The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Urban Affairs degree program at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) provides a valuable foundation in the liberal arts with focused study in policy, housing and community development, environmental management, health and human services, and administration. Public health considerations related to climate change—from drought to flooding—and recurring global pandemics such as COVID-19 have widespread implications for the future of cities and their neighborhoods. Preparing to meet these challenges requires knowledge and understanding of issues and policy areas such as environmental sustainability, land use and urban footprints, housing and community development, transportation planning, and energy and climate best practices.
Steeped in the fields of urban public policy, community development and service delivery, and the administration of public and private agencies in urban settings, BU MET’s part-time bachelor’s in Urban Affairs program develops awareness of the political, social, and ethical issues inherent in policy work directed towards urban communities.
Program at a Glance
- On Campus
- Part-Time Study
- 128 Credits
- 24—36 Months to Completion
A Foundation for Success in Urban Affairs
Metropolitan College’s Bachelor’s in Urban Affairs will equip you with:
- Knowledge of urban systems, the history of urbanization, and the policy-making process in the United States.
- Awareness of the political, social, and ethical issues inherent in policy work focused on minority or disadvantaged urban communities.
- Competence in written and oral communication.
Why Complete Your Urban Affairs Bachelor’s at BU?
- Engaged Faculty: In BU MET’s urban affairs bachelor’s program, an exceptional student-to-instructor ratio ensures close interaction with highly qualified faculty who draw from active research and extensive field experience in executive and managerial roles in city and regional planning, corporate management, economic development, environmental protection, and nonprofit and public management.
- Extensive Network: Study complex issues alongside peers with solid urban management and policymaking experience, learn from faculty who have valuable contacts in the field, and benefit from an alumni community with strong professional connections.
- Student Support: Benefit from access to personalized professional academic advice from the team of academic counselors in MET Enrollment & Student Success.
- Valuable Resources: Make use of Boston University’s extensive resources, including the Center for Career Development, Educational Resource Center, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, Center for Antiracist Research, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, George Sherman Union, and many others.
- Track Record: Learn from the best—BU MET has been offering the Master of Urban Affairs since 1969. The Master of City Planning was introduced in 1978.
- Flexible Options: Study at the pace that works for you, with multiple on-campus class times that include evenings, and courses that begin fall, spring, and summer.
- Affordability: Students taking 12 credits or fewer enjoy substantial savings compared to full-time study.
- Financial Assistance: Undergraduate students at BU MET are eligible for a range of financial aid and community-minded scholarship opportunities designed to support those investing in their education part-time who still need to navigate full-time responsibilities.
Flexible, Part-Time Degree Completion—at Boston University
The BS in Urban Affairs at Boston University’s Metropolitan College is a self-paced bachelor’s degree completion program offered in a convenient, part-time evening format—ideal for busy professionals who seek to earn a Boston University degree without turning their personal lives upside down or putting their careers on hold. Along with self-paced programs in a variety of majors, MET also offers the structured, two-year Accelerated Degree Completion Program—leading to bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science or Management Studies—and an online Undergraduate Degree Completion Program.
A variety of undergraduate certificate programs provide the opportunity for focused study in a specific subject. Certificates can work into select degree programs at MET, offer breadth to current studies, or build professional skills and knowledge.
The Urban Affairs bachelor’s degree can serve as a foundational building block to further specialization through City Planning & Urban Affairs (CPUA) programs at MET. By becoming familiar with course materials and CPUA faculty, you’ll have an inside track on future study in the field. MET offers two graduate certificates that confer additional expertise in the world of urban planning and policy.
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability
The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability is a unique interdisciplinary look at what it takes to make urban and economic development compatible with the natural environment.
- Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning
The Urban Policy & Planning Graduate Certificate at Metropolitan College provides an opportunity to explore urban issues, including housing and community development, public health, economic and infrastructural management, and environmental sustainability.
These can be earned as standalone certificates, or be combined with the Master of Urban Affairs or Master of City Planning degree programs. Credits for urban affairs (UA) courses completed may be applied to either degree, but not to other certificate programs. To be eligible for the degree, you must apply for admission and be accepted into the degree program. Consult with an admissions advisor to learn more about options.
City Planning & Urban Affairs in Action
Keep up with news about BU MET’s City Planning & Urban Affairs students and graduates, and learn what steps they are already taking to help guide organizations and municipalities to a better future. Learn More.
