MSc in Environmental Policy and Planning


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description


The M.S. degree in Environmental Policy and Planning, offered through the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) at Tufts, prepares the next generation of leaders—‘practical visionaries’—who will contribute to the development and promotion of environmentally sustainable communities.

This degree offers students the opportunity to focus on environmental science, policy, and planning issues that are increasingly relevant in today’s world. Tufts UEP graduate students learn to confront current social and environmental challenges and gain the necessary skill set to work towards effective solutions.

Students interested in careers in policy, science, and research in the environmental sector may want to consider the M.S. degree in Environmental Policy and Planning. The M.S. follows the same degree requirements as the M.A. Students will work with their faculty advisor to develop a coursework track and a thesis that focuses specifically on sustainability and environmental issues.

If you have seven or more years of significant, relevant professional experience, you may consider UEP's mid-career Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) program.

Degree Curriculum

  • Five required core courses covering theoretical foundations and professional skills:
    • Foundations of Public Policy and Planning — A conceptual and critical overview of public policy and planning theory, process, and practice. Provides an introduction to basic elements of public policy formation and application involving a range of environmental, social policy, and planning issues. This includes methods for analyzing policy and planning decisions, strategies for developing alternatives, the examination of the role of values and empirical knowledge in setting policy agendas, and implementation.
    • Cities in Space, Place, and Time — Introduces students to the history and theory of cities and metropolitan regions focusing specifically on the actions of planners and policy-makers and how these actions shape our communities, neighborhoods, cities, regions, and world. The focus will be on the US, but the course will include comparisons to other systems (e.g., UK, Western Europe, Latin America, and China). The course will examine the urban and metropolitan fabric through the lens of work, family, transport and communications, energy, environmental conditions, physical structure, economics, and trade. Race, class, gender, immigration, and culture change will serve as cross-cutting themes throughout the readings, lectures, and discussions. Particular attention will be paid to institutional actors and their responses — governments, business leaders, and community leaders.
    • Quantitative Reasoning — This course presents basic concepts of statistical analysis and research, and develops related skills that are indispensable to agency directors, policymakers, and advocates alike. Students learn to select among available data sources, measures and indicators, and statistical techniques in order to best answer questions of interest.
    • Field Projects: Planning and Practice — Practical planning and research experience in a community or governmental setting. Students are exposed to the realities of urban and environmental planning practices by working in teams for actual clients. Focuses on the interplay of expertise, social and political values, and professional relationships.
    • Economics for Policy and Planning Analysis — This course introduces economic concepts and tools of analysis relevant to public policy and planning. Microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches to understanding economic behavior and to generating solutions to economic problems are explored. Applications include policies related to the environment, housing, individual and family income, and community development.
  • Seven to eight elective courses or modules (20-24 credit hours) approved by the student's advisor;
  • An internship in public policy or planning; and
  • A master's thesis or capstone exam (may count for 3 or 6 credit hours).

Quantitative Prerequisite

Students admitted to UEP degree programs are required to show evidence of basic algebra and graphing skills prior to registering for the department's quantitative courses (UEP 251 and UEP 254). This prerequisite must be fulfilled in one of the following three ways: (1) Score 153 or above on the quantitative section of the GRE within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program; (2) Pass a college algebra or equivalent course (with a B- or higher) within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program; or (3) Pass a UEP math screening exam with a score of 80% or above (this exam must be taken in person at UEP). Students must fulfill the prerequisite before matriculation or have an approved plan submitted to the academic advisor and department chair to complete the prerequisite by the end of the first semester. Please contact the UEP office if you have any questions.


In addition to our course offerings, M.A. students may select courses from other Tufts departments and schools and Boston-area consortium universities. To receive credit for a course toward their M.A., graduate students must attain a grade of B- or better.

Application Requirements

  • Transcripts (unofficial may be uploaded to the application. If admitted, official transcripts must be sent).
  • Personal Statement.
    Describe your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study at Tufts in the program to which you are applying. Please limit your personal statement to a maximum of five pages (approximately 2,500 words).
  • Resume/CV.
  • GRE General Test scores (exception: not required for current Tufts undergraduates).
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation.
  • TOEFL scores (for exceptions, see Requirements and Policies).
  • Application Fee.
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Graduate programs at Tufts University's Graduate School of Arts combine the atmosphere of a liberal arts college with the state-of-the-art technological resources of a research institution. World-clas ... Read More

Graduate programs at Tufts University's Graduate School of Arts combine the atmosphere of a liberal arts college with the state-of-the-art technological resources of a research institution. World-class researchers, personal mentoring, collaborative laboratory facilities, and industry partnerships equip Tufts students with the skills to excel in their chosen specialties and pursue their careers with passion and commitment. Read less