Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy

Our graduate program produces leaders committed to public service who are prepared to go out in the world—and change it. Visit the Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy page at to learn about degree requirements, application information, program faculty, and the urban policy lab.

Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy Fact Sheet

Applied Hands-on Learning. Collaborative. Solution Focused.

Now more than ever, there is a need for sound public and urban policy that upholds our values of equity and social justice. Cities are where inclusive and innovative policies are tested and grown and we use these settings as laboratories for informing effective public policies that give back to the community.

Urban Policy Lab | Featured Projects

The Urban Policy Lab course taken in the second semester of the first year is an applied policy-analysis experience in which students work together in small teams to resolve a policy issue for a public or nonprofit decision-maker. 

Workforce Development in the Food Sector 

Urban Policy Lab Student Team: Keri Springett, Angela Butel, Eben Fenton, Hugo Fausto Torres-Fetsco, Alix Scherer

Client: Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration)

Central Policy Issue: How can Restoration offer opportunities for career advancement in the food sector?

Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation’s first Community Development organization, asked the student team to enhance their workforce development program and increase retention. The team focused on the food industry, concentrating their research on institutional dining, catering, inventory management, and grocery. In their analysis of these areas of the food sector, the team considered such criteria as the number of job openings, opportunities for career advancement, and training costs, and recommended that Restoration concentrate their efforts on the grocery industry. The team presented their recommendations in an oral briefing and subsequent report. They recommended that Restoration build targeted partnerships within the grocery industry, close the skills gap with training, and add programs to assist with employment retention. 

Improving Lease-Up Rates for Housing Choice Voucher Holders 

Urban Policy Lab Student Team: Heather Beck, St. Clair Logan, Antonio Parisi, Alix Scherer

Client: NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

Central Policy Issue: How can HPD improve lease-up rates for Housing Choice Voucher holders?

Housing Choice Vouchers help low-income households pay for housing in the private market. “Leasing-up” refers to the ability of voucher recipients to find an apartment and sign a lease. Lease-up rates have decreased in recent years and HPD asked the students for ideas on how to reverse this trend.  The team explored what cities around the country are doing to address the issue in order to determine how New York City can improve lease-up rates. Drawing on academic literature, interviews with housing expects and program administrators, the team identified several barriers to leasing up, and compared several ways of addressing these barriers. Their analysis led to the following recommendations: modify the process for inspecting apartments prior to lease up; enhance tenant supports; and build landlord outreach.

Recent Urban Policy Lab Projects

Advanced Seminar Capstone Projects | Professional Decision Reports

In their final semester of study, students work with a client to analyze and present solutions to real-world issues faced by practitioners in the field producing a professional decision report (PDR) as the final requirement to complete the MS degree.

The Public and Urban Policy program is accredited by NASPAA, the membership association for graduate programs in public administration, public policy, and public affairs—the Global Standard in Public Service Education. Milano is the proud recipient of the NASPAA 2015 Social Equity Award.

*The Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy is the program formerly known as Urban Policy Analysis and Management.


The School Diversity Advisory Group, co-chaired by Henry Cohen Professor Maya Wiley, Releases Its Report

The key recommendation of the newly released report, commissioned by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and titled Making the Grade: The Path to Real Integration and Equity for NYC Public School Students, is a call for the city to set diversity targets for all schools that reflect the diversity of the entire community. In a statement released to the New York Times, Maya Wiley said: “We look forward to the Chancellor’s and Mayor’s commitment to implementing these recommendations and will continue to make more recommendations to support schools that reflect who we are as a city.” The report is ...

A Q & A with Faculty Member Mindy Fullilove

Mindy Fullilove, Professor of Urban Policy and Health, sits down to talk about her teaching and her work with our Public and Urban Policy student ambassador.    ...

