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
  • Program Description
  • Application Requirements
  • Faculty
  • Curriculum
  • Meet Our Students

Apply Now

Request Information

Questions about your application?

Contact us:

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.

Attend a Virtual Information Session

Join us for an upcoming Virtual Information Session for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Urban Justice and Sustainability. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
12:00 pm (EST)

Register Now

Related Programs

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 $2,500 per course credit (2017-2018) for a total program cost of $12,500.

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

Application Deadline

Fall: February 15

A key admission requirement is strong academic background in mechanical engineering or a related technical discipline.

Application Requirements:

> 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
Associate 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
Michelle Holliday-Stocking
Ph.D., Sociology , Portland State University
Health and social inequalities, suicide prevention, community-university partnerships, anti-bullying policy, and education
James Jennings
Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. , Columbia University
Urban and neighborhood politics, social welfare, community development
Penn Loh
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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.

Shirley Mark
M.A. in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.A., Hampshire College

Shirley’s professional career has focused on social justice through programs, civic engagement, philanthropy and higher education partnerships. Currently working as the Director of Community Partnerships at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, she has been involved with developing and leading community partnerships across the university, managing budgets, initiating partnerships and managing a robust portfolio of partners including community-based organizations, public schools, and municipal/government agencies. At UEP, Shirley is most interested in studying environmental justice and food justice.

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

Andrew currently serves as an Economic Development Representative at the US Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration in Philadelphia. Previously, he has also worked as a Management Analyst, Redevelopment Agency Manager with the City of Pinole, and as a project Consultant for Capital Link in California. He is also affiliated with the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange.

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.