Bachelor’s in Urban Affairs Curriculum
Candidates for the bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan College are required to complete a minimum of 32 courses (128 credits), including Hub requirements, major requirements, related courses, and electives.
All BU undergraduate students, including transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Urban Affairs and taking MET SO 300 will satisfy BU Hub requirements in Social Inquiry II, Critical Thinking, and Research and Information Literacy.
Major and Related Courses
A total of 12 courses (48 credits), completed with a grade of C or higher, is required.
The following four courses (16 credits) are required:
MET SO 201 Sociological Methods
Scientific method, measurement, experimentation, survey research, observational methods, projective techniques, and content analysis used in social science research. [ 4 cr. ]
MET UA 301 Introduction to Urban Affairs
This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to urban affairs and urban problems, including an overview of prominent theories about the nature and causes of urban problems. We will examine the metropolitan area as a complex system with interdependent institutions and problems and consider present as well as future urban policy options in areas such as housing, transportation, crime, education, environment and economic development. [ 4 cr. ]
MET UA 503 Housing and Community Development
Surveys the factors affecting supply and price of urban housing. Examines federal, state, and municipal programs, as well as future policy options, from the standpoint of housing quality and community development goals. Analysis of selected international comparative experience. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||CAS 326||R||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET UA 509 Public Finance and Urban Infrastructure
Economic, social, and political aspects of state and local government finances. Theory of public finance; revenues, expenditures, and survey of budgetary processes. Planning techniques in capital budgeting and other finance activities. Selected issues: debt, user fees, property taxes, and incentives. [ 4 cr. ]
Choose six courses (24 credits) from offerings of the Urban Affairs Program in the Department of Applied Social Sciences. Courses are selected with the approval of the urban affairs faculty advisor and must form a coherent policy concentration in areas such as housing and community development, environmental management, health and human services, or public policy analysis and administration.
Please check with your Academic Counselor in Enrollment & Student Success for an approved listing of urban affairs electives and related courses.
Choose two courses (8 credits) from disciplines other than urban affairs (choose from the following or substitute courses approved by the department coordinator):
MET CJ 251 Police and Society
This course provides a foundation for understanding the implications of policing in the United States. The course examines the historical development of policing in the U.S., the role of police in our society, police organizations and decision-making, policing strategies, as well as issues of authority and accountability. Throughout the course, several contemporary issues and controversies facing the police will be discussed including: police discrimination, police use of force practices, and other special topics. [ 4 cr. ]
MET HI 373 History of Boston
The foundations, development, and "fate" of Boston since the colonial period. Explores the architecture, geography, social structure, and economic development of the city, as well as political changes. [ 4 cr. ]
MET MG 410 Entrepreneurial Management: Starting, Innovating, and Managing Small-, Medium-, and Large-Sized Ventures
Covers the four key elements of successful entrepreneurial management: choosing a business, organizing, financing, and marketing. Includes preparing a business plan, becoming an entrepreneur, raising venture capital, selling, negotiating, and building an effective organization. Topics given special consideration are the practice of innovation, the art of leadership, and how to relate talents to succeeding in an innovative managed venture and technology management. [ 4 cr. ]Sum1 2022
|SEX||IND||Park||MET 122||S||9:00 am – 4:00 pm|
|A1||IND||Bonyhay||KCB 104||W||2:30 pm – 5:15 pm|
MET MG 415 Project Management
An examination of project management concepts, including organizational forms, planning and control techniques, and the role of the project manager. Develops the skills vital to effective management of multidisciplinary tasks through lectures, case studies, and business simulations. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub area: Teamwork/Collaboration. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Campbell||CAS 203||M||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET SO 203 Sociological Theories
An introduction to the major theoretical perspectives used in sociological inquiry and how they apply to contemporary social life. Special emphasis on nineteenth-century European theorists such as Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.
This course may not be taken in conjunction with METSO300. Only one of these courses can be counted towards degree requirements. [ 4 cr. ]
MET SO 300 Applied Social Science Theory
Applied Social Science Theory introduces students to major authors and seminal works that continue to inform theory and research in social sciences. The focus is on reading primary source materials to examine not only the major conclusions of these authors, but the arguments they use to justify those conclusions. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Critical Thinking, Research and Information Literacy.
