Common UEP questions

Updated Q: You mention Cities below, but what are requirements for the other core courses?

  • Everyone must take Foundations in their first semester, as well as Quant. You have to take Econ in your first spring semester. Those are the only requirements. You can get a waiver for either Quant or Econ if you majored in the subject or if you have significant work experience using those methods. Those are the only acceptable criteria for a waiver. If you want to try to waive Quant or Econ, contact Mary Davis or the folks at the office.

Q: How many classes should I take, and when?

  • A common courseload schedule for UEP is 4-4-3-1. For non-native English speakers and folks working a lot, three courses per semester might be more comfortable than four. UEP allows you to count your thesis as one credit instead of two, if you want to squeeze in another class for credit. But most faculty are also happy to have an enthusiastic auditor in their course, if you want to take a class but not for credit.

Q: When should I take Cities in Space, Place, and Time?

  • Cities is the only core course whose timing we get to decide. It’s offered in the fall, and you can take it during your first year or your second year. Last year, some people felt like they benefited from taking Foundations and Cities at the same time, that the two courses complimented each other. Foundations is more on the theoretical side of planning and policy (at least it was last year) and Cities is more on the historical side. Other people felt like that combination didn’t matter, or even that they’d prefer not to pair them. I liked having them at the same time, but it’s really up to you based on what other courses you want to take. Cities is also a good place to meet people who aren’t in your class year, because it’s about half and half usually.

    Barbara raises another factor: if you see an elective you really want to take this fall, then she recommends doing the elective in place of Cities. But if you don’t see something else you really want to take,  then go ahead and take Cities. That leaves you free the fall of your 2nd year for an elective.

Q: How many hours do UEPers normally study?

  • I always have trouble estimating this sort of thing, partly because it varies greatly depending on your personal learning style. Some people are good at skimming or reading only the important bits, and then it will take less time. Some people need to read every word closely, and for those people it will take more time. Also, it depends greatly on what classes you take. Some classes put more emphasis on the readings, and some put less. A figure the faculty sometimes cite is 10 hours per week per class, but that seems like a little high to both me and Ann U. Perhaps a good metric is this: for most people, working more than 15-20 hours per week and doing all their classwork is too much.

Q: How many people pursue dual degrees or other joint concentrations in each year?

  • Ann says about 8-10 students per year are enrolled in a joint or dual degree program. Typically about 2-3 with Child Development, maybe 1 in Economics, 2-4 in AFE with Friedman, 1-2 in Fletcher. There used to not be many Fletcher dual degrees, but there used to be 1-2 with Engineering. However, it’s all up to you. If everyone in the incoming class wanted to do a dual degree…that would be a lot. But the number could be a lot higher or lower; it’s up to you.

Q: What extracurricular activities do UEP students get involved in?

  • UEP has the Student Policy and Planning Association (SPPA), which organizes weekly socials (Thursty Thursdays) and other events for UEP students. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) puts on a lot of events for grad students, as does the Graduate Student Council (GSC). Also, the Tufts Institute for the Environment (TIE) and the Office of Sustainability (OoS) host events that UEP students attend, as do Fletcher School (international relations) and Tisch College (volunteerism and citizenship). You’ll get emails for most of these events. People generally don’t get involved in clubs the way you do during undergrad, but there are lots of other fun things that happen. Last year, several UEPers were involved in HONK!fest, a festival of activist street bands that happens around Davis Square around the end of September. Other people get involved in organizations like Bikes Not Bombs in Jamaica Plain (JP). Some people work, which takes up a chunk of time. A lot of social activity, though, happens informally within UEP.

Q: Do you walk around campus or bike?

  • The campus is small enough and hilly enough that to get around campus, most people walk. However, a lot of students do bike to campus, and some hardcore people even bike to class in the winter!

Q: Where do people study around campus?

In rough order of popularity:

  1. Tower Cafe (in Tisch Library, snacks & coffee)
  2. GIS Lab
  3. Student Center (mediocre but plentiful food)
  4. Tisch Library
  5. White House
  6. Brown House
  7. Grad Student Lounge (snacks and printing and no undergrads)

Q: Where is there good food near campus?

  • Boloco, just north of campus
  • Nick’s Pizza, just north of campus
  • Yoshi’s, in Powderhouse Square
  • Tu y Yo, in Powderhouse Square
  • Sound Bites, in Ball Square
  • Istanbulu’u, in Teele Square
  • PJ Ryan’s, in Teele Square
  • Boston Burger Company, in Davis Square
  • Dave’s Fresh Pasta, in Davis Square
  • Anna’s Taqueria, in Davis Square
  • Blue Shirt Cafe, in Davis Square
  • Mike’s, in Davis Square
  • Redbones, in Davis Square

Q: Where are the good coffeeshops?

  • Danish Pastry House, just north of campus
  • Diesel Cafe in Davis Square
  • True Grounds in Ball Square
  • Cafe Rustica, near Porter Square
  • Simon’s Coffee House, near Porter Square (one of Julian’s favorites)

Q: What’s the deal with the internship?

  • Most people do their internship in the summer after the first year, but you don’t have to – you can do it during the semester as well. A lot of people count their job as their UEP internship if it’s applicable. And applicability is flexible as well: one of last year’s second-years got a summer job working at big music festivals working to make them greener, and it was fine. That topic then became his thesis. It’s never too early to start looking for good internships, but for our year the period between mid-March and mid-April was the most comfortable window in which to find one for the summer. Many people were still scrambling for internships after that, though.

Q: Where do I go for student services stuff?

Q: How do I get a refund on excess financial aid?

Q: Where is there a microwave that I can use to heat my (home-made, organic, totally delicious) lunch/dinner?

  1. Brown House, in the kitchen. Great if you want to hang out with other lunching UEPers or you want to wash your dishes.
  2. Mayer Student Center third floor. Go up the stairs where the banners, turn up the stairs to the right then turn left at the top of the flight.
  3. Tisch College basement. Enter the side door of Lincoln-Filene to the right just before the main entrance to Tisch College. Go down the stairs, then turn left. The microwave is on the left. Theoretically, this one is only for Tisch College staff, I assume. But everyone has always been friendly and welcoming down there.