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Thread: Schools with a Concentration on International Development/Planning?

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    Schools with a Concentration on International Development/Planning?

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for the great information I've already found on this forum. I'm a student at the University of Cape Town in South Africa doing a double major in Politics (with a focus on international/comparative politics) and Public Policy and Administration (this programme has a focus on urban development and administration). I'll be graduating in December and will be applying to schools in the states for fall, 2006 admissions.

    I am most interested in Urban Planning programmes that are more focused on public policy rather then design, as they fit better with my undergraduate degree. That being said, I don't mind some design techniques/theory, as I'm sure it will be beneficial for a future career in planning. A major prerequisite is that the school must offer a concentration in international planning, and preferably with a focus on planning in developing countries (I am most interested in urban planning and development in sub-Saharan Africa).

    So far, I am considering applying to the master's programmes at MIT, NYU, Cornell, and UPenn. I'm sure there are others in the states, but I'd prefer to be on the east coast. I'd also prefer to be in a major city, so will only consider Cornell really as a last resort, unless anyone can give me a compelling reason otherwise. Am I missing any schools that I should apply to? Thoughts on any of these schools, their programmes, and how they compare to one another? Thanks for any advice!!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I seem to remember that as an Undergrad, we were able to take coursework at our sister school a few miles down the road and over the bridge.

    What may make this interesting to someone like you is I went to Wayne State University, an urban research university in Detroit, Michigan and the school that we could take coursework at was the University of Windsor, in Ontario, Canada.

    I have no idea whether or not this still exists. I have no idea whether being an international student may prevent you from taking coursework in this fashion even if it still exists. But it was an interesting program and allowed students to get an even broader persepctive.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    with your interests, i don't think i'd apply to Penn. it has no international concentration and is a design-based program. i went to their open house and they made it pretty clear they have little--if any--interest in policy. i think the way it was phrased during the student panel was, "we work within existing policy" or something like that.

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    Thanks DetroitPlanner; checked Wayne's website and they don't have an international concentration...plus I'd prefer to be on the East Coast. But I'm sure Detroit would be an interesting place to study urban planning...

    Thanks also for the info RadioFlyer; from other things I've read it seems that UPenn sort of misrepresents itself on its website, as it does list International Metropolitan Planning and Development as an area of concentration. Apparently it's just sort of a mixture of courses from the other areas of concentration. Ok...so that's 1 application fee that I'll save on!

    I've also been reading good things about Columbia; so far then my list would be:

    1. Columbia
    2. Cornell
    3. NYU
    4. MIT

    These schools all seem to be top-quality, what do they generally consider most important in admissions. I'm going to be taking the GRE's here in the next few months. What's a good score for these schools to aim for? I've also worked at development NGOs, as an intern at an economic development consulting firm, and as a research assistant, but none of these jobs had a focus on urban planning. Also, do you think having an international bachelor's will help/hurt my admissions chances (UCT is often considered the best school on the African continent).

    Any other thoughts on my original question would be very welcome and appreciated as well!

    Thanks again!

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    As far as international planning goes, NYU does offer this area as a specialization, though I am not entirely familiar with its strengths/weaknesses. For details on the program or the coordinator (Paul Smoke), you can go to

    http://www.nyu.edu/wagner/faculty/fa...&whereValue=36

    As far as GRE's and entrance into the Wagner program, they're not required. The general rule is that if you score over 1200 combined math/verbal then you should have your scores submitted; if not, then don't send them with your application. I didn't even bother to send mine. Of all the information you submit I would guess they are the least important.

    Shoot me an email if you have any other questions on Wagner in general. I'll be starting in the fall.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Awkab
    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for the great information I've already found on this forum. I'm a student at the University of Cape Town in South Africa doing a double major in Politics (with a focus on international/comparative politics) and Public Policy and Administration (this programme has a focus on urban development and administration). I'll be graduating in December and will be applying to schools in the states for fall, 2006 admissions.

    I am most interested in Urban Planning programmes that are more focused on public policy rather then design, as they fit better with my undergraduate degree. That being said, I don't mind some design techniques/theory, as I'm sure it will be beneficial for a future career in planning. A major prerequisite is that the school must offer a concentration in international planning, and preferably with a focus on planning in developing countries (I am most interested in urban planning and development in sub-Saharan Africa).

