Urban Justice and Sustainability

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Urban Justice and Sustainability is a post-master’s program for working professionals. The CAGS program will enhance your skillset helping you to be more effective in advancing urban justice and sustainability through public policy and planning practice, research, and activism.

Collage of students and professors in the Urban Justice and Sustainability certificate program at Tufts University
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Office of Graduate Admissions
Bendetson Hall
Medford, MA 02155
(617) 627-3395


The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) program is a hybrid online plus on-campus graduate certificate offered over the course of one year through the Tufts Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP). With the majority of your studies occurring online, the structure enables you to study at a top ranked university while continuing to work full-time. Coursework includes two five-day on-campus summer intensive courses and four online courses taken during the academic year. The certificate is rooted intellectually in three inter-related policy/planning themes: social justice, sustainability, and community engagement.

Although largely a web-based program, the courses are structured to provide opportunities for peer-to-peer and student-to-faculty interaction. A large component of the program is an independent project unique to student interests with direct mentorship and guidance from a UEP advisor. In addition, the Urban Justice and Sustainability certificate promotes an atmosphere for students to reflect on their own professional and civic practices. In the end, the program helps empower you to more actively advance social justice and sustainability in complex public policy and planning settings in your own community.

For U.S.-based students with American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) membership, the CAGS will be suitable for credit towards annual Certification Maintenance (CM) requirements. Tufts is an approved AICP CM provider. 

CAGS Course Structure

Every student will enroll in:

● Introductory five-day, on-campus summer intensive course (August)

● Two online courses during fall semester (September-December)

● Two online courses during spring semester (January-June)

● Concluding five-day, on-campus summer intensive course (August)

Please see Curriculum for more details.


Certificate students pay a course rate of $832 per credit (2019-2020) for a total program cost of $12,500.

For more information visit the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

Related Programs

Application Deadline

Fall: March 1

Application Requirements:

Applicants must have a master's degree or J.D. to apply to the program. 

> Application Fee
> Resume/CV
> Personal Statement

Please give reasons for deciding to do post-graduate work. Please limit your answer to under 2,500 words. We are particularly concerned that you cover these points:

- What previous experiences have brought you to consider applying for the CAGS in Urban Justice and Sustainability?

- What are your chief objectives in applying now?

- How do you think this program will help you achieve those objectives and advance your career?

> Official TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable
> Transcripts
> One Letter of Recommendation


Justin Hollander
Professor, Director of CAGS Program
Ph.D. , Rutgers University
Land use planning, urban design, shrinking cities, big data analytics
Julian Agyeman
Ph.D. , University of London
Sustainability policy and planning, environmental and food justice, intercultural cities
Christine Cousineau
MArch AS, MCP , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban planning and design, green urban design, retrofitting suburbs, community engagement
James Jennings
Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. , Columbia University
Urban and neighborhood politics, social welfare, community development
Penn Loh
Senior Lecturer and Director of the M.P.P. Program and Community Practice
M.S. , University of California, Berkeley
Environmental justice, solidarity and new economy, community organizing
Russ Lopez
Russ Lopez
Environmental factors associated with learning and education, urban environmental health, and the contribution of the social and built environments to public health outcomes and social disparities
Liat Racin, Lecturer in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University
Liat Racin
Ph.D. , King's College, London
Social geographer and urbanist with particular interests in social policy, ecology, public spaces, and justice
Portrait of Sumeeta Srinivasan.
Sumeeta Srinivasan
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Intersection of sustainable development and spatial inequities of access

The Certificate for Advanced Graduate Studies is obtained upon successful completion of the following:

Two Summer Intensive Courses

UEP 0227-01: Reflections on Urban Justice & Sustainability (2 credits)
Intensive, five-day summer course at the beginning of program

The goal of this course is to introduce students to key ideas, frameworks, and debates to help understand and explain the adoption, implementation, and evaluation of urban justice and sustainability policy and planning. This class focuses on systemic factors that mold public policies in the United States.  In addition, the course provides a foundation for students to reflect on and further explore specific public policies related to their professional experiences and interests. Readings provide an understanding of the historical, institutional, political, and ideological context of urban justice and sustainability policy and planning. Students are introduced to various sources of data and to scholarly work that transforms data into research findings about a range of public policies. The culminating activity of the seminar is an accepted proposal for a year-long independent research project the students will pursue in close collaboration with a supervising UEP faculty member.

UEP 0228-01: Integrative Seminar in Urban Justice & Sustainability (1 credit)
Intensive, five-day summer course at the conclusion of the program

The course continues building the foundation for understanding how public policy and planning for urban justice and sustainability is developed, implemented, and discussed/debated in various contexts. The readings and course discussions are aimed at strengthening conceptual skills, basic data and spatial analysis, and integrating all these in investigating current policy issues.  In this class, students will have opportunities both in class and through assignments to continue to integrate their learning and policy interests identified in throughout the year-long certificate program. This in-person seminar provides opportunities for students to report back to their instructors and fellow students on their collective learning over the year, their reflections on their professional practice, and the results of their year-long research project.  The culminating activity of the seminar is a final project based on their year-long independent research.

Four Online Courses (two per semester)

UEP 0226-01: Social Justice and Sustainability (3 credits)
Fall semester course

This course engages students in a wide ranging exploration of the theories, practices, and opportunities for enhancing social justice and sustainability in the domains of public policy and urban planning. The course will be a forum for students to draw on their work experiences and educational experiences to more fully understand, articulate, and advocate for social justice and sustainability in policy and planning.

