Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: BA in Urban Studies and Planning followed by MUP?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    29

    BA in Urban Studies and Planning followed by MUP?

    Hi all,

    Graduated about 6 months ago with a BA in Planning. I am close to getting some unpaid internships, but still want to go back to school for my MUP. But is having the same concentrations in my Bachelor's and Master's a bad thing?

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    9,739
    We have this discussion every once and a while (you can probably search to find a couple other threads like this) but I personally believe there is no harm in the double degree in Planning. Maybe it is because I did it, or maybe it was because if you want to move up in planning you really need a masters. If you were asking prior to getting the undergrad I would tell you to get it in finance, economics, or something else... but if you are asking about the masters... get it*.



    *The one huge caveat is that you shouldn't overspend for your master's. Ivies are a waste of money.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    4,907
    I am of the school of diversification, especially if you intend to stay in CA. You probably won't learn a whole lot of new. It also all boils down to what you want to do in planning 5-10 years down the road. Have you put any thought into that? FYI I just hold a BSCRP degree.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    744
    Well, is your BA a PAB-accredited degree? If not, and if you want to be a planner, getting an accredited masters would be beneficial, I think.

  5. #5
    If you do decide to go to grad school for a MUP, try to attend a different institution than your undergrad to learn new things from different professors.
    The content contrarian

  6. #6
    Its just a really short-sighted idea. Your graduate degree is what caps your education. This will likely be the last degree you obtain. And if you should ever have to apply for a non-planning job (which is certain), you'll have to explain how your educational background supports that job. Doing this with two degrees in a very specialized field is not going to be easy.

    If I can say one thing to anyone out there considering this, for heaven's sake, diversify, diversify, diversify. You will not gain much, if anything, by getting another degree in planning. Planning is not a field, after all, where research really matters.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,395
    Quote Originally posted by jabba rookie View post
    Graduated about 6 months ago with a BA in Planning. I am close to getting some unpaid internships, but still want to go back to school for my MUP. But is having the same concentrations in my Bachelor's and Master's a bad thing?
    I just don't see how our political economy will fix itself (and scanning the pitchfork sales...scanning...scanning...they are still low, so no change on the horizon) and the economy will grow enough to clear the backlog of out of work planners and graduates to make room for you, no matter how wonderful you are. If you must do it, why not an MPA or something along those lines? And a tech school for bartending while you are at it.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    29
    Thanks for all the replies.

    Yes, I forgot to mention that the Planning program at my school is unaccredited. Does that change things?

    I'm really interested in heading toward the environmental/sustainability route. Both UCLA and USC offer concentrations in those areas that interest me.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2010
    Location
    I'm gettin' there
    Posts
    927
    Quote Originally posted by jabba rookie View post
    Yes, I forgot to mention that the Planning program at my school is unaccredited. Does that change things?

    I'm really interested in heading toward the environmental/sustainability route. Both UCLA and USC offer concentrations in those areas that interest me.
    I don't think the accredited issue plays all that big of a factor, the only time I even hear it come up is in reference to the timeline for AICP eligibility. If you feel that you have gained something substantial from you undergraduate program, then you're right in there competing with all of the other qualified entry-level candidates.

    Although I don't think there is anything wrong with the BURP and MURP combined, I have always avoided that route because it significantly narrows the list of jobs I will be able to apply for compared to an MPA. I just don't see MURP candidates having all that much of an edge over MPA candidates when applying for planning jobs.

    Regardless of what you decide to do, gaining professional experience with internships and/or volunteering is the best way to figure out if planning is what you really want to do.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    29
    It seems like the general consensus is to *NOT* get my Masters in Planning... I recently got an internship at the county planning dept. so I guess I'll feel things and see where I can go from there... If the internship doesn't help in future job prospects, I don't see a choice BUT to get my MUP....

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    156
    I got a BA in geography (urban studies) and a MS in environmental planning. I just got an entry-level planning job doing mostly current planning, but I do have expertise in another field that may help me in future, and at times in my current job.
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    29
    Quote Originally posted by Kingmak View post
    I got a BA in geography (urban studies) and a MS in environmental planning. I just got an entry-level planning job doing mostly current planning, but I do have expertise in another field that may help me in future, and at times in my current job.
    This actually makes a lot of sense. Does anyone else agree?

