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Thread: Revised: geography vs planning

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    Revised: geography vs planning

    Revised:

    I am wondering if people can give me some advice on whether obtaining an MS in Geography vs. an MURP/Regional Planning Degree is a good idea. The school I wish to attend, because of its proximity to where I want to live and my connections here, offers an MS in Geography with a planning track. I spoke with a local planner and he told me that getting that degree shouldn't cause me too many problems in getting employed. Is it that bad of a thing to get an MS in Geography?

    I was accepted to University of Albany in NY, but am waiting on four more applications and one of those is the institution that offers the MS in Geography. Any opinions would be great!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There are many of us here who have degrees in Geography. It has never been an impediment to getting a job. The chief difference is that planning tends to focus more on theory and mechanics while geography leans toward concept and process.
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    T'anks

    Cardinal-

    Your wisdom is once again displayed in answering my question. You always seem to be one of the most sage folks here!

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    There are many of us here who have degrees in Geography. It has never been an impediment to getting a job. The chief difference is that planning tends to focus more on theory and mechanics while geography leans toward concept and process.
    Just wondering if you could elaborate on that a bit? I'm in a similar predicament and being very unfamiliar with the terms in the field: what does "theory" vs. "concept" and "mechanics" vs. "process" mean in the context of planning/geography. Is it like the difference between practical and academic approaches or something more complicated?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Geography is broader. It will teach a way of thinking or looking at things (i.e., spatial context) rather than focus on things like code writing. Planning is for the pragmatist while geography is for the person who wants to see the big picture.
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    I think I might be more of the "Big Picture" person, so that might suit me more. Perfect.

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    Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification. It's interesting that either degree seems acceptable. Some fields are very territorial regarding the specific degree path. Must be open mided people these planners.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    thats why

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Geography is broader. It will teach a way of thinking or looking at things (i.e., spatial context) rather than focus on things like code writing. Planning is for the pragmatist while geography is for the person who wants to see the big picture.
    This is why I think long range planners should have a Geography background of some kind......the "employ an appropriately comprehensive viewpoint" is sorely lacking in the planning field these days..... and not at all supported by the "here and now" City Manager crowds

    The exposure to the Landscape Architects world and Architects world does help a lot with the planning degree, not to mention the legal aspects of planning......
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    IMHO -
    I went this route - undergrad degree in Geography with course work in Landscape Architecture and then having a MURP.

    Agree with Cardinal that geography is the broad umbrella, where planning is the "applied" methods and controls.
    Oddball
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    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I have both degrees and they work together extremely well. My undergrad BS was in Geography and a Masters of Community and Regional Planning. I believe it gives me a little of the "big picture" and "minute detail" parts of planning. I don't think you can go wrong either way.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    at the very least you need to have an office with diverse degrees/emphasis...and you need to exploit them.

    Two planners here have architecture degrees, 1 (me) Geography, 3 have urban planning degrees, and one has a politcal science degree.

    I always felt that the Geography training gave me a bit of insight into how things move, how people behave, and what can be done to improve the situation.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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