    So far, I am considering applying to the master's programmes at MIT, NYU, Cornell, and UPenn. I'm sure there are others in the states, but I'd prefer to be on the east coast. I'd also prefer to be in a major city, so will only consider Cornell really as a last resort, unless anyone can give me a compelling reason otherwise. Am I missing any schools that I should apply to? Thoughts on any of these schools, their programmes, and how they compare to one another? Thanks for any advice!!
    Hey,

    I am beginning a program in International Planning this fall at MIT. I also applied to Columbia and NYU (I love New York!), but felt that their programs were not as strong. NYU has a good planning program, but professors there admitted that it is particularly good for those who want to go into planning and local government in New York and that their int'l concentration is fairly new. The good point about Columbia is that you can combine it with development coursework at their Public Policy school.

    UC- Berkeley and UCLA both have strong int'l programs as I understand- but do not fit your East Coast interest.

    Good luck with the GREs- and I'm sure your non-profit job experience will be well accepted by admissions committees.

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    Thanks everyone for the comments. I suppose all of these schools are strong...and I've still got quite some time until I apply (and see which ones I will be accepted to). The programme at MIT seems tops in terms of its focus on International Planning. Boston also is a cool city, but I'd honestly love to be in New York City. But the price of going to school there...

    Anyways, I'm sure I can figure something out. I here Brooklyn is a cool neighbourhood to live in and a bit cheaper. But I suppose I shouldn't get carried away until I actually apply.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Must be nice....

    Quote Originally posted by Awkab
    1. Columbia
    2. Cornell
    3. NYU
    4. MIT
    Unless you have a full ride or close to it:

    Looks like someone has serious CASH $$ Money to BURN on a Planning Degree.....I know for a fact NYU is about $45,000 a year for a basic plan.....and the others must be about the same....or more....

    Lets see, that is 6.88 Rand per dollar.....so......that would be R 309,600

    Why not the University of Wittswatersrand, I've heard great things about that school for over 15 years now......or has it gone bad??

    If I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times......SAVE THE $$ for a car....or YACHT in your case after graduation......and if you have the cash to spend, and grades to go.....why not hit George Washington U. or Georgetown U. in DC??? Close to the international action, could work part time or get a great internship in international planning related stuff......

    Don't get me wrong, if you want a planning degree and more importantly think it will help you get into international planning...then by all means go for it, I just don't see it being the "ticket" to international work.....this is one area where an approved US Planning degree (PAB) may not help unless you work in the US.

    If you continue to want to attend one of the above universities, go to MIT and get a double major with international management
    Skilled Adoxographer

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    If you are interested in rural issues and are open to Canada, Guelph offers a program in rural international planning

    http://www.uoguelph.ca/sedrd/RPD/programmes.html

    Toronto and York Universities both offer a braod range of courses that you could probably massage for your needs.

    http://www.geog.utoronto.ca/

    www.yorku.ca
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
          quink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    Unless you have a full ride or close to it:

    Looks like someone has serious CASH $$ Money to BURN on a Planning Degree.....I know for a fact NYU is about $45,000 a year for a basic plan.....and the others must be about the same....or more....
    Come to Australia, enjoy the Moose!
    And the Moose! Moose moose moose!
    Now, seriously, even at Bond University you'll pay $66,000 for a full degree, and that's by far the most expensive Uni around here.

    Study in another country, it'll save you money, enrich your horizon, yadda, yadda, yadda. Seriously, if you have that much money to burn, why do you want to do planning?

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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    Unless you have a full ride or close to it:

    Looks like someone has serious CASH $$ Money to BURN on a Planning Degree.....I know for a fact NYU is about $45,000 a year for a basic plan.....and the others must be about the same....or more....

    Lets see, that is 6.88 Rand per dollar.....so......that would be R 309,600

    Why not the University of Wittswatersrand, I've heard great things about that school for over 15 years now......or has it gone bad??
    Quote Originally posted by quink
    Study in another country, it'll save you money, enrich your horizon, yadda, yadda, yadda. Seriously, if you have that much money to burn, why do you want to do planning?
    I find it a bit strange that people are jumping on me for saying I'd like to do a planning degree at MIT, Columbia, NYU, or Cornell. I know I have set my bar high, but it's not like I'm on the only one on this forum that aspires high. I've picked these schools because they fit the criteria of being on the east coast and offering a concentration in International Planning; I wouldn't have a problem applying to cheaper schools if they fit my critera, but unfortunantly on the east coast these seem to be my options. It's not like I have 'money to burn', but I'm a good student with quite a lot of experience and I hope to get scholarships and grants.

