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Thread: Dilemma - in grad school for planning but also interested in design

  1. #1
    Member
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    Dilemma - in grad school for planning but also interested in design

    Hello all,

    I've been reading through the posts on this board and I'm hoping that some of you will either have great advice for me or can at least commissurate with me

    I just finished my first year of a planning program (at UT Austin). I initially was drawn to this field because of my interest in the built environment (though did not want to get an architecture degree necessarily) and my "planning/analyst" related skills gained from an engineering degree and 8 years in corporate America. My main goal with all of this is to get a fulfilling job where I am able to make a (positive) influence on communities - primarily aesthetically - I am very intrigued with the feeling of public spaces and placemaking.

    After a year in my program, I am becoming more and more interested in design. I am taking a design class this summer that should hopefully give me some idea of my skills. My school has said that I can put together a joint program with planning and design.

    My question is - is it possible to get a job (probably in the private sector, I'm guessing) with just a planning degree (but with some design classes) that will allow me some creativity and some responsibilities dealing with placemaking? Or should I go for a dual degree with Urban Design? At this point it's probably not an option for me to get an MLA.

    I apologize for the overload of information - I am having a "why am I in grad school?" moment and I'm trying to sort through my career options!

    Thanks!
    Sara

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by saramh View post
    My question is - is it possible to get a job (probably in the private sector, I'm guessing) with just a planning degree (but with some design classes) that will allow me some creativity and some responsibilities dealing with placemaking? Or should I go for a dual degree with Urban Design? At this point it's probably not an option for me to get an MLA.
    Without a design degree, you might need to play up your design coursework to get into a designer position (I went that route with a BAUP and now work as land use planner/urban designer). I agree, an MLA or MArch requires a serious time committment. Would you need to enroll in the urban design degree immediately to graduate on time with the MUP, or would you need to spend an extra year anyway? I'm always skeptical of MUD programs, and personally, I would test the waters first with a course of two in design and see if you like it, before diving right into an MUD program.

    If you are interested, PM me, and I can show you a couple of examples of how I took a quasi-design school project and turned it around into construction documents (basically it's how I got my current job).

  3. #3
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    Thanks! That's sort of the direction I have been thinking in the past couple days - that I should take a couple classes first. Yes, the MUD would take an extra year and I am also a little skeptical if it would be worth it.

    I would love to hear about how you got a job as a land use planner/designer, because that's one of the options I want to explore. Apparently I have to have 5 posts before I can PM someone, so I will contact you as soon as I can!

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Mar 2008
    Location
    London, England
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    Well you are lucky enought to be at one of the few schools in the country with a MUD program. Currently I am a landscape architect and I have been looking to get my MUD or MURP. The only problem with a MUD is there is no licensure related to it, as opposed to Landscape Architecture. This means that you would most likely be working in a private firm with somewhat limited potential in the company, since you don't have a degree in LA or Arch.

    Given your studies already though, I would look into finishing your planning program with the design classes. This will give you a well rounded education and should be very desirable when finished.

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