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Thread: Grad school right away?

  1. #1
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    Grad school right away?

    Greetings everyone and I am glad to finally become a part of this community.

    Now on to the meat and poe-tay-toes of why this thread is posted.

    I have spent my last 7 years working my rear end off on my education ( & working full time in a dead end job) to hopefully find a bountiful assortment of employment opportunities related to my education and desired occupation. However, graduate school seems like it is a necessary evil that is crucial in becoming a planner. I do plan on getting my masters...but not right away. I have family obligations and I want to begin my life. I don't want to continue existing in a perpetual state of zombified behavior which includes erradict twitching, drooling, convul....well there I go again.

    Anyways, I do want to eventually begin grad school part time after I establish a position as a planner ( planning tech) which leads to my next segment.

    I have a few questions if ya'll would be so inclined to participate (much appreciated).

    1. How many members of cyburbia have embarked on their planning career fresh out of undergrad studies?

    2. Would a certificate program in planning significantly help establish a planning career or would it be a waste of time?

    3. How many members found it difficult to establish a planning career without a masters?

    4. Please describe your ideal candidate for an entry level planning position.

    Thank you so much for your time in helping this n00b out. This will hopefully be helpful to all n00bs who will visit. I am about to finish my degree in geography with a concentration in planning and so want to find a job related to planning very soon!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Urbain Planur
    Greetings everyone and I am glad to finally become a part of this community.

    Now on to the meat and poe-tay-toes of why this thread is posted.

    I have spent my last 7 years working my rear end off on my education ( & working full time in a dead end job) to hopefully find a bountiful assortment of employment opportunities related to my education and desired occupation. However, graduate school seems like it is a necessary evil that is crucial in becoming a planner. I do plan on getting my masters...but not right away. I have family obligations and I want to begin my life. I don't want to continue existing in a perpetual state of zombified behavior which includes erradict twitching, drooling, convul....well there I go again.

    Anyways, I do want to eventually begin grad school part time after I establish a position as a planner ( planning tech) which leads to my next segment.

    I have a few questions if ya'll would be so inclined to participate (much appreciated).

    1. How many members of cyburbia have embarked on their planning career fresh out of undergrad studies?

    2. Would a certificate program in planning significantly help establish a planning career or would it be a waste of time?

    3. How many members found it difficult to establish a planning career without a masters?

    4. Please describe your ideal candidate for an entry level planning position.

    Thank you so much for your time in helping this n00b out. This will hopefully be helpful to all n00bs who will visit. I am about to finish my degree in geography with a concentration in planning and so want to find a job related to planning very soon!

    Howdy and Welcome!

    I can't really help you out, cause Im in the same position (and also about to graduate w/ a degree in geography, focus on urban and regional analysis!) Im also interested in questions 1, 3, and 4.

    What are your interests in planning?

    -Adam

  3. #3
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    New here too.

    Hello to all.

    Well, I'm in the same boat as both of you. I'm looking to get a master's in urban design, although my undergraduate degree is in French. I had some questions, that maybe someone knows.

    1. Is an architecture degree the best route to go to go into the field of Urban Design?

    2. What are some good schools that allow for non-architectural background students to advance to a master's degree? Any in California?

    3. Does anyone know of schools that specialize or at least emphasize New Urbanist theory/practice?

    That's all for now. Maybe we can work together to answer each other's questions.

    Todd

  4. #4
    I can only answer the first two, hope it helps.

    1. How many members of cyburbia have embarked on their planning career fresh out of undergrad studies?
    I plan to head to grad school straight from undergrad. From what I understand, a Masters' degree is indeed a nessesary evil (from my reasearch anyway).

    2. Would a certificate program in planning significantly help establish a planning career or would it be a waste of time?
    I was originally going to earn a certificate in urban planning. While it would have complimented my finance and real estate degrees, it probably would have not been enough to find work as a planner. I've since droped the certificate and instead focused on going to grad school straight after undergrad. I'm now minoring in economics instead which I think is a safe route.

    A lot of my decisions was based on all the help I received from this very Student Lounge. Feel free to lock up some of the older threads. They can be very insightful.
    Last edited by OfficialPlanner; 12 Apr 2005 at 11:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by tlnchico
    1. Is an architecture degree the best route to go to go into the field of Urban Design?
    I've seen one-year Masters of Urban Design degree programs at a number of schools. Architecture takes a little longer so if you specifically want to urban design, that might be an option.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Greetings!

    From my personal experience, I really felt the three years I worked between undergrad and graduate school benefitted me tremendously. It helped me assure myself of my motivations and I was not burned out from 4 years of undergrad when I began grad school. I just need to keep reminding myself of that as I finish my last month
    .

    Good luck with your decision and future!!

  7. #7
    1. How many members of cyburbia have embarked on their planning career fresh out of undergrad studies?

    Tried. Proved to be impossible to secure assistant planner position. Planning tech was an option, but not one I chose to explore. Going route of planning tech to assistant to associate to manager would take too long. Most cool work is done at higher level positions.

