M.A. in Urban Affairs & Public Policy

Program Description

The MA in Urban Affairs and Public Policy prepares students to address many of the critical 

challenges facing communities at all levels, from neighborhoods to the nation: health, education, housing, civil rights, poverty, economic growth, and environmental quality. Because these challenges are not neatly bundled in disciplinary packages as political, economic, or sociological, the MA program is distinctively interdisciplinary. We equip our students with the diverse knowledge and experience needed to address  policy challenges from creative vantage points, and we encourage them to adopt a truly global outlook on policy solutions.  Our educational model supports active, experiential learning at all stages. Students work side-by-side with faculty on urban and policy research and analysis designed to create and utilize knowledge that informs decisions and policies. Our faculty and students are focused on making a positive impact on the quality of life in the communities they serve, forming a bridge between the communities of ideas and the community of action.

The 36 credit MA degree reflects a distinctive model of graduate education that combines academic study with real-life engagement in research and public service programs that address community challenges.  MA students complete 21 credits of core courses that focus on the nature of the issues facing communities and  develop the research and analytic capabilities needed to address those issues. For the remaining 15 credits, each student completes a customized plan of research and analysis, designed with her/his advisor, that draws upon the rich variety resources of the School of Public Policy and Administration. 

Master of Arts Degree Program Urban Affairs Public Policy Brochure

In addition to graduate courses, opportunities for independent study, and collaboration with faculty on research, MA students may take advantage of the research and public service programs of the School’s four affiliated centers.  Each year, the School and its centers carry out hundreds of research and public service projects on the challenges facing communities and the institutions that serve them.  Current projects focus on media and public policy, planning for sustainable development, environmental quality in cities, community finance and organization, nonprofit leadership, evaluation of the well-being of children, preservation of historic structures, and improvement of health services delivery. MA students are invited to participate in these projects, enriching and applying what they learn in the classroom while they gain valuable practical experience that will help them launch productive careers.  

Graduates of the MA program work in every sector, holding positions in local, national and global institutions related to policy analysis, planning, advocacy, and organizational leadership. The program also is an ideal choice for students anticipating doctoral study, and students who excel in the MA program have an opportunity for continuation in the School’s PhD program in Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

Download the MA in Urban Affairs and Public Policy brochure.