More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and this proportion will grow in the next few decades. People living in cities can face elevated levels of air and water pollution and extreme weather events such as heat waves and storm surges.

The mission of the Boston University Graduate Program in Urban Biogeoscience and Environmental Health (“BU URBAN”) is to prepare Ph.D. students to tackle urban environmental challenges using interdisciplinary methods and a co-production approach centered on partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Our vision is to create a diverse workforce of scientists and practitioners equipped with the technical knowledge and communication skills necessary for building a sustainable, healthy, and equitable future.

We strive to be an inclusive and welcoming community where all members develop a sense of belonging and truly thrive. We value:

  • Training of students for a variety of career paths
  • Diversity in all its intersectional forms, embracing the full range of contexts, experiences, and futures that our community members hold
  • Communication and operations that are open, accessible, inclusive, respectful, and consider all voices
  • Equitable relationships within the Boston University community and beyond
  • Solutions to environmental challenges faced by cities and their residents, especially the most exposed and vulnerable

For our statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion, click here.

The program in a nutshell:

  • Open to Ph.D. students at Boston University in Biogeoscience (Departments of Biology and Earth & Environment), Environmental Health, Statistics, and Computing & Data Sciences.
  • Includes internships/partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations, and private sector
  • Combines broad training across science, management, policy, communication, and governance.
  • Broadens participation in STEM for underrepresented groups
  • Includes guaranteed support over five years for tuition and stipend


  • BU URBAN was established with a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant to Boston University (DGE 1735087).
  • Boston University occupies ancestral and colonized land of the Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc Nations (learn more).

For more information about BU URBAN, contact Director Pamela Templer ( or Program Manager Heather Ho (