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Best Urban Planning Master's Programs


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#61 Spartan

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 09:38 PM

Given your background, I would suggest going to a school that offers or requires summer internships or co-ops, because you're going to want to have a little experience going into the workforce after school. Its not necessary but it really does help. You'll find it very difficult to break into the city planning profession without a city planning masters degree (or urban, regional, etc). Thats the defacto industry standard even for small towns.

I highly recommend taking the GRE and going to a school that requires it. You'll get a much better job if you put a little extra effort into it because employers will take that into consideration. It may take a few tries on the GRE, but just hang in there.

There are schools that specialize in certain aspects of planning. I recommend checking out the APB accredited schools from the link that I posted earlier in this thread. Check them out and see which ones have a degree track that focuses on redevelopment and other subjects that interest you.

In the mean time, I suggest trying to get an internship at your local planning office. That will help you get a grasp of things and it will help your resume down the road. In this economy you might have to get an unpaid internship, but its worth the effort.

 

#62 Ooosh

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:43 PM

Hi girls and guys,

I see that this thread has been going for a little while, and I am not sure if people have any interest in continuing it, but I thought I would give it a try.


I am a Canadian university student who is looking into urban planning schools in the United States, and our career services/further education department hasn't been too helpful thus far.

I am in third year doing a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) with medials in Human Geography, and GIS. The "honours" simply means I will be doing a year long thesis next year. My cGPA won't be too impressive, if I am lucky, only a 3.2. I am going to continue working hard and hope to get a 3rd/4th year GPA of about 3.5.

I have looked at the Planetizen top ten, and also have a guide put out by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Plannning that gives some information on the cost per term, number of applications, admissions, etc.

I like the idea of getting into consulting, writing more business-y reports, and using GIS. Is there any information anyone could give me on schools that might focus or at least lean towards this? I am simply looking at program and reputation right now, not necessarily location/size/cost.

Thanks in advance,
Uschi

PS. When I was looking at statistics, many schools say the average age of its students (or applicants) is 25+... I will only be 21 when I graduate, will this hurt me in any way? I understand they look for work experience so should I hold off until I get that? This summer I have an NSERC research grant and will be using ground-based (terrestrial) LiDAR to model urban landscapes, but other than that I haven't had any job experience in planning.

Edited by Ooosh, 21 April 2009 - 04:45 PM.


#63 WillRyan

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 03:37 PM

Hello,

I am a graduating senior, trying to get myself into some programs. I am in the process of applying to Vanderbilt's Economic Development Masters, but I am also interested in Urban Planning. I was thinking about applying to the NYU Masters of Urban Planning (which has a June 1 deadline). I just graduated with a 3.5 GPA from University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a dual major in Econ/International Business.

I'm wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of schools that they think I could get in to (as a fall back). I have set a date for May 23 to take the GRE and I plan to do reasonably well on it. I have a pretty good Resume with volunteer organizations (am a member of Big Brothers) and solid work experience (have held a job throughout my entire senior year), and I have solid recommendations coming from professors who know and like me. Can anyone tell me about some decent Urban Planning programs they think I could definitely get in?

Thanks

#64 Spartan

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 04:33 PM

It's not that easy to say which ones you can 'get in.' You have to apply to each one, and on any given day your chances might be different at any school. The other factor your going to want to consider is whether or not the school can give you an assistantship.

You have lofty goals, and I applaud you for that, but I wouldn't get caught up in going to a school for planning just because of the name. If your goal is to go be a planner somewhere, then I suggest applying to programs in the region you want to work. If you want to stay in the South, presumably in the Tennessee area, you might consider Georgia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, or Memphis. UT used to have one, but they lost their accreditation, so you might look to see if UT is going to re-establish that program.

#65 WillRyan

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 09:40 AM

It's not that easy to say which ones you can 'get in.' You have to apply to each one, and on any given day your chances might be different at any school. The other factor your going to want to consider is whether or not the school can give you an assistantship.

You have lofty goals, and I applaud you for that, but I wouldn't get caught up in going to a school for planning just because of the name. If your goal is to go be a planner somewhere, then I suggest applying to programs in the region you want to work. If you want to stay in the South, presumably in the Tennessee area, you might consider Georgia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, or Memphis. UT used to have one, but they lost their accreditation, so you might look to see if UT is going to re-establish that program.


Thanks for your reply,
I have recently been put in touch with some Cornell Planning graduates; one works at USAID, one at Urban Land Institute, one at World Bank. I am very much interested in working at an international institution, as opposed to planning for a specific city. My question is, I plan to apply for the class of 2010, what is my best bet for gathering experience before I apply to help my chances of getting in a top program? i.e. internship, actual job, independent study, etc?

Obviously, a job or paid internship associated with the field is going to be hard to come by (as I've already looked around pretty hard for these). I know people who got into Cornell and MIT for planning, and they said they basically had to stalk a member of the faculty to get in, even with pretty good credentials. I just took the GRE and made a 1330 (Verbal 570, Quantitative 760). My resume is pretty light on actual urban planning experience; I've worked throughout college, but mostly in unrelated fields. The one piece I do have is working at an engineering firm as a land surveyor (for public and private developments) for one summer.

Thanks for any help

#66 Chiguy810

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:58 PM

Spartan-

You seem to provide great insight on people's questions. Obviously if anyone else would like to offer their perspective, that's more than welcome too.

I'm in a similar position to a few of the other people who have posted on here in that I've figured out that I'd like to go get my Master's in Urban Planning but I really have little experience directly related to it. I don't currently have a full-time job, and would like to begin attending school next fall. Given that, I have about 3 1/2 months before I need to get my apps in if I want to be eligible for assistantships. What is the best way to increase my chances of obtaining one? Volunteer and continue to work part-time? Find an unrelated full-time job to demonstrate more professional experience (I have about 3 years of it across various positions/internships)? Do I need to try to push really hard to forge a relationship with a professor at schools I'm interested in applying to as an "in"?

Also, when people mention the idea of finding an internship or even just getting an informational interview w/the local planning department, is that something that might prove fairly difficult in a big city like Chicago?

#67 phase123

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:19 AM

good discussion.

I wonder is there anyone like me who's spent all years in architecture field and now wants to get into the business academic field? I wonder what's the chance getting a MS in urban planning and economics at the same time? I've 5yrs architecture work experience but NO previous planning experience. will that be a no go for my application?


#68 rynokil

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 08:45 AM

Would a just plain Business degree count?


http://taubmancolleg...e/dual_degrees/

University of Michigan has a great dual degree program. You can combine a degree in Urban Planning with an MBA, a Master's in Public Policy or Urban Design or a certificate in Real Estate Development. Top notch faculty with real world experience and big research credentials, amazing town (Ann Arbor) and close to a city that desperately needs fresh, young ideas (Detroit).

http://taubmancolleg...e/dual_degrees/

#69 cpeakesqr

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:09 PM

I'm about to graduate (BA) this May with a double major in Political Science and International Studies... 3.9 GPA. I took the GRE planning to go on to grad school right away, definitely not in Urban Planning. However, I'm reconsidering grad school for the moment, looking at my options. Planning has been a casual interest of mine for a while now, but I never thought about it as a career. But just now, seriously a few minutes ago, I had an epiphany. Well, maybe it wasn't that momentous, but I had the idea of going into urban planning. As an outsider looking at the field, I don't really know what planning is. So, now that I've admitted my naivete, could I get a rundown? I just have a general interest, I don't really know what the different aspects of a career in urban planning are...

I should probably get a book, right? :P Recommendations?




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