  13. #13
    chocolatechip's recommendations on typical paths to plannerdom and related professions:

    If you want to be a real estate development or economic development planner:
    Bachelors in Business; OR Economics; OR Planning.
    + Masters in Planning (if BS was in non-planning); OR MBA (if BS was in planning).

    If you want to be a current planning, long range, environmental, etc. planner (government or consultant work that supports government):
    Bachelors in Geography; OR Environmental Studies; Planning; OR Anything
    + Masters in Planning; OR MPA; OR MPP

    If you want to be an urban designer (not a planner!):
    Bachelors in Anything That Support Design; OR Architecture
    + Masters in Architecture; OR Planning (if BS was in Architecture)

    If you want to be an architect:
    Any Bachelors OR Masters of Architecture program that is professionally accredited.

    If you want to be a policy-oriented planner/analyst (government work, non-profit, think tank, DC intern-types):
    Bachelors in Political Science, OR Planning, OR Anything That Isn't Too Embarrassing
    + Masters in Planning (if BS was in non-planning); OR Public Administration; OR Public Policy

    Further thoughts: Accreditation only really matters where the profession requires it to practice (e.g. architecture). Since, I believe, only one or two states in the nation oddly require professional accreditation to practice planning, and since AICP is stupid, I'd say having a non-accredited planning degree is perfectly fine. What matters more is the strength and relevance of your education and personal achievements. Some planning schools are really just vaguely defined Etcetera Degrees, like UC Davis's Community Development undergrad degree. Useless on its own. Might as well do an undergrad degree in something you really dig, like Vagina Studies or Underwater Photography. Don't worry, the planning graduate schools will still take you.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    156
    Might as well do an undergrad degree in something you really dig, like Vagina Studies or Underwater Photography. Don't worry, the planning graduate schools will still take you.
    Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I minored in sociology...and vagina studies.
    "The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,790
    If you want to be an urban designer (not a planner!):

    Careful,

    1. physical site design IS a part of planning,
    2. urban design is an entire category on the AICP exam, and
    3. Yes, I am going to get you on that technicality each and every time.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  16. #16
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,120
    Quote Originally posted by HomerJ View post
    I don't think the accredited issue plays all that big of a factor, the only time I even hear it come up is in reference to the timeline for AICP eligibility. If you feel that you have gained something substantial from you undergraduate program, then you're right in there competing with all of the other qualified entry-level candidates.
    Some HR departments like to throw in "accredited degrees" in their list of entry level requirements. I have no idea if it actually matters unless you're considering your potential AICP timeline, but it is out there.

    I personally wouldn't do a MUP after my BSCRP degree. It seems rather redundant (since I took the same classes), and my degree + experience makes me feel as competitive in the job market. I would rather do a Masters of Real Estate or MPA for the sake of diversity. Since you (the thread starter) have an internship, it would make sense to build from there and learn what you want to do (before tackling on more debt).
    Last edited by dw914er; 13 Jan 2013 at 11:40 PM.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    If you want to be an urban designer (not a planner!):

    Careful,

    1. physical site design IS a part of planning,
    2. urban design is an entire category on the AICP exam, and
    3. Yes, I am going to get you on that technicality each and every time.
    Urban design may be related to planning, but they are largely sequestered in architecture firms. Do students dabble in design in a planning program? Sure. But urban design as a profession is very different than city (municipal) planning as a profession.

