Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Bachelor's vs. Masters

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,005
    Blog entries
    2

    Bachelor's vs. Masters

    It seems to me that a lot of people in the Planning profession have obtained master's degrees. Is this true? The majority in my office have received a Masters as well as the office in which I interned. I only have a bachelor's in geography and have settled nicely into a Planner I.

    Just looking for some thoughts or people like me.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,565
    I would guess that the majority of degreed planners have a masters.

    That being said, I have dual bachelor's degrees (Bachelor of Urban Planning & Development - a 5 year professional undergrad degree & a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design) and have never had any issues moving upward in my career.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Sans Souci
    Posts
    5,265
    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    It seems to me that a lot of people in the Planning profession have obtained master's degrees. Is this true?
    Yes, it is true for a couple of reasons. First, if I'm not mistaken most universities only offer Masters degrees in planning. There are a few that have undergraduate degrees or some type of major emphasis certificate. Second, most students don't start out with planning as a career goal. Most start out in other disciplines. Planning is unique in that so many different acedemic fields have strong applications to community planning. It is a very diverse field. Third, a Masters provides a competitive advantage to the employee. Everyone recognizes this and so it becomes the norm. Of course it could be argued that once it becomes the norm the competitive advantage is lost.

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,565
    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    Yes, it is true for a couple of reasons. First, if I'm not mistaken most universities only offer Masters degrees in planning. There are a few that have undergraduate degrees or some type of major emphasis certificate.
    There are actually more undergrad programs then I had thought.....here's a link to the Planning Accreditation Board's list of degree programs:

    http://showcase.netins.net/web/pab_f...t0304.mswd.pdf
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Someplace between yesterday and tomorrow.
    Posts
    12,101
    Since my job will pay for it, I am going to go for it. (Masters) I received a great education and have a B.S. in "Planning" my masters will only be in "Geography" with an emphasis on planning.

    I figure that the only thing that limits a person’s potential is their level of ambition and knowledge. Therefor I do not plan to stop learning, and with that, new levels of ambition will arise, and from that, doors to new opportunities open.

    A wise man once said, "I will do great things because I choose to.

    Why stop when you can achieve more?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Dragon's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    MS, Not Margaritaville, though we are building one
    Posts
    750
    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    It seems to me that a lot of people in the Planning profession have obtained master's degrees. Is this true? The majority in my office have received a Masters as well as the office in which I interned. I only have a bachelor's in geography and have settled nicely into a Planner I.

    Just looking for some thoughts or people like me.
    I have a Bachelor's and I'm doing fine. Of course I've only been out of school 8 months now. My college didn't offer a Master's in planning, so that isn't an option where I am. However, they do offer a Master's in Economic Development, which has me considering the possibilities.
    “Ahh! Beer. So many choices. And it makes so little difference."
    - Bender

  7. #7
    Member Wulf9's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Near the Geysers
    Posts
    922
    General rule. Old planners don't need a masters. Young planners do.

  8. #8
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,438
    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    General rule. Old planners don't need a masters. Young planners do.
    Speak for yourself. And if you're in California, enroll in the UC Extension land use/planning courses. I did and I probably got more from them than from the bachelors program I graduated from.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,246
    I am beginning work on a Masters in Public Administration with planning emphasis. Just having a Bachelors in Urban & Regional Planning, I have not had much trouble with getting a job. I do think it will help expedite career advancement. Wulf9 does make a somewhat valid point that young planners do need a masters. I think what he really means is that young planners have no experience and must compensate by getting a more advanced degree while older planners have experience to show their level of expertise.

    While most planning jobs say Master's preferred, my experience has been that they don't really mean it--especially with the more entry-level jobs that are looking for 1-2 years experience. You just need to be able to demostrate your knowledge in the interview so that they are comfortable with the lower level of education.

    I do think that an advanced degree is worth it though.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    I'll be a junior this fall working on my bachelor's in geography, and was wondering if employers look at the actual classes you take. I'm filling up my transcript with classes in economics, geology, remote sensing and GIS, which seems to all intertwine with city planning. But does it matter if theres no class called "intro to city planning" or something along the likes on your transcript? Will employers feel that without classes solely about planning you are a step behind the rest? Sometimes i feel i could learn a lot more about planning by browsing websites like this rather than take a class about it.

  11. #11

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    There are lots of good planners out there with Bachelor's degrees - one is sitting on the other side of the wall from me and does a great job here, another is a very good friend. But both of them are pursuing Master's degrees. Partly to enhance their earning/promotion power (my present employer has an automatic merit raise upon completion of an advanced degree, as do many others), but mostly I think because they want to know more, be able to do more.

