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dixiecupdrinking

Urban planning grad programs

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I'm curious if anyone here has experience or is familiar with graduate programs in urban planning. Have any of you done masters degrees in similar fields? What schools are considered to have good programs? Does anyone here actually work in planning or urban issues, and how would someone get into the 'industry,' such as it is.

I'm going to be a senior in college this year and so I'm thinking about what comes afterward. I may have already shot myself in the foot with my academic decisions -- probably the most pointless of all pointless English majors. :blush: But I am doing an economics minor, have taken a handful of geography and urban studies courses, and am writing my thesis this fall on portrayals of suburban America in twentieth century literature. For what it's worth. I just looked at McGill's program, which interestingly was the first to come up on a Google search, because I'm in Montreal for the weekend, and they have a list of bachelors degrees they consider, among which English is not. Fair enough.

So - how would I get involved? Transportation issues, urban development, these things are really interesting to me and it seems like a shame to be locked out of working in those fields just because I got seduced by the siren song of the liberal arts.

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I'm curious if anyone here has experience or is familiar with graduate programs in urban planning. Have any of you done masters degrees in similar fields? What schools are considered to have good programs? Does anyone here actually work in planning or urban issues, and how would someone get into the 'industry,' such as it is.

I'm going to be a senior in college this year and so I'm thinking about what comes afterward. I may have already shot myself in the foot with my academic decisions -- probably the most pointless of all pointless English majors. :blush: But I am doing an economics minor, have taken a handful of geography and urban studies courses, and am writing my thesis this fall on portrayals of suburban America in twentieth century literature. For what it's worth. I just looked at McGill's program, which interestingly was the first to come up on a Google search, because I'm in Montreal for the weekend, and they have a list of bachelors degrees they consider, among which English is not. Fair enough.

So - how would I get involved? Transportation issues, urban development, these things are really interesting to me and it seems like a shame to be locked out of working in those fields just because I got seduced by the siren song of the liberal arts.

Seeing that you're in Poughkeepsie now, you should check out SUNY Albany's grad program. You can concentrate in transportation planning, economic development, environmental planning, or land use planning. I think UMASS Amherst also has a great program.

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Transportation issues, urban development, these things are really interesting to me and it seems like a shame to be locked out of working in those fields just because I got seduced by the siren song of the liberal arts.

you don't want a grad program in planning or any other design field that does not value your background in the liberal arts. maybe not all programs value such a background, but the program i enrolled in certainly did, and most of the professors hold undergrad degrees in things like English, History, Classics and Fine Arts. their grad degrees are from harvard, LSU, columbia, etc. - so there are programs out there who want someone with a humane perspective on why it is that we design places & things for people, and how those things can serve ends other than - and in addition to - profit. planning & design education ought to be a looooong learning curve, informed by liberal learning early on and specific topical issues and skills later on. i think your liberal education will serve you well in the planning field, and is something for which you should NEVER apologize.

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Don't let that English major get you down. I went into the Master of City and Regional Planning (Urban Planning) program at Rutgers with a B.A. in History. Some of my friends at Rutgers came in with English and other seemingly random degrees. Like you I took geography classes as an undergrad, and I did find them helpful in grad school. Those courses and your thesis topic will show the administration at the schools you apply to that you have been exposed to some principles and tools planners use and they add credibility to your interest in planning. Your undergraduate field is less important to your reviewers than the intelligence you demonstrate (GPA and GRE) and the true interest and determination they feel you have to pursue a career in the field (which you communicate by your application and personal statement/essay/interview).

Where you should apply and go is up to you. You should find schools that offer the concentrations and courses that interest you the most. You should definitely look only into schools that have programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (Here's their 2006 list). There is no official ranking of planning programs, but there is sort of a "top tier." More importantly, if you have a concentration in mind, find the best places for that concentration.

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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. I'm definitely going to look into this further. I'll probably take at least a year or two off before going to grad school one way or another, so there's time a-plenty. I guess the first step is to narrow down the search a little bit. I'm not sure what aspects of planning I'd even want to study yet. Looks like plenty of research is on the horizon.

Like I said, I just got back from a weekend trip to Montreal with a few friends, and it made me realize all over again that this is really something I might want to pursue further.. nobody else was nearly as fascinated by, say, learning that no buildings can be taller than Mont Royal there, and I got a lot of snarky jabs for REALLY wanting to ride the Metro! :whistling:

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It kind of amazes me that there aren't more programs out there. For instance, I looked at one of the lists, and there is nothing at all in the State of Connecticut. The closest would be Albany or UMass Amherst....

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I will be starting my freshman year at Manhattan College in the Riverdale section of the Bronx this year. They have an Urban Studies major...I am not sure what there graduate majors are like. For me I will be double majoring in Urban Studies and Business.

Also in the riverdale section of the bronx the College of Mt St Vincent offers an Urban Studies major.

Fordham University Lincoln Center in Manhattan offers Urban Studies. There main campus is Fordham University Rose Hill in the Bronx but I believe Urban Studies as well as programs such as the law school are at Lincoln Center

In Boston I think Boston University offers an urban planning major

Again you would have to check if these are offered in the graduate program

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SCSU has a Grad Program in Urban Studies, you can concentrate on Planning, however, I wouldn't give it my two thumbs up, too bad UConn doesn't offer anything related to the subject. I would have had my degree already. BU has a good program, but it's expensive.