    2. Would a certificate program in planning significantly help establish a planning career or would it be a waste of time?

    Dunno

    3. How many members found it difficult to establish a planning career without a masters?

    Yup. On an added note, Masters education should not be viewed as a necessary evil. Rather, an opportunity bolster understanding of the incredible nuances that dictate the choices we make in the planning world. It takes work, but thats the point.

    4. Please describe your ideal candidate for an entry level planning position.

    My guess is, 1 year experience consisting of multiple summer/post-undergrad planning-related internships (ie working at counter, doing permit research, working on specific planning projects), basically internship experience conducting work that demonstrates motivation, aptitude, work ethic, reliability, etc. Strong GPA is helpful, but doesnt show employer what you can produce in real world.

  8. #8

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    It depends somewhat on your undergraduate education, where and who knows who. Having a successful internship with a public planning agency would really help. California is one place where the certificate programs sponsored by UC-Davis appear to have some recognition.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I did not get my masters but I got a paid internship with the local gov where my University was and made a lot of friends and contacts. I ended up landing a planner job with the same city. Now I have been planning for almost 10 years.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    taking a year off and working in between undergrad and grad school has been very helpful for me. the job i have right now has completely changed my interest within the field of planning, so i'm grateful for having had that opportunity/experience. as for urban design, lanscape architecture--rather than architecture--may be better suited to your interests.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I didn't become interested in planning until after I had completed my undgrad studies in a completely unrelated field and was exploring post-grad options. Based on the job requirements I've seen in my area, you need a masters degree just to apply.

    My ideal entry-level candidate would be a self-starter with excellent communication skills (verbal and written).
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I think everyone should wait at least a year or two after college before starting grad school. From what I've seen the people who have been out a little longer are much more mature, motivated and have a somewhat better sense of what they want to get out of an advanced degree. You're also likely to have more money and more diverse job experiences- which help in grad school.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Ditto Greenescapist except the money part.

    I delayed for 8 yrs.
    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)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I got my undergraduate in anthropology and worked for a few years as an archaeologists all 'round the country before heading back to grad school for a master's in planning... So my years between undergrad and grad were filled with a different sort of work than what i do now.

    I tried to remedy this by loading up with internships during my 2 year graduate career (three, if you count the one year in anthro) and being as voracious of a reader as i could be on planning issues (over and above the class requirements). I feel like that was far and away more valuable than what I learned in the classroom.

    Your outside experience, if you plan on working outside of academia, is much more valuable than your academic experience, in my opinion. And you can get that by either taking time off between undergrad and grad, or you can get it by getting internships, attending as many city council meetings as you can over a long period of time, attending as many planning board meetings as you can over a long period of time, and travelling to other places and visiting with other planners to see how they do things (my route).

  15. #15
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    Thank you!

    thank you everyone for your insightful input. Much appreciated~!

  16. #16
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    My recommendation - Obtain the experience.

    Over a year ago, I graduated with a Bachelors in Urban Planning and immediately obtained a Assistant Planner position with a local planning agency. Of course, I felt extremely lucky because the competition is fierce. But, I had a 14 month long internship during college, which provided invaluable experience in planning. In addition, I have a second Bachelors in Public Administration.

    Like yourself, I wanted to take a break from academics and wanted to gain solid experience before entering graduate school. I've only been a professional planner for short while, but the experience has been fantastic. It has provided a better understanding of the profession and the experience will be a tremendous benefit in graduate school.

    In this short period, I have spoken to many planning directors from surrounding communities. They each believe experience is the greatest factor in hiring an individual, a masters degree is secondary. I guess my 14 month experience, combined with my dual bachelors allowed me to beat those students with Masters.

    My recommendations is to obtain the experience; then obtain the Masters. Best of Luck


    Quote Originally posted by Urbain Planur
    Greetings everyone and I am glad to finally become a part of this community.

    Now on to the meat and poe-tay-toes of why this thread is posted.

    I have spent my last 7 years working my rear end off on my education ( & working full time in a dead end job) to hopefully find a bountiful assortment of employment opportunities related to my education and desired occupation. However, graduate school seems like it is a necessary evil that is crucial in becoming a planner. I do plan on getting my masters...but not right away. I have family obligations and I want to begin my life. I don't want to continue existing in a perpetual state of zombified behavior which includes erradict twitching, drooling, convul....well there I go again.

    Anyways, I do want to eventually begin grad school part time after I establish a position as a planner ( planning tech) which leads to my next segment.

    I have a few questions if ya'll would be so inclined to participate (much appreciated).

    1. How many members of cyburbia have embarked on their planning career fresh out of undergrad studies?

    2. Would a certificate program in planning significantly help establish a planning career or would it be a waste of time?

    3. How many members found it difficult to establish a planning career without a masters?

    4. Please describe your ideal candidate for an entry level planning position.

    Thank you so much for your time in helping this n00b out. This will hopefully be helpful to all n00bs who will visit. I am about to finish my degree in geography with a concentration in planning and so want to find a job related to planning very soon!

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