  12. #12
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,246
    Quote Originally posted by The Fringe
    I'll be a junior this fall working on my bachelor's in geography, and was wondering if employers look at the actual classes you take. I'm filling up my transcript with classes in economics, geology, remote sensing and GIS, which seems to all intertwine with city planning. But does it matter if theres no class called "intro to city planning" or something along the likes on your transcript? Will employers feel that without classes solely about planning you are a step behind the rest? Sometimes i feel i could learn a lot more about planning by browsing websites like this rather than take a class about it.
    Your background in GIS/Remote Sensing & economics would be very attractive to a small town. They often look for planners with at least a working knowledge of that since they usually can't afford another employee to do that exclusively. The one thing I think you definitely need on a transcript is something dealing specificly with issues in land use. Basically, you will want some background in what is/is not OK in the world of planning. The most valuable thing for me was my internship, so I would check around to see what might be available.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,005
    Blog entries
    2
    With regard the The Fringe's concerns, I gradutated college last May as a geography student. My main emphasis was GIS, only having taken basic Planning and Urban Geography courses. If you interested in Planning, do an intership. I inturned with the local municipal planning department and found the education and experience that way. Also I my experience, planning departments like having interested future planners interning, but most have students studying government or public admin. and other related things.
    Also it is said around my current office, that it was my GIS experience that put my resume on top of Planner IIs and other people with more planning experience.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,030

    You could....

    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    With regard the The Fringe's concerns, I gradutated college last May as a geography student. My main emphasis was GIS, only having taken basic Planning and Urban Geography courses. If you interested in Planning, do an intership. I inturned with the local municipal planning department and found the education and experience that way. Also I my experience, planning departments like having interested future planners interning, but most have students studying government or public admin. and other related things.
    Also it is said around my current office, that it was my GIS experience that put my resume on top of Planner IIs and other people with more planning experience.
    You could get the new certificate in GIS at UCD, or a MURP.......or you could get a Masters in Forest Science with an emphasis in Remote Sensing/GIS at CSU 8-|
    What are you waiting for.....?
    Skilled Adoxographer

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    De Noc
    Posts
    17,614
    Quote Originally posted by The One
    You could get the new certificate in GIS at UCD, or a MURP...
    Good plug for our school.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,005
    Blog entries
    2
    Quote Originally posted by The One
    You could get the new certificate in GIS at UCD, or a MURP.......or you could get a Masters in Forest Science with an emphasis in Remote Sensing/GIS at CSU 8-|
    What are you waiting for.....?
    I never liked school, and I am happy making money right now. I need to earn some dough before I think of school again.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  17. #17
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2001
    Location
    skating on thin ice
    Posts
    6,958
    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    General rule. Old planners don't need a masters. Young planners do.


    True enough, but what about those of who are no longer young, on the high side of 30, but on the low side of 40.

    I don't think having a masters makes you a better planner, I know lots that have one and it does not help. I do think one is needed if you are planning on career advancement past intermediate or senior planner. Then again for upper management postions a masters of planning would do little, an MBA or MPA or other education is probably more useful.

    From a person with an honours undergrad in planning who is considering either an MBA, MPA, law or landscape architecture as a way out of the rat race for awhile.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  18. #18
    Cyburbian pandersen's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1998
    Location
    "Off Kilter"
    Posts
    242
    Quote Originally posted by donk
    True enough, but what about those of who are no longer young, on the high side of 30, but on the low side of 40.

    I don't think having a masters makes you a better planner, I know lots that have one and it does not help. I do think one is needed if you are planning on career advancement past intermediate or senior planner. Then again for upper management postions a masters of planning would do little, an MBA or MPA or other education is probably more useful.

    From a person with an honours undergrad in planning who is considering either an MBA, MPA, law or landscape architecture as a way out of the rat race for awhile.

    Donk:
    I agree with you that having a masters degree doesn't necessarily make you a better planner and I also agree that an advanced degree provides a "leg up" if you want to climb the corporate or civil service ladder.

    As for contemplating a career change - everybody has a perfect right to do what is right for them, but I thought I'd offer a few comments as a fellow who has a father who is a retired civil engineer, a sister who is a landscape architect and a mother who studied urban geography at university.

    Every member of my family seems to believe that all the other members of the family have an easier time of it professionally than they do. I guess what I'm trying to say is the grass always appears to be greener on the other side of the fence. That may be true when viewed from afar, but when your standing in that lovely field adjacent to your own, you usually discover its greener because its just had **** spread all over it.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    some cubicle in deep space
    Posts
    14
    I believe a lot of emphasis is placed on getting a Masters but I don't think it is necessary, once you get enough work related experience.

    Getting a Masters degree is more of a personal achievement than a necessity for me.

    While I was doing my undergrad, I did part time work for a consulting firm and during the summers for government agencies. At the end of my undergrad I had gained valuable experience and developed enough contacts to get a good job at the end of the day. Once I was hired - getting my Masters was more of an option b/c the consulting firm I worked for was paying for it.

  20. #20
          roger's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2004
    Location
    austin, tx
    Posts
    118
    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    It seems to me that a lot of people in the Planning profession have obtained master's degrees. Is this true? The majority in my office have received a Masters as well as the office in which I interned. I only have a bachelor's in geography and have settled nicely into a Planner I.

    Just looking for some thoughts or people like me.
    If I were in your shoes and liked my job/prospects, I wouldn't budge. Unless your employer is paying for it.

    I think since most planners do have a master's, it has become a de facto requirement. But, if you have the work experience you could probably end up in the same place in the long run.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 2
    Last post: 23 Feb 2013, 10:47 AM
  2. Replies: 9
    Last post: 10 Oct 2010, 10:37 PM
  3. Replies: 22
    Last post: 20 May 2010, 10:51 PM
  4. Replies: 12
    Last post: 22 Sep 2006, 11:18 AM
  5. Bachelor's vs. Masters
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 12 Aug 2004, 10:39 AM