UEP 0225-01: Community Engagement: Advanced Techniques, Examples and Outcomes (3 credits)
Spring semester course

Many planning projects and policies fail because of a lack of community engagement. This course explores ways to create active, positive participation in different urban settings. We examine the goals and practice of community engagement, from theory and history to methods and techniques. Using three case studies of participation processes, in Lowell’s Hamilton Canal District, Boston’s Chinatown, and Somerville neighborhoods, we view and discuss filmed sessions of public meetings and charrettes. Facilitators and participants of community engagement events are interviewed for their assessment of how effective the process was.

UEP 0291-01 Directed Studies (3 credits)
Taken both fall and spring semester

Directed Studies will be used to complete a special project, which will be an applied policy or planning report, video, website, or other creative or scholarly work.  The special project provides each student with an opportunity to synthesize the knowledge they have gained in a capstone experience.  The special project will be executed in close coordination with a supervising faculty member.


Jacqueline Furtado
M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
B.A. in Sociology, Tufts University

Jacqueline currently serves as the Executive Officer of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Boston. She is an accomplished professional with extensive administrative experience in the areas of program development, program implementation/coordination and program evaluation. Previously, she has worked with various other organizations like Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. and in the Children and Family Services division of the Tri-City Action Program.

Andrew Reid
M.B.A., Golden Gate University
B.A. in International Relations, UC Davis

Andrew previously served as an Economic Development Representative at the US Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration in Philadelphia and a Management Analyst, Redevelopment Agency Manager with the City of Pinole, and as a project Consultant for Capital Link in California. After completing the C.A.G.S., he started as a Senior Fellow at the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and was hired by Temple University to teach part-time in the Department of Planning and Community Development.

"The Tufts CAGS program in Urban Justice and Sustainability gave me the perspective on social justice that I required to teach it on the cutting edge at the university level. The collaboration and worldview of my classmates was key to seeing diverse viewpoints and different backgrounds necessary to help equally diverse students grasp these relevant concepts and be inspired by them."
- Andrew Reid


Elizabeth Bennett
M.Ed in Education Administration, Rivier University
B.A. in English, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Elizabeth is currently the Director of Grants, Community and Workforce Development at the Greater Lawrence Technical High School. In this position she has developed a passion for educating and bringing opportunities to underserved students of very diverse backgrounds. Elizabeth is interested in making technical education and the workforce in general a more sustainable and accessible place.

"There is nothing better than when you take a course and can apply the learning into practice. This was the case with the Community Engagement course as part of the CAGS program. One of our assignments was to design a community engagement project. The Greater Lawrence Opioid Symposium was developed as a result of the course." - Elizabeth Bennett 

Merideth Hildreth
M.A. in Urban Studies/Planning, University of Akron
B.A. in History, Texas Tech University
Merideth has most recently worked as a planning and zoning administrator for the city of Roswell, New Mexico. In this position and many others she has held, Merideth has focused on water conservation and working with historic cities and sites. In the CAGS program, she plans to to learn more about sustainability and social justice and how to apply it to her work. Merideth has been a part of Toastmasters International for almost 25 years.

"The UEP CAGS in Urban Justice and Sustainability has propelled my thinking and engagement in social justice advocacy for planning and community projects. I have been able to apply concepts in three papers I produced during the course of the one-year post-Master's program to address issues in my community. I highly recommend this program to community development professionals who seek to apply a coherent understanding of social justice and sustainability in their planning practice."
- Meridith Hildreth

Jane Lafleur
M.A. in City & Regional Planning, Harvard Kennedy School
B.A. in Public Administration, University of Maine
Jane currently works with the Orton Family Foundation through the Community Heart & Soul® program. She loves the work she has done with them, and has been inspired to learn more about community engagement through the CAGS program. Jane has also previously held several positions among governments and nonprofits and runs her own business, JBLaFleur Consultants in Maine.

"The CAGS program gave me a deeper understanding of how to integrate urban justice and sustainability into my planning practice. It introduced me to the history of public engagement and deepened my understanding of the range of tools available to reach all voices in a community. This makes me a better planner." - Jane Lafleur

Noah Slovin
M.S. in Geosciences, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
B.A. in Science of Earth Systems, Cornell University-Endowed Colleges
Noah is passionate about helping the planet and has been involved and interested in improving communities for decades. He currently works as an Environmental Planner and Scientist at Milone & MacBroom, Inc., where most of his work pertains to working with local communities to create plans for protecting coasts and dealing with potential hazards.

"The CAGS program has helped to shift my priorities professionally, such that I have been actively searching out projects that I think will enable me to facilitate community conversations and enact social justice goals; I have also been pushing for equitable engagement tools and consideration of justice issues in project proposals." - Noah Slovin

Robert Spiegel
M.P.A., Syracuse University
J.D., New York University
B.A. in Urban Studies/Sociology, Queens College of the City University of New York

Robert is currently an Attorney at Law, at Legal Counsel pro Bono Publico, and has worked with the U.S. Bureau of the Fiscal Service, U.S. Government Accountability Office, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, etc. At UEP, Robert’s objective is to investigate, measure and evaluate the dynamics of urban development, neighborhood definition, image, politics, as well as residential choice and segregation for the purpose of contributing to greater sustainability and increased social justice.

Bridgette Wallace
B.A. in Political Science, Emmanuel College 
M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University

Bridgette is the founder of SkyLab Boston and works towards generating an innovation based economic and cultural renaissance in Roxbury. The organization provides education and hands-on opportunities for the residents of Roxbury to learn about and use the latest technologies, strategies, and business skills required to launch new ventures or sustaining existing ones. Previously, she has worked for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Boston Public Health Commission, and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and other organizations.