  18. #18
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    9,739
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Urban design may be related to planning, but they are largely sequestered in architecture firms. Do students dabble in design in a planning program? Sure. But urban design as a profession is very different than city (municipal) planning as a profession.
    I agree. If Urban Design is your "thing" get a landscape architecture undergrad and then a masters in urban design. Although they live in the planning world, most urban designers are more design and landscape based.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    744
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Urban design may be related to planning, but they are largely sequestered in architecture firms. Do students dabble in design in a planning program? Sure. But urban design as a profession is very different than city (municipal) planning as a profession.
    As an urban designer, I disagree with this statement. Urban design is not a profession or organized discipline. It is an interdisciplinary focus of practice or specialization that draws from several disciplines. There is no recognized professional association of urban designers. Although there are several foundations and not-for-profits that participate in dialogue around urban design, none of them are even remotely considered to represent urban designers in any way. It's practitioners - at least in a US context - are either architects (mostly), urban planners (somewhat), landscape architects (less so). For example, urban design degree programs (such as Columbia MSUD, Harvard MAUD, etc) will generally require one to have an existing professional degree in architecture, and, somewhat less frequently, existing professional degrees in planning or landscape architecture are accepted as well, although you don't need one of these specialized urban design second degrees to practice urban design. Most people come to it simply by specializing in it in the work they do as architects, landscape architects and urban planners. Historically, landscape architecture is more linked with the planning side of urban design (given that American planning came out of landscape architecture, while the architectural route to urban design has been somewhat distinct, academically speaking..

    If you want to do urban design and you're just starting out, get a professional degree in architecture or urban planner, and perhaps landscape architecture, making sure you get requisite course-work, studio and thesis experience in areas such as urban design, programming, landscape design, civic design, real estate development typologies, etc., and then, after school, start developing a work portfolio of projects at the requisite scale, angling to get on as many urban-scale masterplanning, building, streetscape/public scape design, design guideline, and civic projects as often as possible. That way you can position yourself to do "urban design," whether in the public or private sectors.

    So long as you have the requisite design skills, experience, and design sense, my employer does not differentiate between architects and urban planners when hiring urban designers. In theory, we would consider hiring a landscape architect for this role as well, but we often find that they lack the needed skills on the building side, so we've been unable to find any that fit the bill, and the two LAs we did try to employ in this capacity soon got shifted to project mgmt and construction admin roles because their skills weren't a good fit as designers (your buildings aren't buildings! you can't have a building that's 15' wide, irrespective of how good it makes the streetscape or open space around it look! Also, you need an entrance to the street! Please.. try using some common sense... and I'm not exaggerating). It does not help us that you know how to design a streetscape or form the land for a park, if you do not know how the adjacent streetsfront stores and office buildings overhead should be configured or how their spatial control regulation (zoning, formcoding, UDGs, etc) works. We find that architects and planners can develop to have a good understanding of landscape issues in urban design. We find the opposite to be more difficult.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 14 Jan 2013 at 11:02 AM.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,395
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    As an urban designer, I disagree with this statement. Urban design is not a profession or organized discipline. ... It does not help us that you know how to design a streetscape or form the land for a park, if you do not know how the adjacent streetsfront stores and office buildings overhead should be configured or how their spatial control regulation (zoning, formcoding, UDGs, etc) works. We find that architects and planners can develop to have a good understanding of landscape issues in urban design. We find the opposite to be more difficult.
    I think the issue is that if you work in a city, you won't be doing much design unless you get lucky and get hired in one of the top 25 metros and their planning department just so happens to have enough money to pay a staffer to do mostly design. As for the other 434 metro areas, probably not. Therefore you are working for a firm that has enough business to keep designers employed (as opposed to LArchs doing the work).

    .02
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  21. #21
    Urban design is not a profession or organized discipline. It is an interdisciplinary focus of practice or specialization that draws from several disciplines.
    Any profession could be described as an "interdisciplinary focus of practice or specialization." In other words, you "draw on different areas of knowledge to do stuff." I'm sorry I wasn't splitting hairs when describing your profess.. er, your focus of practice, but for the purposes of this discussion, being occupied as an urban designer is a world away from municipal planning.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 0
    Last post: 04 Jan 2013, 3:14 PM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last post: 02 Jun 2010, 7:42 AM
  3. Replies: 3
    Last post: 25 Jul 2009, 10:25 PM
  4. Replies: 17
    Last post: 06 Nov 2005, 8:02 AM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last post: 12 Aug 2005, 12:07 AM