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Thread: Advice on a masters in planning?

  1. #1
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    Advice on a masters in planning?

    i finished my undergrad about a year ago with a degree in business and have been working in the corporate world since. i'm realizing that its really not for me and am now looking towards beginning work on a masters in planning in the fall of '06.

    i am primarily interested in design and economic development, looking to eventually work for a private firm doing revitalization projects or on the chamber of commerce, convention bureau front. since my background is in business, i don't really have any contacts or mentors in the field to get advice from. basically, i'm trying to learn the following:

    1) what are the best programs around the country? i've looked high and low but can't find rankings. i'd be particularly interested to hear about programs in chicago, buffalo, or columbus ohio, as i've already lived all three places, but am also completely willing to go anywhere to get the experience and see something else.

    2) how should i anticipate paying for school? is it common to find work-stipend programs (where?) ta jobs (where?), or will this mean taking out loans?

    finally, if anyone is in chicago and can recommend a group or organization to get involved in to learn a little more about planning, i'm all ears!

    thanks much!!!!!!!

  2. #2
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    I'm a Buffalo grad, but my interests were not design and ED. However, I know the design specialty has a great following and reputation, and if I am not mistaken, was recently awarded a national award for a downtown design plan.

    As for ED, a good friend had no trouble finding work right after school in 2002, although with govt agencies and now works for ESD.

    As for paying. I always took out loans. Never qualified for a nickel from anyone nor had the time for assistantships. But I know they are available.

    I think Buffalo provides a good education and a vyer reasonable price.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zonabb
    I'm a Buffalo grad, but my interests were not design and ED. However, I know the design specialty has a great following and reputation, and if I am not mistaken, was recently awarded a national award for a downtown design plan.
    The city's downtown strategic plan was......I'll just leave it at that due to some faults and goals not reasonable (which goes along with many short-term plans).

    As for design, I know many people who have taken the urban design program, and alot of it doesn't take into account the zoning and design regulations of a project in the area its proposed (again locally), and alot of the projects designed for the city (which many of these projects are aimed towards) do not take into account the current economic feasibility of the project relating to the financial aspect in the area (i.e. public and private funding).

    Sorry, that's just what I've heard from majors, and seen from some of the designs/projects they have proposed for the city and surrounding area. If anybody wants to argue with me, go ahead, no hard feelings
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    We don't need no stinkin' ratings

    Quote Originally posted by murdoctm
    i finished my undergrad about a year ago with a degree in business and have been working in the corporate world since. i'm realizing that its really not for me and am now looking towards beginning work on a masters in planning in the fall of '06.

    i am primarily interested in design and economic development, looking to eventually work for a private firm doing revitalization projects or on the chamber of commerce, convention bureau front. since my background is in business, i don't really have any contacts or mentors in the field to get advice from. basically, i'm trying to learn the following:

    1) what are the best programs around the country? i've looked high and low but can't find rankings. i'd be particularly interested to hear about programs in chicago, buffalo, or columbus ohio, as i've already lived all three places, but am also completely willing to go anywhere to get the experience and see something else.

    2) how should i anticipate paying for school? is it common to find work-stipend programs (where?) ta jobs (where?), or will this mean taking out loans?

    finally, if anyone is in chicago and can recommend a group or organization to get involved in to learn a little more about planning, i'm all ears!

    thanks much!!!!!!!
    Any of those cities would have planning programs that would work fine for what you want to do- the reason there are very few rankings is that there just aren't as many planners out there as, say, MBA's. Plus in planning os much of what you get out of the masters process is what you personally put into it. I would recommend that you apply to programs that are PAB accredited, in places you are willing to live, and see what happens with the aid. In my experience the big state schools are better for aid than the private schools. Ohio State, UI-Chicago, and SUNY Buffalo are all well-respected programs (although Ohio State probably has the biggest reputation of the three, partially because its the biggest.)

    For the community developmetn angle (vs. traditional planning) that I think interests you, check out the more policy-oriented schools like Rutgers, Minnesota, even straight-up policy schools. Its very important to come out with as little debt as possible because debt will hurt your chances to get that first (low-pay but good experience) public or non-profit job.

    In terms of planning organizations in Chicago, there's this little group called the American Planning Association based there, but I hear its second-rate...

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I guess I am the resident economic developer here at Cyburbia. There are not too many programs in that field, and I would not recommend them anyway. With your interest in redevelopment I would suggest the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee or Portland State University. If you are interested in the University of Colorado, I am trying to hire a paid intern.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    The best planning school is...

    1) where you pay in-state tuition
    2) where they're are pleanty of hot girls ...lol

    Anyway here is a link which has helped me a lot and might be of some use to you. http://showcase.netins.net/web/pab_f...progsjano5.pdf

  7. #7
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    thanks!

    thank you everyone for the quick replies- i'd love to hear even more.

    i might want to clarify, when i say economic development, i refer more to attracting companies to a region than working on group homes, etc.

    also- is there any notion that you end up staying in the area where you went to school, or are planners pretty mobile? again, i really don't have any contacts in the field.

    thanks again- tom

  8. #8
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    I recommend Florida State University. Our program is one of the best in the Southeast and one of the best in the country. If you want more information, send me an email (bh2oman77@hotmail.com) As for an organization in Chicago, the American Planning Association has their headquarters there.

  9. #9
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I know that Ohio State has an internship program where you work 20 hours a week, and they pay for your schooling. Also the program is pretty well respected, and is housed in the newly built knowlton building, which is amazing, a must see.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  10. #10
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    Try University of Illinois-Chicago at www.uic.edu/cuppa for their graduate planning school. There are some Resident Assistantships that cover tuition plus stipend. and APA is based in Chicago but there are chapters pretty much in every state.

    Univ of S. California in LA also has a good planning school. They also offer a joint Master's in Real Estate/MBA.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SenorPNut
    Try University of Illinois-Chicago at www.uic.edu/cuppa for their graduate planning school. There are some Resident Assistantships that cover tuition plus stipend. and APA is based in Chicago but there are chapters pretty much in every state.

    Univ of S. California in LA also has a good planning school. They also offer a joint Master's in Real Estate/MBA.
    While I have not heard much about either of those schools for the interests you mentioned, SPN makes a good point about real estate. Getting a license can help you out. I am looking at picking one up now, and may live off it a while if I decide to start a consulting firm.
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