    And with regards to going to Wits in South Africa, I will indeed apply to their development planning program. The problem is that I'm not originally from South Africa, and it is becoming increasingly hard for foreigners to get jobs here, and it looks like it will only become more difficult in the future. There is the real possibility that after I finish my degree I will essentially be forced to leave South Africa as I will not to be able to get a job here. I need a degree that will be recognised in other countries, and specifically in the states. Though I hope to work in international planning, many development agencies are located in the states. Also, I notice that a lot of planning professors at Wits and here at UCT have their masters and phd's from universities in the states, as their degrees are more recognisable. It's not really fair, but that's the way it is.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Awkab,

    You may also want to check out the UK. UCL has a good program at the DPU [Development Planning Unit] -- but NOT for design, if you are interested in public policy and their focus is right up your alley for international planning.

    Also, LSE is good as well........



    Quote Originally posted by Awkab
    I find it a bit strange that people are jumping on me for saying I'd like to do a planning degree at MIT, Columbia, NYU, or Cornell. I know I have set my bar high, but it's not like I'm on the only one on this forum that aspires high. I've picked these schools because they fit the criteria of being on the east coast and offering a concentration in International Planning; I wouldn't have a problem applying to cheaper schools if they fit my critera, but unfortunantly on the east coast these seem to be my options. It's not like I have 'money to burn', but I'm a good student with quite a lot of experience and I hope to get scholarships and grants.

    And with regards to going to Wits in South Africa, I will indeed apply to their development planning program. The problem is that I'm not originally from South Africa, and it is becoming increasingly hard for foreigners to get jobs here, and it looks like it will only become more difficult in the future. There is the real possibility that after I finish my degree I will essentially be forced to leave South Africa as I will not to be able to get a job here. I need a degree that will be recognised in other countries, and specifically in the states. Though I hope to work in international planning, many development agencies are located in the states. Also, I notice that a lot of planning professors at Wits and here at UCT have their masters and phd's from universities in the states, as their degrees are more recognisable. It's not really fair, but that's the way it is.

  13. #13
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    If you are going for an international planning emphasis, such as development in the third world, etc., the University of Texas at Austin might be a good, less expensive option. They have a planning program geared toward Latin American planning issues, which deal largely with developing country issues.

    "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)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by Awkab
    I find it a bit strange that people are jumping on me for saying I'd like to do a planning degree at MIT, Columbia, NYU, or Cornell. I know I have set my bar high, but it's not like I'm on the only one on this forum that aspires high. I've picked these schools because they fit the criteria of being on the east coast and offering a concentration in International Planning; I wouldn't have a problem applying to cheaper schools if they fit my critera, but unfortunantly on the east coast these seem to be my options. It's not like I have 'money to burn', but I'm a good student with quite a lot of experience and I hope to get scholarships and grants.
    I've lurked on these forums for some time and should let you know there tends to be a bias among some of the more frequent posters against going to private schools with hefty price tags for a graduate degree in planning. Given that I'm the product of that sort of undergraduate education and am currently signing checks to attend a graduate planning program among those you initially mentioned, I'll defend such institutions and say that I feel that some of the said pricier schools offer elements that no amount of $$ can quantify and that state universities with large student populations cannot always compete (university resources, alum/networking/connections, prestige, etc.).

    Finally, my impression from everyone I've spoken with is that MIT is the place to be if you're interested in international planning and development.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by reversiblehatt
    I've lurked on these forums for some time and should let you know there tends to be a bias among some of the more frequent posters against going to private schools with hefty price tags for a graduate degree in planning. I'll defend such institutions and say that I feel that some of the said pricier schools offer elements that no amount of $$ can quantify and that state universities with large student populations cannot always compete (university resources, alum/networking/connections, prestige, etc.).

    Finally, my impression from everyone I've spoken with is that MIT is the place to be if you're interested in international planning and development.
    All true, but if you are a US Citizen who is paying to go to MIT then it will not be worth it. The reason is that MIT has a good pipeline into the International Financial Institutions and if you are foreign (and preferablly female from a developing country) it could very well be your ticket to a nice job. US Citizens can't get jobs at those same places due to quotas. Also, if you are a foreign student who is getting paid to go to school then by all means go to a private institution.

    On the other hand, for US citizens it is probably NOT worth borrowing to go to a private university for a planning degree. Now if you are personally wealthy or are getting help from your parents then by all means if the private school fits your niche go.

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