Make a Difference through Effective Urban Policymaking

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) provides an in-depth, multidisciplinary perspective on complex twenty-first-century urban issues, including housing and community development, public health, economic and infrastructural management, and environmental sustainability. The program is ideal for mid-career professionals who seek to advance their careers as urban managers, policy analysts, city planners, researchers, and consultants in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors, as well as students and recent graduates who want to gain an interdisciplinary perspective of how urban systems work.

Program at a Glance

  • On Campus
  • Part-Time Study
  • 16 Credits
  • 8–12 Months to Completion
  • Tuition & Fees Range—Part-Time Study*: $12,320-$15,720

*Based on 2024–2025 Boston University tuition and fees.

Advance Your Career in Urban Policy and Planning

The Urban Policy & Planning graduate certificate program offers in-depth exploration of policy analysis and formulation; urban public financing; comparative planning and development; urban spatial analysis; the political, legal, social, and economic dimensions of urban development; and the relationship between urban land use and the environment. As a student in the program, you will gain the expertise to develop successful policy and planning solutions with various urban stakeholders; work with public and private leaders at the city, state, and federal levels to overcome conflicting goals; administer effective service-delivery programs; and evaluate how to better incorporate and prioritize equitable and sustainable urban strategies.

Charles River Campus

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Why Earn a Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning at BU?

  • Active Learning Environment: BU’s Urban Policy & Planning courses focus on practical, hands-on approaches and provide the expertise to analyze a range of information in order to cultivate successful urban policies, identify community needs and resources, and administer effective service-delivery programs—education you can apply on the job.
  • Engaged Faculty: In BU’s Urban Policy & Planning graduate certificate program, you benefit from working closely with highly qualified faculty who provide interdisciplinary perspectives on urban policy issues, sharing valuable expertise that will help you advance your career.
  • 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 programs in urban affairs since 1968. The Master of Urban Affairs was introduced in 1969, and the Master of City Planning was introduced in 1978.

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

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning 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 Master of Urban Affairs (MUA), the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability, and the Graduate Certificate in Applied Urban Informatics.

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.

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 Policy & Planning graduate certificate will equip you to:

  • Understand 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.
  • Explain and assess the economic, environmental, political, social, and equity issues inherent in planning theory and practice to develop effective policy for urban development.
  • Create strategic policy and planning solutions that incorporate the diverse perspectives of various stakeholder groups, including those of minority and disadvantaged communities.

Certificate-to-Degree Pathway

BU MET graduate certificate programs can serve as building blocks to a master’s degree. The Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning shares specific courses with the Master of Urban Affairs and Master of City Planning degree programs. 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 to learn more about this option.

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.

Please Note: If a required course is not offered within the academic year (fall, spring, and summer sessions), students may request to take a replacement course. The request must be permitted, reviewed, and approved by the program coordinator in conjunction with representatives of the participating MET academic departments.

Required Courses

(Two courses/8 credits)


(Two courses/8 credits)

Choose two from the following list:

Under special circumstances, certificate courses may be substituted with prior approval of the academic advisor.

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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Tuition, fees, and total program cost are determined by enrollment status. Course enrollment in this certificate program is 1–2 courses (4–8 credits) in a semester, and tuition is charged the part-time per-credit rate.

Urban Policy & Planning Graduate Certificate (On Campus)

Enrollment Status Part Time
Courses per Semester 2 courses
(8 credits)
Time to Degree 2 semesters
(8 months)
Tuition* $550-$975
per credit**
Fees per Semester* $60
Total Degree Cost* $12,320–

*Based on 2024-2025 Boston University tuition & fee rates.
**Cost per credit is determined by course number (100–599 = $550/credit, 600–999 = $975/credit).

Questions? Please contact us to hear from an Admissions Advisor who can help you determine the best enrollment pathway. For information regarding financial aid, visit BU MET’s Financial Aid page.

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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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News & Events


June 26th, 2024 at: 10:00am - 10:30am

Financing your BU MET Graduate Education (for INTERNATIONAL students)


June 26th, 2024 at: 1:00pm - 1:45pm

Financing your BU MET Graduate Education (for DOMESTIC students)


June 27th, 2024 at: All Day

2024 International White Hat Conference (Day 1)


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