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UEP collaborates with BC for dual−degree program

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 07:12

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Sofia Adams for the Tufts Daily

A new master’s dual degree program between the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Boston College is slated to accept its first cohort of students by next year.

The Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) is awaiting approval by the Board of Trustees to introduce a new dual degree master’s program in conjunction with Boston College’s (BC) Carroll School of Management.

The program combines the discipline of environmental planning and policy with a business management education, giving graduate students the opportunity to gain expertise in both areas.

According to UEP Lecturer Ann Rappaport, the proposal was approved at a recent faculty meeting of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees during its next meeting in February.

“I’m really looking forward to getting the program rolling and getting applicants for it,” she said. “It will give both of our schools a competitive edge and is really different from what Tufts has done in the past. If you think of how much interest there is in social entrepreneurship, this [program will be] an ideal background for it.”

Rappaport explained that students in this program would earn their Master of Arts from UEP after two years of study and then complete their Master’s of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree at the Carroll School after a third year. She noted that this new interschool program would save students time, as pursuing each degree separately takes four years.

Jeffrey Ringuest, associate dean for graduate programs at the Carroll School, said he chose to pursue this program after seeing the successful collaboration of Tufts and BC in the past, such as the dual −degree program between UEP and the BC Law School that was introduced in 2010 for graduate students interested in both law and environmental science.

“In terms of forming a joint program with Tufts, my colleagues over in the law school beat me to it,” he said.

Since BC already features a wide variety of dual−degree programs, Ringuest expects that this newest program will be an easy and natural addition for both schools.

With Ringuest’s approval and the pending support of the Tufts Board of Trustees, the program could be ready to accept students as soon as the next academic year, according to Dean of the GSAS Lynn Pepall.

“As Dean of the Graduate School, I’m very interested in creating programs that are on some sort of career trajectory, where students who do them can then continue on for a career,” she said.

Pepall said that UEP has been developing this program for about two years, explaining that UEP’s emphasis on environmental science and sustainability, combined with the Carroll School’s focus on business, marketing and project management, will create an ideal program for students eager to explore these areas of social entrepreneurship.

“It was kind of like a beautiful epiphany,” she said. “We realized that we each have programs that can benefit members of both constituencies.”

“I think it’s a unique and very interesting opportunity for students in each of these two fields to explore their interests,” Ringuest added. “Boston College and Tufts are also a good complement to one another in a lot of different ways.”

Ringuest anticipates that the program will stay relatively limited in scope, given that BC already has a small M.B.A. program of around 100 students. According to a proposal issued at the recent GSAS faculty meeting, this will likely be the outcome.

“We anticipate that one or two students will enroll in the dual program in the first year, with up to four students enrolled in the program in the future,” the proposal said.

Rappaport believes the program will be a chance for students to develop the skills necessary for creating sustainable businesses.

“They have management and business, and we have sustainability, justice and equity,” Rappaport said of the Carroll School and UEP. “Bringing these two together, I think, is really exciting.”

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