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

Master of Science Public and Urban Policy
2019 Graduate Student Award Winners

Angela Clare Butel | Jacob M. Kaplan Award
Angela Butel focused her studies in the Public and Urban Policy program around quantitative methods and design strategies; her capstone project looked at implementation of service design initiatives in city government. Outside the classroom, she worked as a research assistant at the Center for New York City Affairs, contributing to reports on child care, child welfare, and the City and State budgets. This summer, Angela is moving to Portland, OR, to begin a fellowship with the City Budget Office with the City of Portland.


Emily Jane Oppenheimer | Best Professional Decision Report: “Designing Equitable and Sustainable Models for Microgrids” for WE ACT for Environmental Justice
In May 2019, Emily Oppenheimer earned an MS in Public and Urban Policy from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment. Her final project was a Professional Decision Report for the Harlem-based nonprofit WE ACT for Environmental Justice entitled “Designing Equitable and Sustainable Economic Models for Microgrids.” Her report focused on New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” strategy, which is a set of resolutions aimed to incentivize utilities to embrace new roles in the energy market that enable them to better and more fairly incorporate distributed renewables like rooftop solar and wind. It includes a full analysis of the implications of this strategy for microgrid development, increased incorporation of distributed renewables into the central grid system, and the potential for low-income communities and communities of color to leverage new technologies and policy tools to increase their own capacity for local, democratic planning around energy use and resiliency. She plans to pursue work in the fields of environmental, climate, and energy policy. 

Nicholas Bohan Martin | Best Professional Decision Report: “Vacant Property Speculation and Vacant Property Registration in New York City” for Picture the Homeless

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.

U.S. News & World Report “2020 Best Graduate School” named the Milano School to the Top 100 Public Affairs Schools and #11 in the Urban Policy specialty area.

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.

Public and Urban Policy MS News

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

  Nicole Mader, Melanie Quiroz, and Carmen Cheung co-authored a new Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) study on the proposal to change admission policy at the city’s specialized high schools. Nicole told the New York Daily News that the new plan isn’t “a simple matter of winners and losers, like a lot of people assume. It’s not a zero-sum game.” Nicole is a senior research fellow at the Center and Ph.D. candidate in public and urban policy at The Milano School. Melanie is an education policy data analyst at the Center pursuing a master’s degree in public and ...

Engaging a New Generation in Public Service

This September, The New School’s Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment hosted its first Public Service Weekend, partnering with the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Thirty-two undergraduates and recent graduates from across the metropolitan area, and beyond, visited The New School to participate in the weekend conference around the theme of “Engaging a New Generation to Restore Trust in Public Service.” The Public Service Weekend began with a keynote from University Professor Maya Wiley, who spoke about the importance of people with a wide range ...

Alum Nicole Lau’s Urban Made Project

Nicole Lau (Policy, ’18) specializes in areas of community development finance and small business growth and is currently an Assistant Vice President at Citi Community Development.  She is also the Founder of Urban Made Project, an online community platform that aims to educate and inspire discussions on the need for local manufacturing by telling the stories of the people working in New York’s garment industry. The people featured on the site include Adam Brand, the fourth generation owner of M&S Schmalberg, a custom fabric flower manufacturer, and Janet Rodriguez, the founder of SoHarlem, a nonprofit incubator for fashion micro enterprises in Harlem.  Urban ...

Kate Neifeld, Women in Public Policy Fellow

Kate Neifeld is back at Milano after spending six months as a Women in Public Policy Fellow. The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society (CWGCS) fellowship program is a rigorous, and multi-faceted leadership development program for graduate students. CWGCS believes that the underrepresentation of women in policy leadership positions weakens the democratic foundation of our nation and has critical policy implications for citizens. The over 400 fellows graduated go on to hold high ranking positions in the public service field. Policy-related placements in New York State agencies, the Legislature and statewide nonprofit advocacy organizations are a central component ...

Oscar Sosa López on transportation policy, urban mobility, and citizenship

Oscar Sosa López is teaching a course on Transportation Planning and the Politics of Urban Mobility this fall. We sat down with him to talk about transportation policy, urban mobility, and citizenship. You’ve done a lot of research focused on understanding the relationship between sustainable transportation policy, urban mobility, and citizenship. What made you so interested in this area of study?   I’­m a planner and my core interest is urban citizenship. I’m concerned with the different formal and informal processes through which resources are distributed in cities. These processes produce unequal regimes in which some have access to services and ...

Alumna Sherin Bennett ’11 #100WordsOrLess

The New School is #100YearsNew: 1919-2019. This is our inspiration for asking Milano community members to answer the question (in 100 words or less): “So, what’s new with you?” Here’s what alum Sherin Bennett responded in exactly 100 words. Sherin Bennett Policy, MS 2011 Senior Housing Finance Consultant  California Housing Partnership  Before Milano, I shifted from engineering to theatre to academia. At Milano, the economy crumbled as I sat in my first econ class. How can finance be used for good? Affordable housing. Found my love of teaching as a TA, tackled big questions in CDFL and Policy lab. Post-Milano, ...

Time for a Real Look at How the New York State Workers’ Compensation System Treats Workers

By James Parrott and Nicholas B. Martin '19 Despite an early history as a national leader in safeguarding the interests of workers injured on the job, New York’s workers’ compensation system has eroded considerably over the years, as legislative and administrative changes have often focused on curtailing benefits rather than adapting to changes in the economy, workforce, and business practices. While legislative changes in 2007 and 2017 included some positive measures, for the most part changes significantly lessened the adequacy of worker benefits. The unfortunate result is that the focus of workers’ compensation in New York has shifted from fairly ...

Preparing for the Digital Decennial Census: Building Consent, Equity, and Safety into Digital Transition

The Digital Equity Lab released their report "Preparing For the Digital Decennial Census" which includes an analysis of risk, safety, and trust for the first-ever digital decennial census. As advocates for structural equity, the authors believe the digital transition of the census is understudied and requires both attention and investment at national scale in order to achieve a level of success sufficient for our emerging era of digital governance. In 2020, the United States will hold its first digital census. The Constitution mandates that every ten years the US government must count every household in the country. The demographic and ...

A Talk with Imani Darden ‘14, Host of the Forward 40 Podcast

Imani Darden ‘14 recently launched her podcast called Forward 40, which highlights the experiences of 40 women of color on the rise in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. We caught up with her to find out what she's been doing and how she got into podcasting.  What have you been doing since you left Milano? Immediately after Milano I joined the founding staff for the New York team of a college access nonprofit CollegeSpring. In that role, I developed and managed relationships with a variety of education partners including public, charter, community-based organizations, and higher education institutions to embed the ...

Surging Job Expansion Sets New Big Apple Records | by Thomas DiNapoli ’88

By Thomas P. DiNapoli Thomas P. DiNapoli is the Comptroller of the State of New York. He is a 1988 graduate of the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment at The New School. New York City is experiencing its largest and longest job expansion since the end of World War II. Not only is the city flourishing, it remains a beacon for immigrants from around the world seeking new beginnings and a better life. A report I released in April in my capacity as New York State Comptroller showed that the city added 820,400 jobs between 2009 and 2018, more ...