Make a Difference through Policymaking and Community Development

The Master of Urban Affairs (MUA) at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) prepares you for urban leadership positions, providing a strong foundation in the technical, socio-political, and economic aspects that shape our urban environments.

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. Now more than ever, the way we plan our cities has a direct impact on the quality of our lives. BU MET’s Urban Affairs master’s program offers several courses that bridge the leading theories and practices in key areas such as environmental sustainability, land use, housing, and community development; infrastructure planning; public finance and transportation planning; and energy, climate, and urban design.

The Master of Urban Affairs degree program is designed for those seeking to develop a broad understanding of urban public policy, community development and service delivery, and the administration of public and private agencies in urban settings. The MUA provides the theoretical, analytical, and practical foundations for understanding the complexities of the urban environment.

Program at a Glance

  • On Campus
  • Part-Time or Full-Time Study
  • 32 Credits
  • 12–24 Months to Completion

Advance Your Career in Urban Leadership

As a graduate of BU MET’s Master of Urban Affairs program, you will be prepared for careers in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors, in which you will be able to assemble and analyze information for policymaking, identify community needs and resources, and administer effective service-delivery programs. MUA graduates work in the fields of housing, health and social services, economic development, transportation management, and environmental protection, among many others. Many students obtain the MUA degree in preparation for further study, or to seek advancement in their current job or field.

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“The Boston University Urban Affairs master’s program has groomed me to be an effective leader in the community. Its rigorous program has provided me with a robust understanding of the inner workings of urban systems. It has empowered me to tackle the many issues affecting underserved communities through policy advocacy, analysis, and effective delivery-service programs.”Emily DaSilva (MET’19), Boston Public Health Commission

MET a Professor: Madhu Dutta-Koehler

Meet Dr. Madhu Dutta-Koehler, BU MET director of City Planning and Urban Affairs.

Why Earn a Master’s in Urban Affairs at BU?

  • Active Learning Environment: BU’s Urban Affairs courses focus on practical, hands-on education and include a public capstone project, ensuring that you are immersed in all aspects of urban affairs—education you can apply on the job.
  • Engaged Faculty: In BU’s Urban Affairs master’s program, you benefit from working closely 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.

Learn to Solve Challenges in Planning, Urban Management, and Public Policy

The Master of Urban Affairs (MUA) is offered through BU MET’s Department of Applied Social Sciences, which oversees several graduate programs focusing on the challenges of the urban environment, including the Master of City Planning (MCP), the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability, and the Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning.

BU’s Urban Affairs & City Planning programs prepare future leaders, practitioners, and innovators for the myriad challenges that arise in urban planning and policymaking. Students consider the political, social, and technical implications of each facet of planning and policymaking, and thus grapple with the fact that there are few, if any, simple solutions or approaches to urban issues.

The Master of City Planning and Master of Urban Affairs programs share a required, five-course core cur­riculum, and each provide a rigorous foundation for both new and experienced student-scholars and professionals.

Graduates can pursue a wide range of professional careers in town, city, and regional planning; sustainable management; community and economic development; transportation planning; public-sector/nonprofit management; and policy research, among others.

Graduate with Expertise

Boston University’s Urban Affairs master’s degree will equip you to:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the history and theory of urban and regional development, the structure and functions of urban systems, local and national policymaking processes, and the role of planning to create sustainable outcomes.
  • Explain and assess the economic, environmental, political, social, and equity issues inherent in policy work and planning practice.
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative research skills to theory-building, data-gathering and analysis, and planning and policy-making processes.
  • Create relevant policy and planning solutions that incorporate the diverse perspectives of various stakeholders, including those of minority and disadvantaged communities.
  • Mediate and communicate effectively in public (community) and policy settings.

Certificate-to-Degree Pathway

BU MET graduate certificate programs can serve as building blocks to a master’s degree. The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability and the Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning each share specific courses with the Master of Urban Affairs program, giving you the option to take one or two certificates on your path to a master’s degree. To be eligible for the degree, you must apply for admission and be accepted into the degree program. Consult with a graduate admissions advisor to learn more about these options.

City Planning & Urban Affairs Faculty

Tuition & Financial Assistance

Competitive Tuition

Our part-time rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education.

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Comprehensive Financial Assistance

Our services include scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans.

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Get Started

Please visit the BU MET admissions page for details on how to apply, financial assistance, tuition and fees, requirements for international students, and more.

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