This course may not be taken in conjunction with METSO203 or MET CJ300. Only one of these courses can be counted towards degree requirements. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Cadigan||SOC B63||W||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET SO 344 Drugs and Society
Introduction to the sociology of a wide range of legal and illicit drugs. Examines social definitions of drugs and conditions of their use. Considers deviant drug use and effects of social control on definitions and use. [ 4 cr. ]
MET UA 403 Boston Urban Seminar
An opportunity to explore general issues of urban affairs and planning in seminar. Theme changes, but each seminar focuses on Boston. Prominent scholars and professionals active in city and regional issues are invited to participate. [ 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. ]
|A1||IND||Staff||COM 213||R||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET UA 510 Selected Topics in Urban Affairs
UA510 is the designation for "Special Topics in Planning". The subject matter for UA510 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one UA510 can be offered in a given semester. The Fall 2020 offerings are listed below.
UA510 A1 (O'Connell & Koehler, Thursday)- "Globalization: Pandemics & Planning": This course explores the evolving roles of planning in global cities, with an emphasis on pandemics and other disasters as watershed experiences. Using Boston as a principal example, students will learn about the impacts of globalization, and its incumbent health risks, through historical and contemporary case studies to understand cultural, technological, and socioeconomic development patterns. Besides public health measures, the course will cover economic resilience, international trade and supply chains, transportation, income inequality, the service economy, and the increasing importance of telecommunications and distance working.
UA510 A2 (Sungu- Eryilmaz, Monday)- "Cities & Analytics: Making Sense of Data": Several cities in the U.S. and abroad collect increasing amount of data to support decision-making and transform into sustainable and resilient places to live, work, and play. Analytics is the core of any of these efforts. This project-based course will be divided into two parts. In the first part, we will explore the policy and planning aspects of these efforts. Who are the stakeholders? What kind of existing or emerging urban problems are addressed with these efforts? What are the intended and unintended potential consequences? In the second part, we will work with existing open datasets and selected basic analytical techniques to understand urban issues.
Spring 2021: UA510 A1 (Hassol, Thursday)- "New Trends in Transportation": Transportation is changing faster than ever before. New vehicle technologies, including electric vehicles and automated vehicles, have the potential to transform longstanding paradigms of vehicle ownership and use. New transportation services such as ride- hailing, bikeshare, and electric scooters, enabled by information and communication technologies, offer new travel choices and also new business models. This course will apply principles of micro-economics (e.g., marginal utility, price elasticity, demand functions) along with information on macro-level factors such as changing demographics, to develop a framework for understanding transportation trends. We will use the framework to explore likely trends in electric vehicles, automated vehicles, "micro-mobility" modes, and mobility-as-a-service, and their impacts on travel behavior. In addition, we will explore the likely future of traditional public transportation within the emerging transportation ecosystem. Guest speakers from private industry and government will share their perspectives on emerging transportation business models, public policy challenges, and analytical techniques. Assignments will emphasize employing the principles learned in class to assess real-world transportation questions.
UA510 A2 (Kwon, Wednesday)- "Equity and Social Justice": This course introduces conceptual and applied approaches to community activism to promote (or resist) social, political, and economic change in cities across the US. This course situates various forms of local community activism within larger discussions about inequality, intersectionality, and unequal geographies of opportunity. Students will explore past and present examples of community mobilization with an emphasis on the role of community-based organizations. The course will focus on some of the following themes: racial inequality, immigrant rights, health inequality, environmental justice, and housing access. Guest speakers will share their experiences and the strategies they used for advocacy and/or organizing campaigns covered in class. In this course, students are expected to share, interrogate, and reinterpret their own experiences and perspectives based on course readings, conversations, and assignments. [ 4 cr. ]
|SA1||IND||Zemel||HAR 228||TR||6:00 pm – 9:30 pm|
|SA2||IND||Johnson||CAS 327||MW||6:00 pm – 9:30 pm|
MET UA 515 History, Theory and Planning Practice
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. ]
|A1||IND||CAS 208||W||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET UA 590 International Comparative Development and Urbanization
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. ]
Electives are chosen with the advice of an academic counselor. The number of electives varies depending on transfer credit. Courses should be selected to complement and broaden the student’s background. When selecting these courses, consider career objectives and personal interests.
View undergraduate courses.