With advice from the Graduate Advisor, students are encouraged to construct individual concentrations.

Sample Urban Affairs Elective Courses

MET UA 505 Urban Management

Examination of selected cases in municipal and public management. Organization, financial management, personnel relations, program planning and budgeting, and issues of public and private sector relations. The administration of municipal functions, including health, police, schools, and housing.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 508 Real Estate Development

Various factors affecting location, construction, financing, and marketing of real estate in metropolitan areas. Studies the relationship of public policy to the activities of the private sector, market analysis techniques, evaluation of development projects, and problems of real estate investment.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 521 Environmental Law

Principles and status of environmental law for pollution control and environmental improvement. Impact statements, resource conservation and protection, growth management. Emphasis on air, water, land, and hazardous waste issues. Environmental, economic, and other policy relationships. Case materials and court decisions.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 590 International Comparative Urbanization and Planning

Examination of a selected country, region, or city in relation to issues of urbanization and development planning. Emphasis on comparative analysis of policy, techniques, conditions, issues, and effectiveness. Topics and international subjects vary. Consult the department for details.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 604 Urban Political Decision-Making: Citizen Participation in the Planning Process

Case studies of political decision-making roles in urban conflict management and resource allocation. Community power distribution, factors influencing change, leadership styles, and relationships to administrators and planners. Selected policy issues, such as redevelopment, education, crime, and service delivery.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 611 Community Development

Examination of community development challenges in several areas, including housing, economic development, community policing, and resident activism. Analysis of past and present strategies for strengthening communities through case studies, actual government and community programs, guest lectures, and related readings.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 620 Urban and Regional Land Use Policy and Planning

Techniques of land use planning, including socioeconomic studies, market analysis and needs forecasting, mapping, environment and service impacts, and transportation/land use coordination. Policies for achieving land use objectives: planned unit development, zoning, development corporations, new towns, and land preservation.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 623 Regional and Metropolitan Development Planning

Analysis of regional planning as applied to land use, economic development, infrastructure systems, and other topics. Cases and class projects selected from metropolitan and substate regions, including regional approaches and organizations, economic base, comparative advantage, and growth centers.   [ 4 cr. ]

MET UA 801 Graduate Directed Study in Urban Affairs and Planning
Fall ‘14

Limited to a maximum of 8 credits toward the degree requirements. Approval by program director required prior to registration. Study of urban and public affairs and planning individually arranged between student and instructor to provide training opportunities not available elsewhere.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 DRS Staff ARR
MET UA 804 Supervised Fieldwork
Fall ‘14

Limited to a maximum of four credits toward the degree requirements. Approval by program director required prior to registration. Students spend a minimum of 12 hours working with public agencies, community groups, or private organizations. Seminar participation.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 DRS Staff ARR

The 36 credits required for the degree may be earned in one year of full-time study and must be earned within a maximum of five years. Students entering the program without prior or current experience in their field of study are encouraged to participate in selected fieldwork internships provided through the program.

View all City Planning & Urban Affairs graduate courses.