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
- No GRE/GMAT
- Tuition & Fees Range—Part-Time Study*: $24,080-$29,120
*Based on 2023–2024 Boston University tuition and fees. Merit scholarship may reduce cost.
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.
Sample Job Titles
“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
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.
- Career Counseling: MET’s Career Development office and BU’s Center for Career Development offer a variety of job-hunting resources, including one-on-one career counseling by appointment for both online and on-campus students.
- 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.
- Student Support: Enjoy an exceptional student-to-instructor ratio, ensuring close interaction with faculty mentors and access to support.
- Valuable Resources: Make use of Boston University’s extensive resources, including the Center for Career Development, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Center for Antiracist Research, Initiative on Cities, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, George Sherman Union, and many others.
- 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.
- 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.
- Merit Scholarships: US citizens and permanent residents are automatically considered during the application process and nominated based on eligibility. Learn more.
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, the Graduate Certificate in Applied Urban Informatics, 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.
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. Students currently enrolled in a graduate certificate who are interested in transitioning into a master’s degree should contact their academic advisor to declare their interest in this pathway. A new master’s degree application is not required. Connect with a graduate admissions advisor at email@example.com to learn more about this option.
Master of Urban Affairs Curriculum
In addition to the below courses, students are also required to maintain an e-portfolio of the work they produce throughout the program. For more information, please visit this page.
The Master of Urban Affairs (MUA) requires the completion of 32 credits. Students are encouraged to participate in the Directed Internship Program for course credit through MET UA 804 Supervised Fieldwork.
(Five courses/20 credits)
MET UA 515 History, Theory and Planning Practice
MET UA 703 Urban Research Methods
MET UA 704 Urban Economics
MET UA 805 Urban Studies Capstone
Plus one from the following pair:
MET UA 664 Planning and the Development Process
MET UA 715 Planning and Land Use Law
(Three courses/12 credits)
Electives should constitute a coherent concentration within the general curriculum. Additional courses may be approved in consultation with the department.
Sample of Urban Affairs Elective Courses
MET UA 503 Housing and Community Development
MET UA 508 Real Estate Development
MET UA 509 Public Finance and Urban Infrastructure
MET UA 510 Selected Topics in Urban Affairs
MET UA 521 Environmental Law, Policy, and Justice
MET UA 523 Skills and Techniques in Planning
MET UA 526 Multi-modal Transportation Planning and Design
MET UA 580 Boston Experience: The Role of Architecture in Creating the Sense of Place
MET UA 590 International Comparative Development and Urbanization
MET UA 610 Urban Environmental Issues
MET UA 613 Urban Design and Development
MET UA 617 Actionable Sustainability
MET UA 619 Urban Transportation Policy and Planning
MET UA 627 Smart Green Cities
MET UA 629 Urbanization and the Environment
MET UA 654 GIS and Spatial Analysis
MET UA 664 Planning and the Development Process
MET UA 701 Urban Problems and Policy Responses
MET UA 702 Urban Analytical Methods
MET UA 715 Planning and Land Use Law
MET UA 801 Graduate Directed Study in Urban Affairs and Planning
MET UA 804 Supervised Fieldwork
Course Waivers for Related Programs
Master of Urban Affairs students may pursue a certificate program in Commercial Real Estate or 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 one graduate-level elective course (4 credits) toward their degree.
City Planning & Urban Affairs Faculty
View All Faculty
Tuition & Financial Assistance
Competitive TuitionOur 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.
Comprehensive Financial AssistanceOur services include scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans.
How Much Does This Program Cost?
BU MET Programs offer the flexibility of part-time or full-time study. Tuition, fees, and total program cost are determined by enrollment status. If you enroll in 1–2 courses (4–8 credits) in a semester, you are charged the part-time per-credit rate. If you enroll in 3–4 courses (12–16 credits) in a semester, you are charged the full-time semester rate.
Master of Urban Affairs (On Campus)
|Courses per Semester
|Time to Degree
|Fees per Semester*
|Total Degree Cost*
*Based on 2023–2024 Boston University tuition & fee rates.
**Cost per credit is determined by course number (100–599 = $535/credit, 600–999 = $955/credit).
***Summer semester enrollment is not required for international students to maintain F-1 visa status. Enrollment in summer semester coursework will expedite completion of program and reduce total program cost.
International students seeking an F-1 visa for on-campus study must enroll full time and demonstrate availability of funds to cover the Estimated Cost of Graduate Study; those who wish to study online may enroll part-time but are not eligible for a visa. Learn more about International Student Tuition & Fees.
News & Events
February 21st, 2024 at: 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Financing your BU MET Graduate Education (for DOMESTIC students)
February 21st, 2024 at: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Screening of "Welcoming The Embrace"
March 5th, 2024 at: 1:00pm - 1:45pm
Graduate Admissions Webinar