The School of Urban and Public Affairs was originally established in 1967 as the Institute of Urban Studies, by an act of the Texas Legislature. The institute's legislatively mandated mission is to conduct research and provide technical assistance to Texas city and county governments and public agencies, and to offer education and teaching opportunities for individuals either already in or contemplating public-service careers.
In 1990, after significant expansion of staff and programs, the organization that grew up around the institute became the School of Urban and Public Affairs. The Institute continues to operate as an integral part of the school.
SUPA offers an undergraduate degree program in Interdisciplinary Studies (INTS). The INTS degree allows students to develop an individualized degree plan that focuses on the students academic or career goals. These individualized degrees allow students to develop academic themes or topics that fall outside the usual disciplinary boundaries.
In addition, SUPA offers three minor programs for undergraduates: in public administration, urban planning and the environment, and urban affairs and public policy.
SUPA currently offers six programs of graduate-level study: the Master of Arts in Urban Affairs, the Master of City and Regional Planning, the Master of Public Administration, the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability Track, PhD in Urban and Public Administration and the PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy.
In addition, SUPA participates in graduate, dual-degree programs with Architecture, Civil Engineering, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Education, Environmental Science, Landscape Architecture, Nursing, Human Resource Management and Social Work. It also cooperates with the UTA colleges of Engineering and Science in an interdisciplinary program leading to master's and doctoral degrees in environmental science and engineering.
The School of Urban and Public Affairs also offers certificate programs in Development Review, Geographic Information Systems, Urban Journalism, Urban Nonprofit Management and the Certified Public Manager Program.
A distinguishing feature of the school is its location in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, a rich urban laboratory of more than 200 cities with a total population of approximately 6.1 million. This complex urban arena offers a wide array of opportunities for student projects, internships and employment. SUPA faculty, staff and students work on "real-life" urban and public affairs projects in cooperation with city governments, public agencies and nonprofit organizations.
More than 1,500 students have earned graduate degrees at SUPA. Many hold key management positions in local governments, public agencies and nonprofit organizations nationwide. In addition, SUPA has awarded over 4,000 undergraduate degrees within the Interdisciplinary Studies program.
Currently, SUPA has a diverse graduate student body of approximately 350 students. Many of these students also hold full- or part-time positions in government, private or nonprofit organizations. Enrollment in our Interdisciplinary Studies program has rapidly increased to approximately 700 students.
SUPA offers courses in the afternoons, evenings, and on weekends to accommodate working professionals. It also offers online core courses and courses between long semesters (i.e. wintermester and maymester).