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I'm curious if anyone here has experience or is familiar with graduate programs in urban planning. Have any of you done masters degrees in similar fields? What schools are considered to have good programs? Does anyone here actually work in planning or urban issues, and how would someone get into the 'industry,' such as it is.

I'm going to be a senior in college this year and so I'm thinking about what comes afterward. I may have already shot myself in the foot with my academic decisions -- probably the most pointless of all pointless English majors. :blush: But I am doing an economics minor, have taken a handful of geography and urban studies courses, and am writing my thesis this fall on portrayals of suburban America in twentieth century literature. For what it's worth. I just looked at McGill's program, which interestingly was the first to come up on a Google search, because I'm in Montreal for the weekend, and they have a list of bachelors degrees they consider, among which English is not. Fair enough.

So - how would I get involved? Transportation issues, urban development, these things are really interesting to me and it seems like a shame to be locked out of working in those fields just because I got seduced by the siren song of the liberal arts.

I got my Masters in civil engineering, with focus in transportation, with more focus in transportation planning engineering. With that, I had no problem finding a job with a government agency. From what I can tell, good planners (or engineers with focus in planning, which is rare) are in demand.

I can tell you, that if you work for an agency above the city level (regional, state, or federal), or for consultants that do work for the same, then you will really should have practical experience or education. That's a definite necessity (especially if you want to move up the ladder), since investing in the "theoritical" side of urban planning, at least working as a practioner, is a luxury. Planning organizations, DOTs, etc need planners that can make things happen. Being "liberal" or "theoritical" about issues, ideas, etc. will, IMO, set somebody up for dissapointment and bitterness, which appears to be a common trait among some planners I have known. That's my limited two cents-- anyway, best of luck

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Clark Univeristy in Worcester, MA has a good program I believe. Would be a good location with all the projects they have going on in the city. The school has been a frontrunner in developing their run down neighborhood and working with the community instead of driving them out.

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Don't let that English major get you down. I went into the Master of City and Regional Planning (Urban Planning) program at Rutgers with a B.A. in History. Some of my friends at Rutgers came in with English and other seemingly random degrees. Like you I took geography classes as an undergrad, and I did find them helpful in grad school. Those courses and your thesis topic will show the administration at the schools you apply to that you have been exposed to some principles and tools planners use and they add credibility to your interest in planning. Your undergraduate field is less important to your reviewers than the intelligence you demonstrate (GPA and GRE) and the true interest and determination they feel you have to pursue a career in the field (which you communicate by your application and personal statement/essay/interview).

Where you should apply and go is up to you. You should find schools that offer the concentrations and courses that interest you the most. You should definitely look only into schools that have programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (Here's their 2006 list). There is no official ranking of planning programs, but there is sort of a "top tier." More importantly, if you have a concentration in mind, find the best places for that concentration.

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I applied to the Rutgers MCRP program for this fall and am waiting to hear. I've already gotten into UNC, but I live in NYC and would probably want to stay around here. I was wondering what you thought of the program? How easy was it to find a job out of school? Was it more policy based or design based? I'm interested in a few different planning topics environmental, transportation,land use, but haven't picked what I'm most interested in yet.

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So - how would I get involved? Transportation issues, urban development, these things are really interesting to me and it seems like a shame to be locked out of working in those fields just because I got seduced by the siren song of the liberal arts.

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If you have a fascination of cities and how they boom and bust, you might want to check out the planning program at Wayne State University in Detroit. The best thing about it? It's smack dab in the middle of Detroit!! Being so, the opportunities you encounter are limitless and amazing. Just going to class is hands on and interactive. The university itself is a planning work in progress as it is the hub of the Detroit Cultural Center and a catalyst for development, in a city most know as "decayed". That's a false statement. Planning at Wayne speaks the truth about the field and brings the planning world and all that's related to it right to your fingertips. The university is investing billions into the surrounding area which is spurring billions more. During your time at Wayne as a grad student, you will physically see the city transform. I've been here 3 years now and each of those years has been better than the last! There is also options to travel overseas.

Check out the website:

http://www.clas.wayne.edu/gup/

If nothing else, you can contact the department and they would be happy to send you some information.

Also, a side note. The university, along with the City of Detroit is taking 12 city blocks and building a whole new community on the northern periphery of the main campus. It is called Techtown.

http://www.techtownwsu.org/

For economic development in the Midtown Area, see the University Cultural Center Association (for housing options as well):

http://detroitmidtown.com/05/

All the best! :)

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You should not have problems getting into a planning program with a major in English provided that you have other strengths. I got into Columbia with a degree in philosophy, no urban-related coursework and no urban-related work experience.

I think there are many programs out there that accept liberal arts majors. What you need is: good grades, good GREs, good letters of reference, and the ability to write a statement of purpose that weaves together the disparate strands of your past into an arrow pointing in exactly one direction: urban planning [here a major in English will be invaluable]. For example, in my SOP I talked about my interest in cities stemming from growing up in suburbia, travelling the world, and living car free; my background in environmental activism and realization of the link between environmentalism and urbanism; and the connection between the study of philosophy, which attempts to define the common good, and urban planning, which actually tries to enact the common good in a physical built form.

By the way, anyone interested in applying to a Master's in Urban Planning should really sift through the massive archive of discussion on this subject in the "student lounge" section of Cyburbia.org's forums.

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