Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs
University of San Francisco - College of Arts & Sciences
USD 27,180 / per year *
Earliest start date
* tuition costs per year are estimates only; costs may vary based on actual enrollment in classes
The Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs trains students in public policy, urban studies, and grassroots organizing, examining ways policy and community engagement can effect positive change.
Our program combines graduate seminars in urban studies, politics, sociology, and public policy with hands-on experience in community-based research, policy design, policy analysis, advocacy, and implementation. Graduates are uniquely equipped to formulate policy and initiatives for more equitable and vibrant urban areas, inspired through thoughtful engagement with the theory and practice of social justice.
- Internship – Gain hands-on experience in the field and build a network of professional contacts
- Career Opportunities – Supported by academic and field mentorship, and leadership development
- Distinguished Faculty – Comprised of both leading academics and accomplished professionals and practitioners in the field
- Flexible Schedule – Our full-time program offers courses in the afternoons and evenings. Students can also explore part-time options.
San Francisco Advantage
Our program is uniquely situated at the center of San Francisco Bay Area politics. The Bay Area is well known nationally for pioneering policy measures on environmental issues, gay rights, housing policy, and many other urgent social justice concerns. Students engage in the vibrant living classroom of the region, developing practical research and policy development skills.
Our two-year, 33 unit Master's Urban and Public Affairs program will train you to understand and shape policy, with a focus on the urban and metropolitan histories that impact our region.
You will receive both classroom and hands-on training in the mechanics of urban policy and advocacy. The community-based research requirement will give you experience conducting applied urban research and analyzing policy alternatives. The capstone project and full-time summer internship will allow you to develop expertise in specific areas of urban, regional, or public policy, while building the personal and professional networks that will help you launch your career upon graduation.
Our program is full time with courses offered in the afternoons and evenings, plus occasional Saturday workshops. You are welcome to explore part-time options. Many electives are offered in the evenings from 6:30 - 9 p.m. Occasionally electives are offered in the afternoon. Required courses are offered in both the afternoons and evenings. You should be prepared to attend required classes as early as 3:30 or 4:30 p.m. a few times a week. Schedules may vary each semester.
|Urban Power Seminar
Rhetoric of Social Controversy
|Capstone Research Prospectus
|Urban Public Finance
Community-Engaged Public Policy Research
|Master’s Capstone Project
Other Requirements - Internship (300 hours) & three Practical Politics Workshops
Our weekly colloquium series include visiting lecturers and presentations by faculty, along with career-development training and support. Students register for the colloquium every semester.
Practical Politics Workshops
The workshops offer short, intensive training by experts in the field. Topics include broad practical-politics skills — grassroots advocacy and mobilization, campaign organization and management, labor and community organizing, lobbying and government relations, political communications — along with targeted and timely subjects — legislative approaches to immigration, organizing housing campaigns, advocacy for education reform. They're offered 1-2 times per semester. Students attend a minimum of three during the course of their studies.
Students complete a capstone project that synthesizes their expertise on a topic related to urban and/or public affairs.
Past topics include:
- A Defense of Rent Control: The Social Contract and Government Intervention in SF's Housing Market
- Organizing Anarchy: Creating Meaningful Change From Local Places
- Food Access in the Heart of the City
- Reinventing Cities by Reviving Transportation
- Innovations in Inclusion and Cultural Competency: The Role of SF Nonprofits in Meeting the Needs of LGBTQ Homeless
- The Solidarity Economy: Transitioning to a Sustainable Path for an Uncertain Future
- Access to Access: Are Immigrants Fully Served Under the Affordable Care Act?
- Lessons from the Best Worst Job Ever
- master foundational concepts of urban history, sociology, and politics, and demonstrate the capacity to apply these ideas in real-world settings
- demonstrate expertise in one or more areas of urban public policy
- contemplate models of social change and social justice while developing the requisite skills and knowledge to actuate change
- apply knowledge gained in the classroom in various and diverse community settings
- apply knowledge gained in the community to inform classroom learning and scholarship
- build networks through interactions with professionals from fields including public policy, advocacy, community organizing, and public service
- engage in meaningful career planning through both self-reflection as well as through interactions with colleagues and professionals in the field
- contribute to the public discourse around contemporary urban policy issues
- demonstrate professional skills in writing, urban and participatory research, and policy analysis
- propose, design, and implement a research project that combines the conceptual and practical tools provided by the program
Scholarships and Funding
Master in Urban and Public Affairs Specific Financial Aid
We offer merit-based scholarships to new students on a competitive basis. These program scholarships are limited in number, vary in amount, and cover part of tuition costs. All applicants to the program, both U.S. and international students, are considered for these scholarships when applications are reviewed. There is no separate application for this type of financial assistance. Applicants will be notified of a scholarship award in their admission letter.
There is an internship option in the program. Whether internships are paid or unpaid is determined by the type of internship, and the external organizations that offer them.
Alumni & Careers
Graduates pursue careers that make a difference in nonprofits, government offices, political entities, and the private sector. Career paths include governmental relations and advocacy; nonprofit advocacy and administration; grassroots and community organizing; campaign strategy and management; lobbying; and policy writing.
Our program benefits greatly from active and engaged alumni across the country who are eager to work with current students. Alumni support students with internships and career seminars, by serving on thesis committees, and by hiring students in permanent jobs following graduation.
A select list:
- California Association of Nonprofits
- California State Assembly Member Marc Levine
- City of San Carlos
- Department of Public Health
- Latino Community Foundation
- Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
- Ohio Democratic Party
- San Francisco District 7 Supervisor Campaign
- San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
- San Jose Mayor’s Office
- United Healthcare Workers West
- Urban Strategies Council
- World Wildlife Fund
A select list:
- Campaign Manager
- Capital Budget and Economic Development Coordinator
- Communications Specialist
- Council Policy and Legislative Aide
- Deputy Director
- Director of Programs and Policy
- International Public Policy and Campaign Organizer
- Regional Organizing Director
- Senior Field Representative
- Transportation Planner
English Language Requirements
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