Public and Urban Policy Brown Bag | NYC’s Affordable Housing Plan Under de Blasio and the Limits of Local Initiative in Making Housing Affordable

In the spring of 2014 New York City’s newly elect, Mayor Bill de Blasio, launched an ambitious plan to build or preserve 200,000 housing units over 10 years—a goal that was subsequently raised to 300,000 over 12 years. Nearly five years later, the city is on pace to meet these goals. However, despite its accomplishments to date, advocates have criticized the plan for failing to provide housing that is affordable to most residents of low-income neighborhoods, and, perversely, for aggravating the affordable housing crisis by fostering gentrification. In this talk, Alex Schwartz, Professor of Urban Policy at Milano and author of, Housing Policy in the United States, ...

Meet Oscar Sosa López, Visiting Professor of Policy and Social Justice

We are delighted to announce that Oscar Sosa López will be joining the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment this spring as Visiting Professor of Policy and Social Justice. Oscar is a critical planning and international development scholar. His research and teaching are concerned with uncovering and overcoming existing barriers to equitable and sustainable urban development. His work draws on theories and methods from planning, geography, sociology and anthropology to examine the relationship between policymaking, democracy and social justice. Oscar’s current research is focused on understanding the relationship between sustainable transportation policy and urban citizenship. His book project, The Politics of ...

New Faculty Publication

Policy Analysis as Problem Solving: A Flexible and Evidence-Based Framework, Rachel Meltzer and Alex Schwartz (Routledge, 2018) Policy Analysis as Problem Solving takes a pragmatic, heterodox approach to the field. Whereas most texts on policy analysis are anchored in microeconomics, prioritizing economic efficiency, this book employs a broader view, drawing from multiple disciplines, both qualitative and quantitative modalities, and realistic examples to illustrate the full scope of policy analysis.   Includes downloadable resources—interviews, case studies, and further readings—of enormous benefit to both students and instructors of policy analysis ...

Nathaniel Smith ’00 Leader for Social Equity & Environmental Justice in the New South

As a child, Nathaniel Smith, MS Urban Policy Analysis and Management ’00 (now the Public and Urban Policy program), knew that he would grow up to be a fighter for civil rights and social equity. Raised in Atlanta, he admired the work of his parents, who engaged in civil rights activism under the tutelage of Martin Luther King, Jr. “I saw the importance of everyday people working to create a better society,” the Milano School alumnus said. Since 2008, as founder, chief equity officer, and CEO of the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), Smith has led efforts to promote growth ...

Congratulating Our December Grads | Toasting Our Alums | Celebrating Darrick Hamilton

Congratulating Our December Grads. Toasting Our Alums.🥂 Celebrating Darrick Hamilton.Posted by Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment on Monday, December 17, 2018   ...

Flávia Leite ’17 Bridging Two Continents

Alumna Flávia Leite is back in Brazil working as an advisor for São Paulo Parcerias, a mixed capital company linked to the municipality of São Paulo. But she hasn’t left New York and The New School behind. The path Flávia took that allows her to work in Brazil, yet keep a connection to New York City and The New School, is an interesting one. While studying for her Master’s degree in Public and Urban Policy at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment, Flávia participated in the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) Public Policy Fellow Program. The work she developed there ...

Milano Students Co-author New Report Released by the Center for New York City Affairs

In 2016, New York City rolled out a small pilot project intended to address a problem that many in the city had long ignored or taken for granted: While New York’s public school population is one of the most diverse in the country, it is also one of the most starkly segregated by race and class. The pilot—called the Diversity in Admissions initiative—grew quickly. A new report, released by the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA), assesses the promises and limitations of the Diversity in Admissions initiative, as well as its outcomes so far. The report, “Promising Outcomes, Limited ...

Study by Alum Flávia Leite ’17 and SCEPA’s Bridget Fisher Draws Press Attention

A case study of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project by Public and Urban Policy MS alumna Flávia Leite and Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis Associate Director Bridget Fisher is in the news this week. Their research is prominently featured in a recent article in the Gothamist, “New School Study Uncovers Another $1 Billion In Hudson Yards Subsidies.”  An editorial on Amazon’s “second headquarters” appearing in the New York Post also references their study. Their report, The Cost of NYC's Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, which they are currently submitting to academic journals for future publication, reveals the staggering public price ...