Academic Programs

The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs trains and develops future and current leaders, policymakers, researchers, and citizens to better address critical public issues by combining rigorous research and analysis with innovative problem-solving. We do this through professional graduate programs, executive education, and our Open Classroom Policy Series.

School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Guide Booklet 2014-2015

College of Social Sciences and Humanities General Regulations 2014-2015

Graduate Programs

  • Law and Public Policy (Ph.D, and joint J.D./M.S.)
    The Law and Public Policy offers students the opportunity to learn about public policy from an applied social science perspective, examining the nature of the American legal and policymaking systems or comparing American systems with those in other countries. Students may attend either part-time or full-time. Master’s candidates follow similar course requirements as PhD candidates and also take the comprehensive examination. 
  • Public Administration (M.P.A.)
    Founded in 1969, the MPA program is designed to integrate theoretical foundations with practical skills directed toward defining and developing analytical, conceptual and practical competencies for management careers in the public, non-profit, or private sectors. With classes scheduled after 5 PM or provided online, the program is designed for both the full-time student and the professional, who is attending classes part-time.
  • Urban and Regional Policy (M.S.)
    The Master of Urban and Regional Policy is designed to prepare the next generation of key leaders in urban and regional policymaking, strategic problem-solvers with the ability to analyze global economic, technological and social trends, develop effective policy responses, and move those policies toward implementation. Students will develop sophisticated analytical skills combined with a thorough understanding of how cities and regions work for graduates who will occupy key research and policy-making positions in an array of urban-focused public, non-profit and private sector institutions.

Graduate Certificates

  • Graduate Certificate in Urban Studies
    The Graduate Certificate in Urban Studies provides a core foundation in urban and regional policy theory and research methods, and culminates in an applied capstone project. The certificate is not a stand-alone program, you must be enrolled in a participating graduate degree program.
  • Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector Philanthropy and Social Change
    The Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector is a professionally-oriented, application-based program for students seeking leadership positions in nonprofit organizations or in a public agency that deals extensively with nonprofits. The curriculum is designed to address the distinctive features and practices of the nonprofit sector and emphasizes management techniques helpful to nonprofit leaders.
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Policy Analysis
    This certificate provides an opportunity for students in diverse graduate programs at Northeastern University to obtain the tools necessary to analyze and shape public policy at the local, state and national levels. Students will also gain understanding of the political and legal process of policymaking, develop skills central to conducting research on policy questions, and learn techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of competing policies.

Undergraduate Programs

  • Human Services Major and Minor
    Human Services is an interdisciplinary program preparing students to practice in arenas such as political advocacy, community development and direct service. The program offers a number of undergraduate major options as well as a minor.Students take courses in human services, psychology, sociology, and other fields — integrating theory and skills-development. They also complete intensive fieldwork internships in nonprofit and government agencies.The curriculum affords students the opportunity to acquire fundamental attitudes, knowledge, and skills preparing them for careers broadly defined as the “helping professions”. Graduates pursue positions in both public and private agencies, including social service and welfare agencies, mental health settings, programs for youth, halfway houses, rape crisis and domestic violence centers, drug treatment institutions, and criminal justice settings. Students can work in a number of capacities as counselors, community organizers, administrators in human services agencies, and as fundraisers for social programs. 
  • Law and Public Policy Minor
    The Law and Public Policy undergraduate minor gives students a thorough understanding of the US legal system, and how the law interacts with policy, politics and society. In the LPP minor core courses, students will have the opportunity to watch a criminal and/or civil trial, participate in a moot court before a panel of “judges,” and listen to speakers from both the public and private sector (for example, a superior court judge and assistant attorney general)
  • Urban Studies Minor
    The Urban Studies minor provides students interested in cities the opportunity to take advantage of the resources of an urban university situated in a major metropolitan area. The minor equips students to understand the dynamics of urban growth and development and includes the study of urban social and political institutions. It also enables students to understand urban processes and develop policies to keep cities


Open Classroom Policy Series

Each semester, the Policy School selects one graduate-level policy course and opens the weekly two-hour seminar to the public as part of our Open Classroom Policy Series. The topic is selected based on relevance and appeal to the broader community. Members of the community are invited to participate for free.

This coming fall semester’s topic will be “Campaign 2012: Policy Advice to the President.” It will be taught by Professors Barry Bluestone and Michael Dukakis, Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Newton Mayor Setti Warren. Click here to RSVP.

Executive Education Programs

The School also offers executive and professional education for leaders, policymakers, and practitioners.

In partnership with the Massachusetts Municipal Association, we offer the Muncipal Leadership Academy, a series of workshops and lectures for elected or appointed city and town officials throughout Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship is a professional development program for individuals in education and human services who seek to enhance their leadership and public policy knowledge and skills.

The Center for Leadership and Public Life, led by State Representative Jay Kaufman, offers a series of workshops on leadership.

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