Urban Policy at the School

Jun 11 2019
Graduate Admissions Office

The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs offers four fields of concentration for those who enroll in a master’s program, and three optional certificates.

We are a small community, but we have an abundance of ways to tailor our degrees in ways that make sense for your own individualized course of study.

Our four fields of concentration are: Field I: International Relations; Field II: International Development; Field III: Domestic Policy; and Field IV: Economics and Public Policy--descriptions to come. Watch this space.

Over-and-above these fields, which one must declare at time of application to our two-year MPA degree or one-year mid-career MPP degree, we offer three optional certificates to further refine and define the student experience.

The three optional certificates are as follows:
Certificate in Health and Health Policy (HHP)
Certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP)
Certificate in Urban Policy (UP)

This blog post will focus on the Certificate in Urban Policy.

Please check back in the coming weeks for blog posts on the other certificates as well as our fields of concentration.

The School offers a certificate in Urban Policy (UP), primarily for our own master’s students, but graduate students from other Princeton departments are eligible to earn the certificate. The policy focus is global, and the coursework is grounded in the interdisciplinary and comparative study of cities and urban problems in both advanced industrialized and developing countries. The UP certificate emphasizes the social, economic and political dimensions of urban problems and is designed to prepare students for careers in urban policy analysis and economic development in national, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, think tanks and international organizations.

UP Faculty Advisor Esteban Rossi-Hansberg says, “Cities are at the forefront of the implementation, experimentation, and design of policy. The urban policy certificate aims to train students to understand and improve these efforts.

The UP certificate requires students to take and pass two core courses: WWS 537, Social Organization of Cities, and WWS 538, Urban Economics, along with two elective courses.

When one of these core courses is not offered in a given academic year, an approved substitute is designated, and this has typically been WWS 527a, Implementing Urban Economic Development. A list of approved electives is made available at the beginning of each academic year. Two half-term courses count as one elective.

UP certificate students (in the School) are encouraged to take an urban policy workshop that would count as an elective course. Recent examples include: Smart Cities: Implementing Equitable Transit Initiatives prepared for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Fall 2017; Reforming the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in Fall 2016; Resiliency in Times of Change; Supporting Philadelphia Small Businesses in Gentrifying Neighborhoods in Fall 2015: Strategies for Preventing Youth Violence in Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District: A Report for the Philadelphia Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative in Fall 2014.

Rossi-Hansberg also says, “Urban policy draws from a wide variety of knowledge in the social (and natural) sciences. The uniquely varied and excellent set of scholars at the School makes the urban policy certificate a perfect fit.”

In the picture for the blog, you will find three recent graduates who received the Urban Policy & Planning certificate, which was phased out with the 2019 cohort, to focus on one, streamlined UP certificate. These students all feel they benefitted from structuring their academic coursework to meet the certificate requirements. Not all students do; however, and this is perfectly fine.

We hope you will check out our web-site and visit this blog often as we work to update this space regularly with content and information. Best wishes.